Photo copyrights: United Nations
"But the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded – the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; and that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens, " stated US President Barack Obama addressing world leaders at the 67th Session of the opening day of the UN General Debate, referring to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi that killed three Americans and US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
The extremist, deadly violence was sparked by an anti-Islam video made in the United States and broadcasted on youtube.com. The violence was not limited to Libya. Violent Muslim protests spread to Egypt, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Morroco, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen, and among Muslims living in Israel and the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir.
“On this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence,” President Obama said, calling the video “crude and disgusting,” but explaining how such hateful expressions are allowed in the US, bestowed to all American citizens with the freedom of speech clause in the US constitution.
“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims.”
Mr. Obama told the Assembly, "that the world faces “a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes we hold in common.” The US President also made it clear to the global body that the United States would spare no effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan,” he added, referring to the attacks that killed Ambassador Stevens and caused deaths elsewhere.
Mr. Obama concluded his speech with a note of hope and democratic fervor. "However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders, in all countries, to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism."