In April, 2011 American pastor Terry Jones burned a Koran which set off days of riots in Afghanistan that killed 12 people, including four UN guards. Now Jones has released an online film mocking Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, depicting him having sex. This set off riots in Muslim countries including Libya and Egypt, where they later stormed US embassies. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was killed in the attack, along with three other Americans. The Romney campaign released a statement, on September 11, saying Obama sympathized with the rioters. Then today he doubled down, saying the White House stands “in apology for our values.”
The timeline of this one is important. Before the protesters attacked the US embassies the local U.S. mission in Cairo released a statement — not cleared by Washington — about the Jones video that read, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” Romney says this statement was issued in response to the attacks.
This statement, released locally and before the attacks, is the basis of Romney’s accusation that President Obama “sympathizes” with the attackers, and “apologizes” for “our values.”
Following the attacks President Obama issued the following statement:
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.
Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus sent out a message that read, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”
Prominent Republican stateswoman Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook, “We already know that President Obama likes to ‘speak softly’ to our enemies. If he doesn’t have a ‘big stick’ to carry, maybe it’s time for him to grow one.”