Pakistani Foreign Minister on anti-Muslim video: America should ‘rethink’ free speech

Jessica Stanton Contributor
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In the aftermath of violent protests across the Middle East and the slaughter of four American diplomats, Pakistan’s foreign minister believes the United States should “rethink” its commitment to freedom of speech.

“It is not good enough to say, ‘It’s free speech, it should be allowed,'” Hina Rabbani Khar said during an interview with CNN on September 20. “I think if this does provoke action against American citizens or Americans anywhere else in the world, then maybe we do need to rethink how much freedom is okay.”

Khar said nations should come together in a “civilized manner,” to address the concept of freedom speech and how far it extends.

“I think what we need is more tolerance for each other’s views. What we need is to be able to give mutual space for us to be able to demonstrate what is culturally, religiously important to us and not to hold each other — not to judge each other for that,” Khar said.

“We really we have to be sensitive to religious sensitivities.”

The Obama administration initially claimed a video trailer for a low-budget anti-Islam movie prompted the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi that resulted in the death of United States Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomats. (RELATED: White House blames video, not Islamic politics, for embassy crisis)

The administration requested YouTube ‘review’ the trailer for compliance with its terms of use. Google, which owns YouTube, declined to remove the video footage.

Late last week, the State Department began running ads on seven networks in Pakistan, featuring President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the video.

“The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,” Clinton says in the ad. “We absolutely reject its content and message.” President Obama adds, “We reject the efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”

Khar declined to “go deeper into discussion” when asked about the lack of violence or any substantial protest in Muslim countries when the religious views of Christians and Jews are attacked.

In July, Clinton issued a formal apology to Khar for a 2011 NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. (RELATED: Hillary celebrates Independence Day by apologizing to Pakistan)

The administration resisted the apology for more than a year, during which time Khar and the Pakistani government forced the CIA from a major air base and blocked NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan from crossing its northern border. 

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