Press Releases 2012
Statement Issued by Ambassador Maura Connelly at the Grand Serail
September 14, 2012
Good morning. I thank the Prime Minister for his remarks and his condemnation of the attacks on my colleagues that resulted in the death of American diplomats in Libya.
It is with great sadness that I join President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and my diplomatic colleagues in remembering those who died in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Chris Stevens and his team were working with Libyans every day to promote the values of freedom and democracy.
The United States government had nothing to do with the disgusting movie that offends people of all faiths. America has a history of religious tolerance and respect for religious beliefs that goes back to the founding of our nation.
We are stronger because we are the home of people of all religions, including millions of Muslims. We reject the denigration of religion.
We also believe, however, that there is no justification for responding to this movie with violence. Islam respects the fundamental dignity of human beings and it violates that dignity to attack innocents.
It is especially wrong to direct violence at diplomatic missions. The purpose of diplomatic missions is peaceful – to promote better understanding across countries and cultures. Governments everywhere have a responsibility to protect diplomatic missions.
Lebanon is a country that keenly understands the importance of religious tolerance. Many Lebanese leaders have spoken out to emphasize that, no matter how offensive this movie may be, violence is not the answer. We must not allow a tiny minority of people to provoke conflict among religions, countries, and cultures. All leaders must take a firm stand against violence, as Prime Minister Mikati and Foreign Minister Mansour have done today and as President Sleiman did yesterday. Thank you.