Barack Obama | News | United Nations

Obama Condemns Violence Abroad, References Chris Stevens' Death, Extremist Video in UN Speech: WATCH

Un_obama

President Obama spoke to the 67th UN General Assembly today and opened his speech by recognizing slain Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues, building his speech around the attacks on Stevens and what they mean with regard to freedom around the world, and referencing the video created to stir up anti-American extremists.

Here's part of the speech which you can watch in full, AFTER THE JUMP:

Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.

It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well — for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. And 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. 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 — (laughter) — and I will always defend their right to do so. (Applause.)

Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities.

We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech — the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech. We recognize that. But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how do we respond?

And on this we must agree: There is no speech that justifies mindless violence. (Applause.) There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There’s no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There’s 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.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. How come you omitted the most revealing line of Obama's speech?

    "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

    Dhimmis.

    Posted by: AG | Sep 25, 2012 2:30:55 PM


  2. He is 'THE MAN'. Long live President Obama. I wish you all the best and pray from my heart for your win! <3 Love and Peace. :)

    Greetings from India.

    Posted by: Lara | Sep 25, 2012 2:38:29 PM


  3. How come you (AG) think that's the most revealing line of the speech? What do you think it reveals?

    I think your post reveals your drive-by-troll looking-to-provoke status.

    Posted by: antb | Sep 25, 2012 2:40:56 PM


  4. @AG: You really need to stop reading those crazies at Breitbart.com and Hotair.com...Those people have lost their ever-loving minds. God only knows what they will do when Obama is reelected!

    Posted by: Quest | Sep 25, 2012 3:34:03 PM


  5. Interesting that he sees an equivalence between "slandering" Mohammad and actual violence and mayhem.

    The Islamist radicals agree. Obama is adding his voice to that bloody choir -- that "slandering" the prophet is precisely equal to murder and mayhem. Rather than challenging that mindset -- that free speech about a man who's been dead for 800 years is the equivalent of violence and bloody riot -- he endorses it.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 25, 2012 4:14:33 PM


  6. Obama may just be the man who spreads world peace. I just worry who's going to be the next president after Obama in 2016...SHIVERS-_-

    Posted by: Alexander | Sep 25, 2012 4:29:10 PM


  7. He condemned the slander while at the same time standing up for free speech and also stating that violence is never justified just because a few people said some crap. Otherwise any person with a cellphone can cause chaos anytime they feel like it. Stop misquoting Obama ya'll trolls up on here. GOBAMA!!!^_^

    Posted by: Alexander | Sep 25, 2012 4:31:58 PM


  8. @Anon: Please read the speech, he made it clear that violence against free speech is never, ever justified and did not equate the two at all!

    Posted by: Quest | Sep 25, 2012 4:32:52 PM


  9. I hate to say it, but the troll has a point. The context in which Obama said "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam" was the UN General Assembly, where delegates from Muslim-majority nations have tried repeatedly to get blasphemy laws written into international law. Obama's next line doesn't make things any better:

    "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied."

    The video was obviously slanderous and Muslim-baiting, but to compare it with denying the holocaust is being melodramatic, and to compare it with property destruction is just plain wrong! The whole speech was a very weak defense of free speech. Obama seems to imply that if he had the power to block the video, he would. That's not defending free speech.

    Posted by: Dan B | Sep 25, 2012 6:17:22 PM


  10. P.S.
    By "the video" I mean the video that ignited the violence, not this video of Obama's speech. Just in case that was unclear.

    Posted by: Dan B | Sep 25, 2012 6:58:56 PM


  11. Dan B: Explain how the following quote, which you can easily find by scrolling up to the transcript, is a weak defense of 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. 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 — (laughter) — and I will always defend their right to do so. (Applause.)

    Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities.
    ---------------------

    This is basically a textbook explanation of the 1st Amendment. What? You wanted him to say he loved the video and watches it every night before bed?

    Posted by: RyanInWyo (formerly RyanInSacto) | Sep 25, 2012 7:32:56 PM


  12. A surprising number of gaffes in this one, beyond the one already mentioned...

    What is this great Jewish-Hindu conflict Obama spoke of in this speech?

    And how is it that he can say Muslims have suffered the most? What about the Jews? And why are we comparing?

    Extremists don't build? I think they do. That's what makes them so hard to defeat politically (consider both Israel and Palestine).

    Peace and prosperity come to countries who do the right things? Compare the democracy Greece against communist China. Or the US in 2001.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 25, 2012 8:23:01 PM


  13. Dan B: Oh my god! how could it be so hard for all you, grown up English speaking intelligent people to see that Obama is talking about slander. And, free speech =/= slander. They are different things and that's why law regarding them are there on the first place. I mean, exactly what can't u understand?

    Posted by: Lara | Sep 25, 2012 9:34:20 PM


  14. @Randy: If you don't understand then go educate yourself about these things. Simply posting questions on towleroad wouldn't take you anywhere least help you in building an unbiased opinion. Go read newspapers properly and I guess, you know how to use google.

