Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that there is never any justification for violent acts as a response to offensive religious materials.
"When all of us who are people of faith – and I am one – feel the pain of insults, of misunderstanding, of denigration to what we cherish, we must expect ourselves and others not to resort to violence.
"That is a universal standard and expectation, and it is everyone's obligation to meet that, so that we make no differences, we expect no less of ourselves than we expect of others. You cannot respond to offensive speech with violence without begetting more violence," Clinton said.
In her remarks at a reception marking Eid ul-Fitr, she decried those who have been trying to justify the ongoing violence in countries like Egypt, Libya and Yemen as a response to inflammatory, despicable material posted on the internet.
"Think about it. When Christians are subject to insults to their faith, and that certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence. When Hindus or Buddhists are subjected to insults to their faiths, and that also certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence. The same goes for all faiths, including Islam," Clinton said.
She said the US deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is never any justification for violent acts, she said, referring to the attacks on US diplomatic missions in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
"We look to leaders around the world to stand up and speak out against violence, and to take steps to protect diplomatic missions from attack," she said.
Observing that religious freedom and religious tolerance are essential to the stability of any nation, any people, she said hatred and violence in the name of religion only poison the well.
"All people of faith and good will know that the actions of a small and savage group in Benghazi do not honor religion or God in any way. Nor do they speak for the more than one billion Muslims around the world, many of whom have shown an outpouring of support during this time," she said.
Clinton said she strongly believes that the great religions of the world are stronger than any insults and they have withstood offense for centuries.
Refraining from violence, then, is not a sign of weakness in one's faith; it is absolutely the opposite, a sign that one's faith is unshakable, she argued.