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Morsi slams anti-Islam film in Rome, rejects 'strife between nations'

Speaking from Italian capital, Egypt's President Morsi reiterates condemnation of anti-Islam film, offers condolences to American people for diplomats killed in Benghazi

MENA, Friday 14 Sep 2012
President Mohamed Morsi during a press conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on 13 September (Photo: AP)
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Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Friday reiterated his condemnation of a controversial short film that denigrates Islam and the Prophet Mohamed. The president was speaking at a joint press conference in Rome with his Italian counterpart.

"This assault on Islam has been condemned by all the nations of the world, including the American people, as was conveyed to me by [US President Barack] Obama during our phone conversation," Morsi stated.

The Egyptian president went on to stress his rejection of any attempt to promote strife between nations, warning that such "childish" actions "only serve to distract us from real problems, such as ongoing events in Syria."

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, meanwhile, scores gathered to protest the offensive film. Demonstrations, which have been ongoing since Tuesday, have led to limited clashes that have left over two hundred injured until now.

Other countries in the region have seen similar angry protests in the wake of the controversial film, including Iraq, Palestine, Morocco and Lebanon. In Tripoli, Lebanon, protesters on Friday torched two American fast-food restaurants.

Speaking in Italy, Morsi declared that recent attempts to promote sectarian strife "will not deter us from our main mission of safeguarding regional peace and stability," going on to stress that Islam was "a religion that respects the beliefs of others and advocates freedom of belief."

The president again offered his condolences to the American people for the killing of four US diplomats – including the US ambassador to Libya – who died following a Tuesday rocket attack in Benghazi.

Morsi had earlier expressed his sorrow for the attack at a Thursday press conference in Brussels.

The Egyptian president departed Egypt on Wednesday to take part in his first European tour, which includes Belgium and Italy, with the aim of bolstering Egypt-EU relations.

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