The Media’s Character Assassination of Lars Hedegaard

pic_giant_030613_SM_hedegaard-450x328By :

It’s starting to look like the Book of Job. For years, he’s been demonized in his nation’s media for criticizing Islam. In 2011 and 2012, he was put on trial – not one, twice, but three times – for violating a Danish law that makes it a crime to insult or denigrate a religion. Last month, a guy came to his door dressed as a mailman and tried to kill him; his survival seems nothing short of a miracle.

You might think that in the wake of this assassination attempt, Lars Hedegaard would get some respect – or at least solidarity – from the Danish media. But you could only think that if you were unaware of the aftermath of the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, whose bodies weren’t even cold when Dutch journalists set about smearing them even more enthusiastically than they had before, essentially blaming them for their own deaths. Many of Lars’s fellow Danes, to be sure, did rally round him after his close call. But in large part, the Danish media’s reaction was depressingly predictable. As I noted just last week, a couple of morally challenged employees of the newspaper Ekstra Bladet actually tried to follow a moving van to Lars’s new home, apparently so they could print the address; fortunately, the police foiled their effort.

Alas, that wasn’t the end of it. On Sunday, Deadline, a program on the state-owned TV channel DR2, aired a half-hour taped interview with Lars by reporter Martin Krasnik. Krasnik’s introduction, tacked onto the beginning of the show later, was not promising. In a manifest attempt to paint Lars as an extremist, Krasnik mentioned Lars’s hosting of Geert Wilders at the Free Press Society and Anders Behring Breivik’s citation of Lars in his “manifesto.”

Read more at Front Page

See also:

In Defence of Lars Hedegaard (counterjihadreport.com)

‘A Stew of Anti-Muslim Bile and Conspiracy-Laden Forecasts’

Picture-10-450x295 (1)By :

At 11:20 a.m. on Feb. 5, Lars Hedegaard answered his door bell to an apparent mailman. Instead of receiving a package, however, the 70-year-old Danish historian and journalist found himself face to face with a would-be assassin about one third his age. The assailant shot him once, narrowly missing his head. The gun locked, Hedegaard wrestled with him, and the young man fled.

Given Hedegaard’s criticism of Islam and his even being taken to court on criminal charges of “hate speech,” the attack reverberated in Denmark and beyond. The Associated Pressreported this incident, which was featured prominently in the British press, including the Guardian, the Daily Mail, and the Spectator, as well as in Canada’s National Post. The Wall Street Journal published an article by him about his experience.

When the New York Times belatedly bestirred itself on Feb. 28 to inform its readership about the assassination attempt, it did not so much report the event itself but an alleged Muslim support for Hedegaard to express himself. As implied by the title of Andrew Higgins’ article, “Danish Opponent of Islam Is Attacked, and Muslims Defend His Right to Speak,” he mainly celebrates Danish Islam: “Muslim groups in the country, which were often criticized during the cartoon furor for not speaking out against violence and even deliberately fanning the flames, raised their voices to condemn the attack on Mr. Hedegaard and support his right to express his views, no matter how odious [emphasis added].” This theme pervades the piece; for example, Karen Haekkerup, the minister of social affairs and integration, is quoted pleased that “the Muslim community is now active in the debate.”

(For a close dissection of this agitprop, see Diana West’s evisceration; and see Andrew Bostom’s analysis for a comparison of Higgins to Walter Duranty, the NYT reporter who whitewashed Stalin’s crimes.)

Secondarily Higgins delegitimizes Hedegaard, my topic here. In addition to the snarky “no matter how odious” reference, Higgins dismisses Hedegaard’s “opinions” as “a stew of anti-Muslim bile and conspiracy-laden forecasts of a coming civil war” and claims the Dane has “fanned wild conspiracy theories and sometimes veered into calumny.”

