Mark Steyn: Last Laughs in Europe

Under a giant portrait of Mohammed, Mark speaks to a capacity crowd at the Landsting Hall at the Danish Parliament. We doubt either the US Congress or the UK Parliament would have hosted such an event.

Under a giant portrait of Mohammed, Mark speaks to a capacity crowd at the Landsting Hall at the Danish Parliament. We doubt either the US Congress or the UK Parliament would have hosted such an event.

by Mark Steyn
Steyn on Europe
September 28, 2015

Reader Artie Bleppo complains, in all-caps, about the priorities of my week in review:


So what? His speeches were fatuous and evasive pabulum, and already forgotten. I am not a Catholic but I understand that, unlike the position of Archbishop of Canterbury, where total contempt from the congregants more or less comes with the job, the Bishop of Rome is generally held in some respect by his church. So last week, out of deference to Catholic readers’ sensibilities, I confined myself to an aside:

Best to talk about the dangers of “climate change”, as the Pope is doing this week, even as in the heart of Christendom the post-Christian future is showing up at the express check-in.

As the years go by, I like to write about what matters. And in this last seven days, the Mohammed cartoons and the “refugee” tide now engulfing Europe both matter more than “POPE CAME TO THE USA”. His Holiness in fact has chosen not to matter, even as European politicians take decisions that will guarantee “Christendom” will be non-Christian. There is something shallow and decadent about a pontiff who prioritizes “climate change” even as every last Christian is driven from the Archeparchy of Mosul. What will they say of such a pope? That he fiddled with the thermostat while Rome burned?

And let’s not even mention his appalling response to the Charlie Hebdo slaughter. So I wrote nothing about his remarks to Congress – just as he wrote nothing about my remarks in the Danish Parliament. So we’re quits.

~Speaking of which, we were a merry band, all things considered, at Christiansborg Castle. I thank my friend Katrine Winkel Holm, of the Danish Free Press Society, and her delightful sister, Marie Krarup, defense spokeslady for the Danish People’s Party, for arranging to host us behind the fortress-like walls of Parliament – so nobody could bust in and shoot us, as they did at a similar free-speech event in February. I was heartened to meet fellow free-speechers who had traveled from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Britain and even Canada. My fellow panelists included Henryk Broder, author of The Last Days of Europe; Vebjørn Selbekk, whom the quislings of Norway’s government treated disgracefully for publishing the cartoons; and Douglas Murray, who’s already written up the event in The Spectator:

My main message for the audience was to keep in mind that freedom has never been particularly popular. Most people prefer their security and comforts to freedom and although history shows that although everyone benefits from being free, it has always been a small minority who actually pursue and protect the cause. I suppose one has to wrestle whatever comfort one can from that. It was a terrible thing to see the security now needed in Denmark, as elsewhere, for people who are simply asserting their right to write and draw what they want, even – shock horror – things that might be mildly critical of the founder of one religion. That a journalist or historian should need bodyguards in 21st century in an indictment on our continent. But still, surveying the room on Saturday I think we’ve got enough people. A few Danes, a few Swedes and Norwegians. A few Americans and a couple of Brits might be all that is needed. Perhaps by the 15th anniversary things will be better.

Perhaps. On Europe’s present course, though, the security we’ll need in 2020 doesn’t bear thinking about. But I’ll be there.

~A transcript of Vebjørn Selbekk’s powerful speech can be found here:

We had interviewed leading Norwegian cartoonists. One of them was Finn Graaf. He is maybe the hardest hitting cartoonist in the history of the Norwegian press. One of his specialities is drawing Israeli prime ministers as Holocaust camp guards. He has done that with almost every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin in the late Seventies.

But Mister Graff told us that he would never draw the prophet Mohammad. Not because he had more respect towards the Muslim faith than other religions or ideologies. No, he bluntly put it this way in the interview:

‘I have to draw the line somewhere. I do not want to get my throat cut. Therefore I will refrain from drawing Muhammad.’

One-way “hard-hitting” isn’t really hard-hitting at all, is it? As I said ten years ago, it’s the easiest thing in the world to be tediously provocative with those who refuse to be provoked.

~My own remarks came last, and can be heard below. I’ll post the other speeches, as we get them. But click below to listen:

The Free Speech Society has a report here:

Steyn gjorde gældende, at problemet er de vestlige samfunds mangel på selvtillid. Vi tror ikke længere på os selv og vores grundlæggende værdier. Vi er villige til at give køb på dem. Terrorismens mål er at kapre debatten og terrorisere os til at undlade visse emner. Og den har succes med det, anførte Steyn.

Which comes out as:

Steyn claimed that the problem is the western world’s lack of self-confidence. We no longer believe in ourselves and our basic values. We are willing to trade them away. Terrorism’s goal is to hijack the debate and terrorize us to steer clear of certain subjects. And it’s had great success with it, argued Steyn.

This Swedish report concludes thus:

Därefter slutade konferensen. Några av deltagarna fick splittra upp sig eftersom den förhandsbokade restaurangen blivit rädda för att befatta sig med TFS och de inresta föreläsarna.

Which translates to something like:

After that the conference ended. Some of the participants had to split up because the pre-booked restaurant became afraid to deal with the Free Speech Society and the speakers they’d invited.

