While unrest continues to spread in the Middle East, Zainab Al-Suwaij, executive director of the American Islamic Congress, argues that the American government must explain that the existence of the anti-Islamic film produced in the United States is allowed through constitutional rights to free speech rather than apologizing for its production.
“I think we should be more direct about the situation,” Al-Suwaij says on Early Start this morning. “I think we’ve positioned ourselves very weak[ly] in the past few days, especially in terms of apologizing about the film. I think the film has not – in any way, shape, or form - been supported by the American government or the American public. It’s an act of an individual that led to what’s going on. Under our constitution and the freedom of the press and freedom of speech and of religion, we cannot stop these instances from happening and I think we should be clear about that. We should deliver the message strongly not by apologizing, but by explaining our position as the American government and the American nation as well.”
Al-Suwaij also explains that the film is only one cause of the unrest. “I think there are a lot of other political goals behind the riots that are going on,” she says. “I think that the political goals that these radicals have... are much bigger than just a bad quality film that’s been put on YouTube. It’s a similar situation to what we had years ago with the Danish cartoon.”