Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thanks Iceland for your concern

We have been comforted by and are deeply grateful for the condolences that many Icelanders have expressed for the recent loss of our colleagues in Libya. Many of our Icelandic friends also shared their concern about the violent demonstrations against our diplomatic facilities around the world. These expressions of solidarity reflect the deep bonds that exist between our two countries and the values we share.

The violent demonstrations appear to be a reaction to the posting of a video that appears designed to denigrate a great religion and provoke rage. We absolutely reject the content and message of the video. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. We know that it may be hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from being posted. In today’s interconnected world, this is frankly impossible, but even if it were possible, our country has 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. The violent demonstrations against diplomatic facilities are wrong and nothing justifies them. Diplomatic missions exist to build understanding between peoples.