As protests set off by an American anti-Islam film continued across the Mideast on Friday, several thousand conservatives gathered for the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, where the global events have not escaped notice.
“We should not be held hostage by a radical Islamic contingent that reacts violently to anything that would question the activities of the Islamic faith,” says Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group that sponsors the summit.
“The events in the Middle East have nothing to do with the movie,” says American Values president Gary Bauer, who called any suggestion to the contrary “obscene.” “If one buys in to that, then the only solution would be to voluntary accept sharia law, which says you can’t criticize the Prophet.”
Politicians speaking at the conference echoed some of those sentiments, but mostly blamed President Obama for the protests. Rep. Michele Bachmann called Obama “the most dangerous American president we have ever had on foreign policy,” and said, “We are witnessing the direct consequences of this administration’s policy of apology and appeasement across the globe.”
Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan critiqued the President’s response to the Libyan crisis. “Amid all these threats and dangers, what we do not see is steady consistent American leadership,” he said. “Only by the confident exercise of American influence are evil and violence overcome.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney said protests across the mideast were caused by the “reprehensible, offensive and disgusting” film and not “directed at the United States writ large.”