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Anti-Islam film was an excuse to carry out violence: Obama

Washington: US President Barack Obama has said that an anti-Islam film is being used as an excuse to carry out violent acts against Americans.

"What we've seen over the last week, week and a half, is something that actually we've seen in the past, where there is an offensive video or cartoon directed at the prophet Muhammad.

"And this is obviously something that then is used as an excuse by some to carry out inexcusable violent acts directed at Westerners or Americans,"Obama said in Miami Florida.

Obama was responding to a question on the ongoing anti-US protests in countries like Pakistan and Libya.

"As we know, at the present time, 1,000 people are trying to get into the (US) embassy in Pakistan, and we have seen protests, anti-American protests in thousands of countries.

"We know in Libya, four Americans were killed. We know now that Ambassador Chris Stevens warned about security, days before he was killed, he said.

US President Barack Obama during a recent election campaign. AFP

"Many people want to know if you expected so much anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world."

"And why wasn't your administration better prepared with more security at our embassies on September 11?" Obama was asked at the start of the town hall.

Obama said his number-one priority is always to keep US diplomats and embassies safe.

"So when the initial events happened in Cairo and all across the region, we worked with Secretary Clinton to redouble our security and to send a message to the leaders of these countries, essentially saying, although we had nothing to do with the video, we find it offensive, it's not representative of America's views, how we treat each other with respect when it comes to their religious beliefs, but we will not tolerate violence," US President said.

"Our goal now is not only to make sure that our embassies and our diplomats are safe, but also to make sure that we bring those who carried out these events to justice,"Obama said.

There is a larger issue, and that is what's going to be happening in the Arab Spring as these countries transition from dictatorship to democracy, he noted.

"We cannot replace the tyranny of a dictator with the tyranny of a mob."

"And so my message to the Presidents of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and these other countries is, we want to be a partner with you, we will work with you, and we stand on the side of democracy, but democracy is not just an election; it's also, are you looking out for minority rights, are you respecting freedom of speech, are you treating women fairly," he said.

"All these issues are ones that the region is going to wrestle with. The one thing we can't do is withdraw from the region, because the United States continues to be the one indispensable nation."

"And even countries where the United States is criticised, they still want our leadership and they still look to us to make sure that we're providing opportunity and peace. And so we're going to continue to work in these regions," Obama added.

PTI

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