The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan has started screening advertisements on Pakistani television featuring President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the film “Innocence of Muslims.”
The ad cost the embassy $70,000 and started running on Thursday, the Associated Press reported. It features clips of both Obama and Clinton each denouncing the film and seeking to distance the United States from it, their words translated in Urdu.
“A message from the President of the United States Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” the spot begins.
“Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths,” Obama says. “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None.”
It ends with the seal of the American Embassy in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told the AP the spot was produced by the embassy, which spent $70,000 to air it on seven Pakistani television stations. It is only running in Pakistan.
“As you know, after the (anti-Islam) video came out, there was concern in lots of bodies politic, including Pakistan, as to whether this represented the views of the U.S. government,” Nuland said. “So, in order to be sure that we reached the largest number of Pakistanis, some 90 million as I understand it in this case with these spots, it was the judgment that this was the best way to do it.”
“Innocence of Muslims,” which denigrates the Prophet Muhammad as an womanizer and child molester, has been blamed at least in part for igniting violent protests across the Arab world. According to the AP, 30 people have been killed, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other American personnel in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
“Let me state very clearly, and I hope it is obvious, that the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,” Clinton states in the ad. “We absolutely reject its content and message. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.”
The State Department on Thursday warned all U.S. citizens against traveling to Pakistan until further notice as demonstrations around the country continued.