Alhurra’s Inside Washington host, Robert Satloff spoke with Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine about the riots in the Muslim world over an anti-Islam film, the purpose of public diplomacy, and the importance of religious tolerance.
On the violent protests in the Muslim world over a film mocking the Prophet Mohammed, Under Secretary Sonenshine said, “The United States government had nothing to do with that hateful and disgusting video. Nothing. Full stop. And that is worth repeating because I think not everyone in the world understands that.” “And we hope people use technology wisely and smartly and with what we would consider universally positive attributes,” she added.
On the purpose of public diplomacy, Under Secretary Sonenshine stated, “Public diplomacy is the range of engagement, if you will, citizen to citizen, people to people. That means that we’re moving beyond just government to government and moving into the sphere of the range of human endeavor– education, business, media– all of the ways that citizens relate to other citizens. So, communicating our values, our ideals, our story overseas through engagement.”
On the importance of religious freedom and mutual understanding, “We, the United States, we are built on certain basic freedoms that are actually universal freedoms. We are a nation founded on religious tolerance, as you said, and freedom of expression … I think respect for religious differences, I think respect for differences in gender, in thought, in opinion, I think respect is actually worth going out and working towards,” she concluded.
Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.