Obama also told the United Nations that with modern technology efforts to control the flow of information have become “obsolete.”
The Obama administration had originally suggested that the video in question—which the New York Times said was a trailer for a movie entitled “The Innocence of Muslims”—may have been responsible for inspiring a mob to attack the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11 and to kill U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
However, the Libyan prime minister said last week that the attack on the U.S. consulate was pre-planned. Also, the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said on Sunday that not only was the attack planned but also that there was reason to believe it had been carried out by al Qaeda or an al Qaeda-affiliated group and that he had seen no evidence that there had even been a demonstration outside the consulate before the attack.
“In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others,” Obama told the United Nations.
“That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world,” he said.
“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," said Obama. "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,” said Obama. “The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.