Clinton calls for calm as protests spread
On a day when protesters briefly stormed the U.E. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an international plea for a de-escalation of the ongoing demonstrations in the Middle East this morning and heavily criticized the obscure anti-Islam movie that sparked the outrage on 9/11. "We are closely watching what is happening ...
On a day when protesters briefly stormed the U.E. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an international plea for a de-escalation of the ongoing demonstrations in the Middle East this morning and heavily criticized the obscure anti-Islam movie that sparked the outrage on 9/11.
"We are closely watching what is happening in Yemen and elsewhere, and we certainly hope and expect that there will be steps taken to avoid violence and prevent the escalation of protests into violence," Clinton said at the State Department, sitting next to Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Saad-Eddine Al Otmani, who is in Washington for a set of strategic discussions.
Clinton’s remarks come ahead of what are expected to be major protests across the Islamic world on Friday, a day when many Muslims go to mosques for prayer services, often with a political message.
"I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the Internet that has led to these protests in a number of countries," Clinton said, referring to the film Innocence of Muslims, which has been linked to attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts in Egypt, Libya, and now Yemen. "Let me state very clearly — and I hope it is obvious — that the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message."
Clinton touted America’s tradition of religious tolerance and noted that millions of Muslims enjoy religious freedom in the United States. She also reiterated the U.S. government’s condemnation of the attacks.
"To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage. But as I said yesterday, there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence. We condemn the violence that has resulted, in the strongest terms," she said.
Clinton called on the governments of the region to protect diplomatic posts and said that in the current technological environment, preventing videos like these from being made and disseminated is "impossible."
"But even if it were possible, our country does have a long tradition of free expression, which is enshrined in our Constitution and our law. And we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views, no matter how distasteful they may be."
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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