Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed Libya’s ambassador to the U.S. to an Eid ul-Fitr reception tonight in Washington, stressing in her remarks that “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, noting that at a meeting with the Moroccan foreign minister earlier he said “that all prophets should be respected because they are all symbols of our humanity, for all humanity.”
“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 continued.
“…I so strongly believe that the great religions of the world are stronger than any insults. 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.”
Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali said that standing next to Clinton in the State Department “shows the world how much the Americans are standing by the Libyans and the Libya revolution.”
“You do support us during the war, but you have to support us during the peace. We are going through a very difficult time, and we need the help of friends,” he said.
Aujali and slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens were good friends who played tennis together.
Please, Madam Secretary, accept our apology and accept our condolence for the loss of the four Americans, innocent people,” Aujali said. “They lost their lives in the Libyan territory. Chris, he loves Benghazi, he loves the people, he talks to them, he eats with them, and he committed — and unfortunately lost his life because of this commitment.”
Clinton recognized that she was “many weeks overdue” in the Eid celebration. “No matter how belated we are honoring Eid and the end of Ramadan, this is a cherished tradition here at the State Department,” she said.