President Obama is making a quick stop at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, giving a speech before the annual gathering of world leaders and delegates then darting off to speak to the Clinton Global Initiative and sit down for an interview with the ladies of The View. In a preview of Obama's speech, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the president will address the uprisings in Muslim countries against low-budget anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. Obama "will make it clear that we reject the views in this video, while also underscoring that violence is never acceptable," Vietor said in a memo, adding that the president "will also send a clear message that the United States will never retreat from the world, will bring justice to those who harm Americans, and will stand strongly for our democratic values abroad." Is it a mistake for Obama to criticize the movie?
Obama needs to stop apologizing to Muslims: At a time when Muslims are rioting and Islamic countries at the U.N are agitating for global rules against defaming religion "(meaning only the Muslim faith)," says William Teach at Pirate's Cove, Obama should be standing up for American values. Instead, it appears he will go before "a body composed of countries run by thugs and dictators, many of whom rely upon the United States for their survival, many of which are terrible when it comes to human rights, [and] trash our First Amendment rights on the world stage." That's weak.
"Obama to bring Apologies to Islamists Tour to United Nations..."
With free speech rights come responsibilities: Rejecting a "tawdry video" pushed by U.S. "Islamophobes" does push up "against the line that separates prudence from weakness," says Bill Keller at The New York Times. But blaming Islam for the "anti-American opportunists" exploiting the film abroad, as Obama critics apparently want him to do, would be "a kind of surrender." America's "homegrown hatemongers" are within their rights to spread anti-Islam propaganda and "easily debunked" warnings about "the imaginary encroachment of Islamic law on our domestic freedom," but they can't object when their Muslim counterparts push back with their own nonsense.
"The Satanic video"
Why not ignore the video? The recent wave of protests "launched a million op-eds" about "Muslim rage," says Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy. But the real story is how small they were, and how quickly they fizzled. Many of the Islamists who fed weeks of protests against Danish anti-Islam cartoons in 2006 are now in government, and at the U.N., and they no longer want to "spark a clash of civilizations." So the president needn't even mention "that awful YouTube film." America isn't loved in the Mideast, but "perhaps Obama's outreach to the Muslim world hasn't actually been the dismal failure declared in a thousand (oddly similar) op-eds."
"The failure of #Muslimrage"
Other stories from this topic:
- Opinion Brief: France's Muhammad cartoons: Will they divert anger away from the U.S.?
- Timeline: The anti-Islam-film riots: A timeline
- By the numbers: The worldwide protests against anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims: By the numbers