    He wasn't comparing anything, it just how you interpret it but then again you ought to interpret it reasonably. Saying the "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam" doesn't mean he's taking away your fundamental right of speech but it's actually strengthening your 'right to live and dignity' which is actually what gives origin to your 'right to free speech and expression'. And laws against slander and libel have always been there. He's not bringing anything new but only trying to say that justice should be done. And of course, this in no way means that he's gonna take away your right to speech or that film was slander because he already did say that taking it off the internet would lead to the violation of the concerned right. He was talking for a future perspective and not the one already done and that's why he uses the phrase 'the future doesn't belong'. Apart from that whatever seems to be the grey area of his statement is something that the courts are supposed to decide. So, it's the court which has to decide whether the film was a slander or not and if it was then, obviously justice should be done as per the lawful procedure and if not, then not but this for sure can't be interpreted to encourage those f*cking muslims to be more fanatic and violent. He chose and delivered his words fairly well, and that's what a competent Politician is supposed to do while dealing with such delicate issues.

    Posted by: Lara | Sep 25, 2012 9:54:57 PM


  15. First, @Lara,
    The legal concept of "slander" does not apply to dead people. Once you're dead, you cannot be adversely affected by an accusation. If Mohammed comes down from heaven and sues the person who made the video, then the legal distinction between slander and free speech will apply.

    Second, @RyaninWyo,
    It was a weak defense of free speech because he was constantly implying that the idea of free speech requires a religious legitimation. He didn't defend free speech as a moral good in-and-of itself; instead, he justified it in terms of more broad and vague goods like peace, prosperity, interfaith unity, diversity, etc. What I wanted from him was a statement to the effect that religion has NO RIGHT, legal or moral, to special immunity to criticism protected by free speech, whether or not such speech is accurate, fair, etc. Many Muslim majority countries have guarantees of "free speech" in their constitutions, just like the Soviet Union did and China does, but blasphemy laws gut these ostensible protections.

    Posted by: Dan B | Sep 25, 2012 10:19:37 PM


  16. DAn B: Oh really? Haven't you ever come across of a concept called 'legal representatives'? Just so that you know, I'm a law student so, don't attempt at teaching me law least your personal understanding of law.

    And moreover, it's not just about Mohammad but the Islamic religion as a community. Go educate yourself!

    Posted by: Lara | Sep 26, 2012 9:04:36 AM


  17. Dan B:
    Also, moral good is not what one should look while formulating law. Don't you see what it's done on issues of homosexuality?

    President Obama is a very intelligent man, I guess you know about his education. Peace, prosperity, interfaith unity, diversity, etc. are the things that are more ideal than any subjective concept of morality. What kind of world are you living in?

    Posted by: Lara | Sep 26, 2012 9:11:04 AM


  18. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself are both utopian, and both over 200 years old. But unlike other utopias, the one our forefathers embraced works.
    It has an ingenious mechanism to revitalize its institutions: Freedom of speech.
    As John Stuart Mill explained, when a society allows its citizens to question its government, its values and its most sacred beliefs, the examination finds errors and things for improvement.
    But even when no correction at all is needed, the challenge in itself works miracles -- it forces us to defend them.
    If things prove fine after such "stress test," we learn that we are on the right track. Merely knowing this wipes away uncertainty and replaces it with life and vigor.
    Such is the hidden benefit of open debate -- and the reason why institutions elsewhere stagnate and die.
    And no one rushes to save them because people have forgotten long before why they are there in the first place. This is the grave danger John Mill warned us about.
    The fathers of this country gave heed to his words.
    Perhaps the fathers of new democracies should do the same.

    Posted by: kafantaris | Sep 27, 2012 12:07:12 AM


  19. The press is not covering the obvious: fbi/cia responsibility for the murder of Ambassador Stevens.


    Corruption of us embassies:

    http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/psychotronicscon.html#dec242005

    Mankind at war with self, an fbi/cia phenomenon

    Torture, mass murder, inhumanity punctuates our own self imposed downfall.

    http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/promo.html

    RELATED:

    The types of crimes committed by the fbi/cia/dod,etc., as I have witnessed over the course of my lifetime are not new to mankind; indeed, for as long as man has walked on the face of the earth he has been confronted with his own savagery and inhumanity to fellow man. War has become legal; fbi/cia covert intelligence operations (including mass murder and other assassinations & tortures) are well known by many but never spoken about in polite conversations because they are also legal by awful custom. Thus, the end game for man is now being shaped by the most barbaric feature of his character: man's criminal urge to destroy one another for myriad purposes. Mark Twain perhaps captured this truth as he said,


    " A crime preserved in a thousand centuries ceases to be a crime, and becomes a virtue. This is the law of custom, and custom supersedes all other forms of law."

    http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/intellectualgian.html

    http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/part4-worldinabo.html

    http://hamsayeh.net/society/2176-amerika-is-dead.html

    http://phillyimc.org/en/must-prosecute-fbicia-assassins-clandestine-murders-0



    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/06/29/18716584.php



    http://chicago.indymedia.org/node/1021

    Posted by: geral | Oct 21, 2012 4:28:22 PM


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