Obama Summons World Leaders To Reject Extremism

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
Obama says protecting religious rights and free speech is universal

President Barack Obama addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Confronting global tumult and protests over an anti-Islam video, President Barack Obama has told world leaders that protecting religious rights and free speech should be a universal responsibility.

Obama told the U.N. General Assembly that "in every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening."

The president said he and most Americans are Christians, but don't prohibit blasphemy against their faith, or the beliefs of others.

He said that's because America's founders knew that unless freedom of speech is protected, "the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened."

Obama said that while the anti-Islam video is offensive, "The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech -- the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect."

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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