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Islam and the self-censoring of Europe

Read and be very worried for one of the hardest-won freedoms of the western world – the core freedom to challenge all ideas, philosophies or religions in the court of public opinion.

A world where native citizens of Europe, the culture where democracy was invented and defined by Aristotle as “free citizens deliberating the question: how shall we order our lives together?”, can no longer deliberate certain questions deemed “unacceptable” by an intimidated elite. Where speaking the truth in public argument on a matter of existential importance to society is no defense against conviction for ‘insulting speech’; where one is not judged by one’s peers but by a panel of state censors.

All because certain elements of an immigrant subculture demand a ban on criticism of their religion’s founder or its sacred writings; and ‘human rights’ tribunals in Europe acquiesce and proceed to prosecute their citizens under modern day blasphemy laws.

Today, Lars Hedegaard gave his concluding statement to the Danish ‘heresy trial’ which has charged him with criticisimg Islam and offending its adherents – and remember, the accused is not given the right to prove the truth of his statments, as that is considered irrelevant. Read his full statement HERE:

Politically you may be a socialist, a liberal or a conservative. You may be a staunch supporter of the welfare state, socialized medicine, gay marriage, preferential treatment of women and 75 percent taxation of all private income. It won’t help you if you have distanced yourself from the teachings of the prophet.

And read Mark Steyn’s impassioned commentary on his comrade’s show-trial in  ‘Lars Man Standing’, if you have not caught the stench of decay in the European body politic.

Then consider this report on these other citizens of Voltaire’s (“I disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it”) formerly free-thinking free-speaking Europe:

This is but the most recent occasion that an elected official, journalist, or humanitarian has been charged for perceived defamations of Islam in their statements of fact and exact reiterations of Quranic and other Islamic sacred texts. In 2009, for instance, Finland convicted its best known political blogger, Jussi Kristian Halla-aho, then 38. 

And in May 2008, Gregorius Nekschot, a pseudonymous Dutch cartoonist, was similarly arrested and charged with discriminatory speech. In September 2010, Dutch prosecutors finally dropped charges against Nekschot (on the eve of Holland’s next travesty of justice). Despite a court order that he dismantle his personal website, Nekschot was victorious. “I can carry on making caricatures, perhaps even more controversial ones, because I have been allowed to keep my anonymity,” he said.

Then came five charges of hate speech against Dutch MP Geert Wilders. Prosecutors initially ruled that Wilders’ statements might hurt Muslim feelings but weren’t crimes. But in January 2009, Amsterdam’s Appeals Court reversed the finding and ordered prosecutors to proceed. At trial, an empaneled judge snidely remarked on Wilders’ intent to remain silent. An immediate appeal to replace the biased panel was denied. Dutch prosecutors reiterated the legality of criticizing religion (Muslim feelings determine no “facts of the case”), but trial judges ignored their request to acquit on all five charges.

After incontestable judicial bias surfaced, however, a new appeals court on October 22 terminated the Wilders trial. At a private May 2010 dinner party, Islamic expert and defense witness Hans Jansen revealed that magistrate Tom Schalken, one of the Amsterdam judges who ordered Wilders’ prosecution, had approached him to explain why Wilders must be prosecuted. Schalken’s unlawfully expressed, extra-judicial comment to a defense witness forced the appeals justices to order a new Wilders trial.

Next up was Austria’s Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff — Pax Europa‘s Austrian representative and a former Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe envoy. Pax Europa, focusing on sharia law incursions and the simultaneous erosion of free speech in Europe, is Germany’s “foremost human rights organization,” she says. In September 2010, Sabaditsch-Wolff learned she was accused of “defamation of religion” during a 2009 three-part seminar on “Islamization of Europe” for the Freedom Education Institute (FEI). She is not a member of FEI or any part of the late, controversial Joerg Haider’s “far-right” Austrian Freedom Party. But even if Sabaditsch-Wolff did belong, it would not be criminal: the state gives public monies to the Austrian Freedom Party’s Institute.

Moreover, Sabaditsch-Wolff based her academic observations on experience gained, by choice, from living most of her adult life “in Arab and Muslim-majority countries.” Exactly which statements prompted Vienna’s prosecutor to indict her for hate speech, he did not see fit to specify. She was “tried” in Vienna, if one can call it that, in November 2010. No decision has yet been announced.

UPDATE 1/2/11 – Lars Hedegaard acquitted on a legal technicality

Lars Hedegaard proves too uncomfortable an object for the censors to chew up and swallow… See Steyn’s report “I fought the thought police and I won”.

Is this justice and a victory for free speech? Not really, more a case of the craven censors retiring to pick on a smaller target next time.  Steyn:

Under Denmark’s law as written – a law in which truth is no defense – Lars is also clearly “guilty”. But, as in Vancouver, the system couldn’t withstand the scrutiny that a conviction would have brought. So the judge decided to acquit the defendant for political convenience and hope that the next boob dumb enough to question the received wisdom of the benefits of mass Muslim immigration would be some obscure rube with no international megaphone.

UPDATE 20/2/11 – Elisabeth Sabaditxch-Wolff convicted on a judicial obscenity

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was found guilty this week of “vilifying religious doctrine” because she had said that Muhammed’s taking of a 9 year old as a child bride was paedophilia. Not so, says the judge, because, if one observes Muhammed’s sexual relationship with this child, Aisha, for a decade, he is still married to her when she was 18. She is now an adult, so he cannot techinically be a paedophile. See the ruling, at the ESW Defense of Free Speech site. The key statement from the judge is:

..The utterances regarding Muhammad and paedophilia were punishable. “Paedophilia” is factually incorrect, since paedophilia is a sexual preference which solely or mainly is directed towards children. Nevertheless, it does not apply to Mohammad. He was still married to Aisha when she was 18. It is a “denigration of religious teachings” and (you) are found guilty…

Mark Steyn tried to get his head around the logic:

So, although Mohammed deflowered Aisha when she was nine, it is “factually incorrect” to call him a pedophile because he was still hot for her when she was in her late teens? … Does this judicial ruling apply to all Austrians partial to a piece of underage totty?

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the feminists to condemn this outrageous decision, because left-wing muliticultural pieties trump left-wing feminist principles. But do hold your breath for judicial and cultural sanity to prevail in the end: this case, which is an offense to free society in ever having been brought in the first place, and an offense to free society in its ruling, has been appealed.

Update 7/2/13 – attempted murder of Lars Hedergard


Lars Hedegaard, a well-known seventy-year-old free speech activist and critic of Islam, narrowly escaped a murder attempt on February 5 outside his home in Copenhagen, Denmark.

An unidentified assailant wielding a handgun fired a shot at Hedegaard, but fled on foot after the bullet missed its intended victim and the gun subsequently jammed.

According to Danish media, the gunman, in a postal service uniform, rang the doorbell of Hedegaard’s apartment building on the pretext of delivering a package. When Hedegaard opened the front door, the man pulled out a gun and fired a shot, narrowly missing Hedegaard’s head.

Danish police say they are searching for the suspect, whom they describe as “a man of a different ethnic background than Danish.” He is believed to be in his 20s and has a “Middle Eastern appearance.” Speculation is that the assailant is a Muslim because of critical statements that Hedegaard has made regarding Islam.

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