In decadent Europe, freedom of speech is dying. Loudly trumpeted as a ‘human right’ for any attacks on America, Israel, Christians or on the core values of the west, it is swiftly transformed into ‘hate speech’ and the shutters are slammed down on the speaker whenever Islam is in the frame.
Lars Hedegaard is President of the Danish Free Press Society, which is devoted to defending freedom of expression – particularly against the threat from radical Islam to extinguish it on the spurious grounds of ‘Islamophobia’. With no sense of irony, Denmark is trying its damnedest to shut Hedegaard up on precisely those grounds.
This witch-hunt has now reached its third round. In January 2011, Hedegaard was tried and acquitted for racism and hate speech over remarks he made two years previously concerning sexual abuse within Muslim communities. After his acquittal was appealed, however, he was retried and convicted. I wrote about all this, and the way in which both the acquittal and the subsequent conviction turned on what were essentially technicalities, on my previous blog here.
A few days ago, Hedegaard’s appeal against that conviction was heard by Denmark’s Supreme Court. According to Sappho, the Free Press Society’s magazine, the prosecutor admitted that the grounds for Hedegaard’s conviction were wrong – and yet she encouraged the court to confirm the verdict, but with a better justification. To this Kafka-esque formulation Hedegaard’s lawyer claimed that the charge had not been based on what Hedegaard had actually said, which had been taken out of context; the charge had been based on news articles produced by, amongst others, the politically correct newspaper Politiken.
The Supreme Court is due to deliver its verdict in three days’ time. This oppressive treatment of Lars Hedegaard is clearly a massive stain on Danish society. But it is in turn part of a terrifying trend across Scandinavia and Europe, where the left is doing the dirty work of the enemies of the west for them. In Sweden Ingrid Carlqvist, head of that country’s Free Press Society, writes that this society has become
‘the number one object of hate amongst Swedish journalists’.
Why? Because it too defends freedom against its Islamist enemies. After the Swedish media studiously ignored the Society’s inaugural meeting earlier this year, says Carlqvist, journalists from such publications as Sydsvenskan, Helsingborgs Dagblad, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Juridik and the Union paper Journalisten launched a campaign of concerted attacks against it, accusing it of making ‘the Danish Muslim witch-hunt into a Swedish one’,- and of voicing extreme opinions and feeding prejudices. Carlqvist adds:
‘On March 8th the invitations to our second meeting went out. The topic was ”Gender research at universities – science or insanity?” One of the lecturers was Roland Poirier Martinsson at the think-tank Timbro, a Conservative critic of feminism and gender research. When his participation was revealed, a witchhunt against him broke out on Twitter. It was lead by the journalists Andreas Ekstrom, Sydsvenskan, Johannes Forssberg, Expressen, Anders Lindberg, Aftonbladet and free lance-journalist Annika Hamrud.
‘They put such pressure on Martinsson that he decided to cancel his lecture, which led to another withdrawal and SFPS had to cancel the meeting. The journalists cheered. Markus Uwell, CEO of the think-tank Timbro twittered: ”We don’t participate in arrangements by litigious and racist organizations.”’
So much for freedom of speech in Sweden.
Meanwhile, people in Britain who are bemused by the wall-to-wall coverage being afforded to the trial in Norway of the clearly psychopathically disordered mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who is being treated by both the court and the media as if he were a political prisoner, would do well to read this chilling analysis by Bruce Bawer of what is actually going on in this trial:
‘The anti-anti-Islamism crowd in Norway, in short, would seem to have hit the jackpot. Other countries have put critics of Islam on trial, one at a time. But now pretty much every prominent critic of Islam in Norway will be ushered into an Oslo courtroom, presumably to account for their views on Islam, the absurd pretext being that their testimony will contribute in some way to the defense of a mass murderer whose guilt has already been established beyond all doubt. The brilliant, and ironic, thing here is that the goal of the defense – and of the defendant, who apparently made up the list of witnesses himself – is utterly identical with the goal of the country’s leftist cultural elite: namely, to implicate all of us writers in Breivik’s actions. Of course, Breivik wants to do this in order to mitigate his own guilt in the eyes of the court and the country; the cultural elite wants to do it in order to discredit forever the criticism of Islam.’
Europe is clearly suffering the political equivalent of auto-immune disease – destroying its own defenses while embracing those who repudiate life, liberty and reason itself.