While speaking at the European Commission in Brussels Thursday, Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi condemned the recent video that sparked protests around the Muslim world. Demonstrators say it insults Islam and the prophet Mohammed. But Morsi also condemned the violent reactions to the video in his strongest language to date.
Morsi repeatedly stressed Egypt is able to secure diplomatic delegations and visitors on its soil, directing his message of peace toward “the whole world.”
Excerpts from his speech follow:
“Muslims and Christians in Egypt are equal citizens and have the same rights… We are cautious about those principles and human values, also respecting visitors and respecting tourists... and respecting and protecting diplomatic delegations and private and public properties, and not attacking them.
“Freedom, and ensuring safety of self, and protecting this freedom and people and preserving property is the responsibility of the Egyptian nation.”
He continued: “The Egyptian nation is capable now of protecting people’s opinions and allowing them breathing room, as well as protecting diplomatic delegations and all foreigners, visitors, tourists, embassies and consulates in Egypt.”
“I see in Egypt and the Arab and Islamic world a severe anger toward the violations made by a very small number of individuals. They have insulted the prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him. We stand very strongly against this. We don’t agree with or approve this, and we stand against anyone who tries to raise such false slogans and create these disturbances, tension and hatred between populations.”
“Those [people] are not accepted, not by people in Egypt nor other Arab and Islamic countries, nor by their own people. I affirm that the American people reject this and I’ve called on them to declare their rejection of them, at the same time with our rejection of those bad practices that bring harm and not benefit.”
“At the same time, we don’t accept, condone, or approve at all for there to be attacks on embassies, consulates or people, or killing in any way.”
“We want to cooperate with the entire world and we are cooperating now with the E.U. and the European people and with the American people and others and the U.S. administration to prevent such practices in the future. Also, we insist on the protection of persons, properties and embassies. The Egyptian people are very civilized and could not ever express their rejection of such practices with an attack on an embassy or person or consulate.”
Morsi also said that he came to an agreement of cooperation with the EU, and that, as a friend of Egypt, the EU would help the country with its democratic transition, whether on a political or economic level. He said that they also agreed on the necessity of trying to find a way to end the “bloodshed” in Syria and help the country through its democratic transition based on the wishes and ambitions of the Syrian people.