These characterizations of Hedegaard’s work are a vicious travesty. A few specifics:

1. What Higgins airily dismisses as Hedegaard’s “opinions” is in fact a substantial oeuvre in several academic books and articles laden with facts and references dealing with Islamic ideology, Muslim history, and Muslim immigration to Denmark. Those books include:

I krigens hus: Islams kolonisering af Vesten [In the House of War: Islam’s colonization of the West] (with Helle Merete Brix and Torben Hansen). Aarhus, Hovedland, 2003

1400 års krigen: Islams strategi, EU og frihedens endeligt [The 1400 Year War: Islam’s strategy, the EU and the demise of freedom] (with Mogens Camre). Odense, Trykkefrihedsselskabets Bibliotek, 2009

Muhammeds piger: Vold, mord og voldtægter i Islams Hus. [Muhammad’s girls: Violence, murder and rape in the House of Islam] Odense, Trykkefrihedsselskabets Bibliotek, 2011

Hedegaard’s major articles include:

“Den 11. september som historie” [September 11 as history] in Helle Merete Brix and Torben Hansen (eds.), Islam i Vesten: På Koranens vej? Copenhagen, Tiderne Skifter, 2002.

“The Growth of Islam in Denmark and the Future of Secularism” in Kurt Almqvist (ed.), The Secular State and Islam in Europe. Stockholm, Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation, 2007

“Free Speech: Its Benefits and Limitations” in Süheyla Kirca and LuEtt Hanson (eds.), Freedom and Prejudice: Approaches to Media and Culture. Istanbul, Bahcesehir University Press, 2008

“De cartoon-jihad en de opkomst van parallelle samenlevingen” [The cartoon jihad and the emergence of parallel societies] in Hans Jansen and Bert Snel (eds.), Eindstrijd: De finale clash tussen het liberale Westen en een traditionele islam. Amsterdam, Uitgiverij Van Praag, 2009

To the best of my knowledge, no one has claimed these writings contain sloppy scholarship or wrong references. As Hedegaard puts it, “I am a university-trained historian and take my craft seriously.” The real criticism of Hedegaard is not about his scholarship – but that he raises difficult and even unpleasant questions.

Read more at Front Page

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum.

In Defence of Lars Hedegaard

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For background on the assassination attempt see my previous post – Another Attempt to Murder Free Speech in Denmark

Chris Knowles of the International Civil Liberties Alliance:

The following is our response to an article on The Copenhagen Post website entitled Hedegaard lashes out following failed assassination attempt.

My organisation the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA) awarded Mr Hedegaard our Defender of Freedom Award last year in the European Parliament.

Unlike many newspapers, he is willing to stand up and speak truth to power.  Newspapers tend to no longer do their job of informing the public and challenging the powerful.  Instead they provide a skewed ideologically driven picture of the world.  Rather than report the facts they choose to demonise individuals like Mr Hedegaard and in doing so deliberately put them in danger.

Lars Hedegaard has shown willingness even to put his life on the line in the cause of freedom.  How many newspaper editors can say the same thing?

ICLA supports Mr Hedegaard’s call to remove the blasphemy clause.  Indeed we call for the abolition of all blasphemy laws worldwide.  This includes laws that are effectively blasphemy laws that are dressed in the clothes of secularism.  For instance the United Kingdom abolished its blasphemy law but incorporated similar restrictions in other laws.  It is the freedom to talk freely about all philosophies that needs to be protected by law.  Blasphemy laws stifle freedom of speech and prevent the progressive development of our society.

Lars, we salute your bravery and your continuing commitment to freedom.

Chris Knowles

International Civil Liberties Alliance

Lars Hedegaard speaks with Michael Coren about surviving an assassination attempt:

Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlqvist and the great Dane Lars Hedegaard of the Free Press Society join Michael Coren to discuss their new enterprise, Dispatch International:

Support Freedom of Speech

Subscribe to Dispatch International

Why Dispatch International?

The mainstream media has deteriorated to a point where it constitutes a threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The fourth estate was supposed to act as corrective to the legislative, judicial and administrative powers but has in fact become a part of the ruling elite. It no longer considers it its duty to criticise or expose.

