President Obama called on global leaders to speak out against violence and intolerance in remarks before the United Nations Global Assembly on Tuesday.
“I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders, in all countries, to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism,” the president said, to applause. “It is time to marginalize those who – even when not directly resorting to violence – use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel as a central organizing principle of politics. For that only gives cover, and sometimes makes an excuse for those who do resort to violence.”
The president condemned as “crude and disgusting” a video that has sparked protest across the Muslim world. Noting that the United States is home to many Muslims, Obama said, “We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.”
The president defended the right to free speech, and added that in the digital age repressing speech is impossible. But “there is no speech that justifies mindless violence,” he said.