"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." Barack Obama September 2012 UN speech.
“As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar [seminary] — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment.
"I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story.” Barack Obama 2009 Cairo speech.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended President Obama's past remarks about Islam. Earnest was especially defensive of President Obama's remarks critical of media outlets or anyone for that matter speaking out against radical Islam.
“The President will not now be shy about expressing a view or taking the steps that are necessary to try to advocate for the safety and security of our men and women in uniform” whenever journalists’ work may provoke jihadist attacks.
"There was a genuine concern that the publication of some of those materials could put Americans abroad at risk, including American soldiers at risk.
”I will say that there have been occasions where the administration will make clear our point of view on some of those assessments based on the need to protect the American people and to protect our men and women in uniform.
“I wouldn’t rule out making those kinds of expressions again.
“That is something that the Commander in Chief takes very seriously. The President and his spokesman was not then and will not now be shy about expressing a view or taking the steps that are necessary to try to advocate for the safety and security of our men and women in uniform.
”What won’t change is our view that freedom of expression in no way justifies an act of violence against the person who expressed a view. And the President considers the safety and security of our men and women in uniform to be something worth fighting for.
“I think that there are any number of reasons that media organizations have made a decision not to reprint the cartoons” after the January attack. In some cases, maybe they were concerned about their physical safety. In other cases, they were exercising some judgment in a different way. So we certainly would leave it to media organizations to make a decision like this.
"What I’m saying is that individual news organizations have to assess that risk for themselves. I think the point in the mind of the President and certainly everybody here at the White House is that is a question that should be answered by journalists.
“I’m confident in saying that for the vast majority of media organizations, that [fear is] not the only factor. But I would readily concede that it is one in the minds of many of those news executives. But again, that is a decision for all of them to make,” Earnest said.
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