WASHINGTON - The United States has nothing to do with the production of an anti-Islam movie that has resulted in violent protests in the Middle East, a top American envoy said, describing the movie as disgusting and reprehensible.
"It is a disgusting and reprehensible video. It is important to remember that the United States government has nothing to do with its production," Special US Envoy to Muslim Communities Rashad Hussain told Pajhwok Afghan News in an exclusive interview.
Not only the US government, but also communities of all faiths, including Christians, had condemned the production of the video, he said. "As a Muslim myself, I would understand why it would cause people to get upset. I understand the place of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Islam, but at the same time, I also know that violence as a way of reacting to this offensive video is not consistent with anything."
Rashid said he had read the description of the video, but he decided against watching it. It was clear from experience that attempts to stop people from posting this type of offensive content in the modern world did not always succeed, he added.
"We also have as a value in the United Stated freedom of expression, which is important and allows people to speak their mind, allows people like me to practice my religion freely as Muslim," the diplomat remarked.
The envoy, who has been to Afghanistan several times and has travelled extensively in the Middle East and North African countries, said basically a small group of minority extremists was using the video as a catalyst for anti-US propaganda.
"Unfortunately, there are people in the world, still in minority, who use these types of videos to try to provoke outrage and violence. Because that is something that is rejected by all faiths, it is important that people do not fall victim to that," Rashid argued.
"The more and more people are able to discuss these issues in an intelligent way, the more and more people are able to learn about various religious faiths through dialogue; the more they would understand that those who would use violence are totally wrong," said the official.
Rashid promised the US would continue to build partnerships on a wide range of issues, including education, health, science and entrepreneurship. "It is not going to stop us from pursuing peace. We have ended one war in Iraq and we are ending the war in Afghanistan as well. We are going to continue transition and support democracy in the Middle East and North Africa."
Rashid hoped Imams in their religious sermons on Friday would make clear to people that using violence and religious intolerance was totally unacceptable. (Pajhwok)