TUNIS - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that anti-Muslim rhetoric by Republican presidential hopefuls does not reflect US policy, urging Muslims to ignore the hostile statements.
"You will learn as your democracy develops that a lot of things are said in political campaigns that should not bear a lot of attention," Clinton told a town-hall style event in Tunisia, where she attended an international meeting on Syria, CNN reported.
"There are comments made that certainly don't reflect the United States, don't reflect our foreign policy, Don't reflect who we are as a people."
Clinton said that Muslims live with full freedoms in the United States.
"If you go to the United States you see mosques everywhere, you see Muslim Americans everywhere. That's the fact.
"So I would no pay attention to the rhetoric."
Vying to win the Republican Party nomination, White House aspirants have been toning up their anti-Islam to woo voters.
Newt Gingrich said last month that he would support a Muslim candidate for the White House if he publicly renounce Shari`ah.
Republican aspirant Rick Santorum had also describes Islamic Shari`ah as "an existential threat" to America.
Former candidate Herman Cain had also said that he would not appoint a Muslim in his administration.
Cain, who withdrew from the race for the White House, later modified his position by calling for an unconstitutional "loyalty" oath for Muslim appointees.
US Muslims have been sensing a growing hostility following a hearing presented by Republican representative Peter King on what he described as radicalization of US Muslims.
Recently, a Republican Missouri lawmaker described Islam as a disease like polio while another Alaska Rep. branded Muslims as occupiers' of American neighborhoods.
Clinton said that the US policies toward Muslims are represented by president Obama.
"I would say watch what president Obama says and does," Clinton said.
"He's our president. He represents all of the United States.
Obama enjoyed widespread support in the Muslim world following his election as America's first black president.
He delivered a landmark speech to the Muslim world from Cairo, where he vowed to end a decade of mistrust between Muslims and the US.
However, Obama's popularity has dropped in the Muslim world since the Cairo speech as the US has continued to wage war in Muslim nations; Afghanistan and Iraq.
The deadlock in the US-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians has also added to the US leader's woes.
Clinton, who was a presidential contender against Obama in the 2008 elections, said that she found it surprising people in Tunisia and other countries "pay more attention to what is said in our political campaigns than most Americans."
The top diplomat said that she believes incumbent president Obama will be re-elected to a second term in office.
"He will be re-elected president," she said."I think that will be a very clear signal to the entire world as to what our values area and what our president believes."