Clinton Decries Sectarian Violence: ‘I Think It’s a Pretty Big Tent Up There’

By Melanie Arter | July 25, 2012 | 4:00 PM EDT

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

( – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at the second annual Global Diaspora Forum on Wednesday, said it is a “waste of the great gift God has given us” to see people of “different tribal backgrounds convinced that they are going to kill or be killed.”

Clinton delivered keynote remarks on “Innovative Diaspora Engagement” during the forum, which was titled, “Moving Forward by Giving Back” and focused on how new technology can empower and increase diaspora philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, volunteerism, and social innovation. The forum runs through Thursday.

“I see people in different tribal backgrounds convinced that they are going to kill or be killed. What a waste of the great gift God has given us to live our lives in peace, to pursue our own dreams. Are we so insecure about our own beliefs that we have to marginalize and even kill those who don’t share them?” Clinton said.

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“I mean ultimately, we’ll all find out who was right, but we’re not going to find out on this earth, and frankly, I think it’s a pretty big tent up there – where people will be judge individually, more than by sect, or religion, or faith or ethnicity,” she added.

Clinton said “one of the great challenges we face in the world today” is to convey to others that they live in a place “that has given more opportunity to more people over a longer period of time than anywhere in human history” to live out their dreams.

“We see so many places around the world being torn apart by ethnic, religious, racial, sectarian divides of all kinds. When I walk down the street as I love to do in New York, and I see people living together and working together, whose relatives back in the countries from where they came hate each other, kill each other, it just, it makes me so grateful for our country,” she said.

“But it also makes me so heartbroken that other countries don’t have that opportunity, don’t see beyond moving beyond the past,” Clinton added.