Muslims challenge Obama on free speech

2012-09-26 11:01
(YouTube)

(YouTube)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - Muslim leaders demanded international action to stop religious insults in a challenge to US President Barack Obama's defence of freedom of expression at the UN General Assembly.

Obama made a strong condemnation of "violence and intolerance" in his speech at the UN headquarters on Tuesday. He said world leaders had a duty to speak out against the deadly attacks on Americans in the past two weeks caused by an anti-Islam film made in the United States.

But Muslim kings and presidents and other heads of state said Western nations must clamp down on "Islamophobia" following the storm over the film which mocks the Prophet Muhammad.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, said the film was another "ugly face" of religious defamation.

Yudhoyono quoted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as saying that "everyone must observe morality and public order" and commented: "Freedom of expression is therefore not absolute."

He called for "an international instrument to effectively prevent incitement to hostility or violence based on religions or beliefs".

'Silent observers'

King Abdullah II of Jordan, a close US ally, spoke out against the film and the violence it sparked.

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari condemned what he called the "incitement of hate" against Muslims and demanded United Nations action.

"Although we can never condone violence, the international community must not become silent observers and should criminalise such acts that destroy the peace of the world and endanger world security by misusing freedom of expression," he told the assembly.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai condemned "the depravity of fanatics" who made the Innocence of Muslims film which set off the storm.

"The menace of Islamophobia is a worrying phenomenon that threatens peace and co-existence," he added in his address to the General Assembly.

Obama said he could not ban the video, reportedly made by Egyptian Copts, because of the US Constitution which protects the right to free speech.

New start in relations

"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," Obama told leaders at the UN summit.

"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," he added.

Obama has sought a new start in relations with the Muslim world during his first term, but the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where US troops will remain for more than a year have been hard to shake off.

Stewart Patrick, a specialist on international institutions for the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, said the film furore had "exposed a huge fault line regarding the balance between free speech, which obviously is healthier in the United States, and the defamation of religion, which is really a red line for many people".

But beyond the question of freedom of speech, some Muslim leaders also say the United States has still not gone far enough to balance its relations with Muslim nations.

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi said despite anti-US demonstrations in Cairo that US support for his country and others that have seen Arab Spring revolutions could be a chance for a mutual show of respect.

'Hate and worry'

Over the past four decades, "Egyptian people see the blood of the Palestinians being shed. And they see that the US administrations were biased against the interests of the Palestinians. So a sort of hate and sort of a worry rise out of that in Egypt and in the area," Morsi said in an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS television this week.

"The demonstrations were an expression of a high level of anger and a rejection of what is happening," added Morsi. "And the US embassy represents the symbol of America as a people and government."

Obama's efforts, said the Egyptian leader, were "the opportunity to take these worries, or this hate, out of the way and to build a new relationship based on respect, communication".

NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
58 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.