01/20/2015 05:59 PM EST
U.S. Condemns Violence in Niger
January 20, 2015
The United States strongly condemns the violence that occurred in Niger on January 16 and 17 during protests against the depiction of the Prophet Mohamed in the French journal Charlie Hebdo, which resulted in the deaths of at least 10 people and the destruction of residences, businesses and other property, including places of worship. We express our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims of the violence.
The U.S. Government respects all faiths. In a democratic society, freedom of expression includes allowing expression that one disagrees with and protecting the right of all persons to hold different views. This freedom does not imply acceptance of content, nor is there any justification for the wanton killing of innocents and destruction of property.
We commend the efforts of government officials, religious and traditional leaders, and civil society to end the violence and encourage calm in the affected communities. The United States remains firmly committed to our partnership with Niger to expand prosperity and counter regional threats to peace and security.