GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized the Obama administration’s condemnation of those who created an anti-Islam YouTube movie that sparked widespread violence in Egypt and Libya. Yet in 2010, Romney himself harshly condemned a highly publicized Quran burning as inflammatory and dangerous.
Pastor Terry Jones planned to burn a Quran as a means of condemning Islam, an act that resulted in the death of 15 people in Kabul during riots. Romney, echoing General David Petraeus, decried Jones’ plan as potentially endangering American lives:
Burning the Quran is wrong on every level. It puts troops in danger, and it violates a founding principle of our republic.
But today, Romney claimed that a similar statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo — “The United States Embassy in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions” — was evidence of the Obama administration’s underlying sympathy with the mob that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in anger over a derogatory anti-Muslim. According to Romney, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
The embassy’s statement was not approved by the Obama administration, whose official statement said the U.S. “rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others” but defended the filmmaker’s right to free expression and condemned violence as a response to offensive provocation.