Rep. Ellison: 'Provocative' Muhammad video no justification for murder

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), one of only two Muslims in Congress, said Wednesday afternoon that the movie depicting the prophet Muhammad that might have led to violence against the United States in Libya and Egypt can in no way be seen as a justification for that violence.

Ellison spoke on the House floor as details continued to emerge about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, and the resulting death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others. The attackers said they were prompted by a U.S.-financed movie that some say is critical of Muhammad.

"I have seen this amateurish and stupid video, and there's nothing in it — despite the fact that it's deliberately provocative — that could ever justify the murder of these innocent people," Ellison said on the House floor. "The fact is, this must be condemned in the strongest terms.

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"These individuals who didn't like this video, and there's much to dislike about it, could have peaceful protested, could have written letters," he added. "They could have registered their disapproval in number of ways, but they resorted to murder, and this is morally objectionable, and the whole world must condemn it.

"Of course, it doesn't help to provoke people even if you have the right to do so. But it is always wrong to respond with violence and mayhem."

Ellison started his brief remarks by saying he is "deeply disturbed" by the two attacks, and said the death of people serving in the U.S. government is a "terrible, terrible tragedy."