Speaking at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, President Obama portrayed the deaths of four Americans in Libya as a result of inflamed tensions over an anti-Islam movie produced in the U.S., rather than a terrorist attack.
Although his administration in recent days acknowledged that the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were caused by a terrorist act on Sept. 11, Mr. Obama didnt mention terrorism as the likely cause in front of the international audience. He focused much of his speech instead on promoting religious tolerance and free speech, blaming the anti-Islam film for the anti-U.S. outbursts while cautioning that there is never an excuse for violence.
I know there are some who ask why we dont just ban such a video, Mr. Obama said. The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views even views that we disagree with.