U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks at a reception marking Eid ul-Fitr at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on September 13, 2012. The reception was also attended by the Libyan Ambassador to the United States Ali Suleiman Aujali.
Secretary Clinton said, "Good evening, and although I am many weeks overdue in saying it: Eid Mubarak. No matter how belated we are honoring Eid and the end of Ramadan, this is a cherished tradition here at the State Department. And I would like to thank all of you for being here, including the many members of the Diplomatic Corps.
"Tonight, our gathering is more somber than any of us would like. This comes during sad and difficult days for the State Department family. We lost four Americans. They were good and brave men. They were committed to the cause of building a brighter future for the people of Libya. And we condemn the violence in the strongest terms, the violence against our posts in Benghazi, in Egypt, and now in Yemen."
Secretary Clinton continued, "Religious freedom and religious tolerance are essential to the stability of any nation, any people. 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.
"Unfortunately, however, over the last 24 hours, we have also seen violence spread elsewhere. Some seek to justify this behavior as a response to inflammatory, despicable material posted on the internet. As I said earlier today, the United States rejects both the content and the message of that video. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. At our meeting earlier today, my colleague, the foreign minister of Morocco, said that all prophets should be respected because they are all symbols of our humanity, for all humanity.
"But both of us were crystal-clear in this paramount message: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind. And 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."
Secretary Clinton concluded, "So tonight, we must come together and recommit ourselves to working toward a future marked by understanding and acceptance rather than distrust, hatred, and fear. We can pledge that whenever one person speaks out in ignorance and bigotry, ten voices will answer. They will answer resoundingly against the offense and the insult, answering ignorance with enlightenment, answering hatred with understanding, answering darkness with light; that if one person commits a violent act in the name of religion, millions will stand up and condemn it out of strength.
"In times like these, it can be easy to despair that some differences are irreconcilable, some mountains too steep to climb; we will therefore never reach the level of understanding and peacefulness that we seek, and which I believe the great religions of the world call us to pursue. But that's not what I believe, and I don't think it's what you believe either here tonight. Part of what makes our country so special is we keep trying. We keep working. We keep investing in our future. We keep supporting the next generation, believing that young people can keep us moving forward in a positive direction."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.