US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today called a US-produced anti-Islam film that has angered Muslim communities in North Africa "disgusting" but said it cannot be used as a justification for the kind of violence seen at the US embassy in Libya two days ago, reported the Associated Press.
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On Tuesday, a demonstration over the video in front of the US consulate in Libya's Benghazi came alongside an attack that killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.
Clinton's comments come as violent protests were seen in front of US embassies in Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan and Morocco today, with demonstrators in Yemen's Sanaa scaling embassy walls in a rally reported to have been thousands strong.
Clinton said the US is tracking developments in Sanaa and warned against any further attacks, reported AP.
"Violence, we believe, has no place in religion and is no way to honor religion," the Secretary said, according to Politico. "Islam, like other religions, respects the fundamental dignity of human beings, and it is a violation of that fundamental dignity to wage attacks on innocence."
Clinton countered her criticism of the "reprehensible" film by saying the US upholds the right to free speech even when it offends religious communities, said AP. The US position stands in stark contrast with decisions by several governments to block access to the footage.
The anti-American demonstrations seen throughout North Africa today also prompted Clinton to clarify that the US government had "absolutely nothing" to do with the film and officially rejects "its content and message," according to Politico.
Parts of the "Innocence of Muslim" film were recently dubbed into Arabic, resulting in widespread outcry over its mockery of Islam (see trailer).
It is not yet clear who actually made the movie and some reports indicate a feature-length version may not exist.
Tuesday's violence in Libya came as the US marked the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York City. US investigators said the Benghazi protest over the film, which initially appeared to trigger the violence, may have been a separate operation that used the demonstration as a decoy.