Today I am an angry Arab Muslim woman — outraged, as a person of conscience, over the attacks on American embassies and the murder of a talented diplomat who represented me. After the 2005 cartoon riots, no one should be surprised by Muslim fanatics’ irrational violence. Yet seeing history repeated — not as farce but as brutal tragedy — is a wake-up call. We must confront hard truths and take bold action against behavior that is completely unacceptable.

Let’s be clear: a silly film on YouTube is simply an excuse. No American needs to apologize for the film’s existence, and nobody — no matter how offended by the film — should make believe that it can in any way justify the assault on U.S. embassies. Neither the U.S. government nor the American people have anything to do with the film. We have been attacked because of the values we represent: free speech, free press and freedom of conscience.

Read the rest of AIC Executive Director Zainab Al-Suwaij’s Op-Ed in the Baltimore Sun here.