Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Sunday, where she told an audience that the United States is not anti-Muslim. Additionally, she said that President Barack Obama has worked diligently to showcase his "respect and appreciation" for all religions -- particularly Islam.
Clinton's qualifier is noteworthy for a number of reasons. To begin, Bangladesh is an overwhelmingly Muslim country, so the appeal is clearly an attempt to convince Muslims of Obama's devotion to respecting their faith. With the U.S. facing consistent accusations of anti-Muslim bias, Clinton's statements were likely uttered in an effort to showcase the administration's continued efforts to bridge a divide with the Islamic world.
"I certainly think President Obama has sent a very clear message of respect and appreciation of all religions, and in particular of Islam," she proclaimed while speaking at the International School.
The secretary of state went on to say that allegations that America is anti-Muslim "hurt" her.
"That hurts me so much, honestly," Clinton told the audience. "I mean, it’s a painful perception to hear about, and I deeply regret that anyone believes that or propagates it."
Aside from stating her personal pain from the notion that America has an anti-Muslim bias, Clinton also defended the nation as a beacon of hope and a haven for those seeking freedom.
"I believe that the United States, through our laws and through our constant political dialogue, has gone probably farther than anywhere else in the world in trying to guarantee legal protections for people," she continued. "I would like to see more countries do more to protect the rights of minorities because I think that’s an important part of democracy and of recognizing that no matter what our religion or whatever our background might be, we share this planet with people from many different vantage points, and we should be respectful."
Clinton did speak about terrorism as well, telling the audience that she does not, in any way, believe that radical actions on behalf of terrorists are reflective of the Islamic faith. She lamented that some individuals "pervert religion," but reiterated her view that people have used every religion for radical purposes throughout history.
(H/T: CNS News)