(WASHINGTON) — The Obama administration Tuesday distanced itself from a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
In a statement online, the Embassy of the United States in Cairo said that it “condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
The statement was issued before the attacks on the compound, but given the subsequent attack — and the interpretation that the statement was somehow apologizing for free speech in regards to an anti-Muslim film that caused the uproar — the Obama administration itself took issue with it.
An administration official tells ABC News that “no one in Washington approved that statement before it was released and it doesn’t reflect the views of the U.S. government.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jim Acosta, Elise Labott, Nicole Gaouette, Kevin Liptak and Allie Malloy, CNN Newswire
Holly Yan, Chuck Johnston and David Williams, CNN