The Obama administration is being heavily criticized over its response to the ongoing crisis surrounding American diplomatic missions in the Middle East and North Africa, turmoil that has seen Islamist mobs attack multiple embassies and has already claimed the life of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. Among other elements, critics slammed the president’s failure to vigorously defend free speech rights and explain it to the world.
Even before the mob violence in Cairo on September 11 culminated in Islamists scaling the U.S. embassy walls, American officials were issuing statements condemning a crude YouTube video depicting the Islamic Prophet Mohammed as a murderous pedophile. Incredibly, the administration, instead of preparing to defend U.S. diplomatic missions, repeatedly referred to the exercise of free speech in a way that some may find offensive as an “abuse” of that right.
“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,” the U.S. Embassy in Egypt said in an official statement before being overrun by a frenzied mob, which burned the American flag and replaced it with an Islamist banner used by extremists worldwide. “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
After the embassy was breached, it released another statement on Twitter: “This morning's condemnation (issued before protest began) still stands.”
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Photo: In this Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington: AP Images