One survey after another shows that the vast majority of Western journalists suffer from groupthink. They do not inform the public about what is happening in the real world but want to educate and mould the citizens to conform to their own preconceived ideas of what ought to be.

Vast swathes of reality are brushed under the carpet because the mainstream media considers them antithetical to the multiculturalist, cultural relativist, “green” and anti-Judean-Christian ideologies they strive to impose on the public.

This cannot be allowed to stand. The time has come to publish a real newspaper.

On 30 August we will issue a test issue of Dispatch International. It will appear as a print paper in Danish and Swedish with e-versions in Danish, Swedish, English and German.

More languages will be added as the need arises.

If the test issue is all well received as we antitipate, we will commence regular, weekly publication on Thursday, January 3, 2013.

In the meantime, click onto our website: http://www.Dispatch-International.com.

Chief editors are Ingrid Carlqvist, former news editor of the Swedish daily Kvällsposten, and Lars Hedegaard, former editor-in-chief of the Copenhagen daily Information. Ingrid is Chair of the Swedish Free Press Society and Lars of the Danish Free Press Society.

Together with Canadian free speech activist and board member of the Canadian Free Press Society Bjorn Larsen we have set up a company that is protected from any attempt at a hostile take-over.

We can neither be bought, nor will we be dependent on public subsidies or advertising income.

Dispatch International is your paper. We have no other purpose than to keep you informed of all the news that is fit to print – but rarely is.

Let us make this a success.

All best

Ingrid Carlqvist

Lars Hedegaard

Bjorn Larsen

Another Attempt to Murder Free Speech in Denmark

larsalainby Soeren Kern:

“I live in a government safe house. I wear a bulletproof jacket. I have not walked the streets … in more than seven years. [I am] imprisoned in my own country for the mere fact that I have spoken out against the enemies of the West.” — Geert Wilders, MP, Netherlands

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.

Hedegaard is the president of the Danish Free Press Society, a watchdog group that often warns that free speech is under threat from radical Islam. Hedegaard also co-edits a weekly online newspaper called Dispatch International, which covers stories in Danish, English and Swedish about a variety of topics, including content that is critical of radical Islam.

Hedegaard’s partner, Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlqvist, says the attack was a brazen attempt to silence a courageous free-speech warrior, one who has not been afraid to challenge official myths about the impact of multiculturalism and Muslim mass immigration on European society.

As if to prove Carlqvist’s point, Danish officialdom has uniformly linked the attack on Hedegaard with the exercise of free speech in the country.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a Social Democrat, said: “An attack on Lars Hedegaard is a heinous act which I condemn in the strongest terms. It is even worse if the attack is rooted in an attempt to prevent Lars Hedegaard to use his freedom of expression.”

Former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who leads the center-right Liberal Party, said the attack was a “cowardly and cruel act.” He added: “If this action is rooted in preventing Lars Hedegaard from using his freedom of speech, we are witnessing an attack on all Danes.”

The former leader of the conservative Danish People’s Party, Pia Kjærsgaard, who has long warned about the negative effects of multiculturalism and runaway immigration, said it is “un-Danish” if people cannot give their opinions without risking their lives. She added: “It is incomprehensible and shocking if the motive is political. If this is the case, it shows that it is dangerous to make use of our constitutional freedom of expression.

The leader of the left wing Socialist People’s Party, Annette Vilhelmsen, called the incident “totally unacceptable.” She said: “I probably do not agree with Lars Hedegaard on very much. But in Denmark we have freedom of speech. Political assassinations affect not just real people, they hit our democracy and our freedom of thinking.”

Hedegaard has been at the vanguard of a decade-long effort to fight back against restrictions to free speech in Europe, especially speech that is critical of Islam.

In April 2012, Hedegaard was acquitted by the Danish Supreme Court on charges of “hate speech” for comments he made about Islam.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.

For complete coverage of the attempted assassination of Lars Hedegaard go to Gates of Vienna and International Civil Liberties Alliance