That’s true. They did. We were escorted by officers from the PET, the Danish Security Service. But the minute the restaurant discovered that, the management – some joint called Fiat – canceled. Compared to what happened to Charlie Hebdo, that’s a small price to pay, but it is still a price, and a telling one. Those who defend freedom for all wind up with less than anybody: airlines that won’t fly them, theatres that won’t book them, and even crappy Italian restaurants that won’t serve ’em a few pasta shells at the end of a hard day defending liberty.

One more quote from our Swedish correspondent:

Mark Steyn lovade dock från talarstolen att nästa gång så ska han tala på Det Konglige Teater som en fri människa inför fria människor och inte bakom låsta dörrar med säkerhetskontroller och vakter på det danska riksdagshuset.

Which translates as me getting a bit carried away:

Mark Steyn, however, promised from the podium that next time he’ll speak at the Royal Theatre as a free man before free people, and not behind locked doors with security checks and guards from the Danish Parliament.

We’ll see how that works out.

~Nobody needs the Pope to hitch up his robes and be the last world leader to jump on the climate bandwagon. But it might be helpful for him to take the lead in saving the heart of Christendom. Indeed, some might think it’s part of the job description, no?

Watch Wilders’ Speech in Copenhagen on the 10th Anniversary of Theo Van Gogh’s Assassination

NER, By Jerry Gordon, Nov. 2, 2014:

Today is the 10th Anniversary of the assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh  by an Islamikaze Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch Moroccan citizen, on the streets of Amsterdam. Van Gogh’s assassin, Bouyeri is held up as a “hero” by Dutch Muslims. Yesterday, we posted on how this day, a decade ago, changed the life of the  leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) the Hon. Geert Wilders and his family. Today marked the  day when, as a reaction to Van Gogh’s murder, Wilders was placed under 24/7 protection by the Royal Dutch Protective Service. That protection continues reflecting the death theats against Wilder’s life.That hasn’t deterred Wilders from becoming a vigorous critic of  political Islam and defender of the right to criticize a religion. A religion whose doctrine motivated Bouyeri to kill Van Gogh for his short film, Submission, about abuse and denial women’s rights under Islam.

NLTimes reported how Van Gogh’s death was commemorated today, The Netherlands marks Theo van Gogh’s  murder: 

The anniversary of Van Gogh’s death today will be marked with tributes. At 2.00pm a minute’s silence will be observed at Linnaeusstraat in Amsterdam where Van Gogh was killed. In Oosterpark the Willehalm Foundation organizes a commemoration at the Theo van Gogh monument De Schreeuw (The Scream). Robert Jan Kelder, the director of the Foundation Willehalm Instituut will hold a lecture entitled ‘Why Theo van Gogh was sacrificed.” The commemoration is an initiative of several organizations,  including the Friends of Pim Fortuyn Foundation.

Tonight TV Station RTL4 is broadcasting an interview with Lieuwe van Gogh, Theo’s son, about how his father’s murder affected him. NPO 2 is showing the political thriller “2/11 The Game of the Wolf” which chronicles the period after Van Gogh’s murder. The screenplay for this movie was written by Van Gogh’s friends Theodor Holman and Gijs van de Westelaken.

Wilders spoke about the impact of Van Gogh in a speech before the Danish Free Speech Society in Copenhagen  sponsored by Lars Hedegaard. Hedegaard is an embattled free speech advocate who fought off a would be assassin in an attempt on his life in February 2013. An assassin who was released on October 22, 2014 by Turkish authorities following a judical appeal after his arrest in April 2014.

Watch Wilders’ speech and discussion at the Danish Free Press Society dellivered at the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen, November 2, 2014. Note the comments and debates with Daniel Pipes, Wilders, Hedegaard on the question of  whether Islam can change following the speech.  You determine who won the debate.


Hon. Geert Wilders leader of the Dutch freedom Party (PVV)

Hon. Geert Wilders leader of the Dutch freedom Party (PVV)

Here is the text of Wilders’ speech at the Danish Parliment:

Dear friends,

I am happy to be in Copenhagen again.

It is always a pleasure to return to this wonderful city – the home of my good friend and fellow freedom fighter, the Danish hero Lars Hedegaard.

It is always a privilege to be in the capital of the brave Danish people.

And it is always an honor to be a guest of your great organization.

The Danish Free Press Society is a beacon of light. For Denmark, for Scandinavia, for the whole of Europe, and for the entire West. Your staunch defense of civil liberties, such as freedom of speech, serves as an inspiration for many, including myself and my party.

On a moment like this, when the free world is in mortal danger, an organization such as the Danish Free Press Society is needed more than ever.

Exactly ten years ago, today, my fellow countryman Van Gogh fell as a martyr of free speech.

I remember that morning very well. The press came to my office to ask for a reaction, but hardly anyone could believe that what had happened was really true. We all realized that the Netherlands would never be the same again. Unfortunately few lessons have been learned since that horrible day in 2004.

Islam claims that Muhammad was a prophet. But Muhammad was not a prophet; Theo van Gogh was a prophet.

Van Gogh saw what was coming. He spoke out forcefully against the danger of Islamization.

He had also just made a short movie, together with my then colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali, about the plight of women in Islamic society. The movie was called “Submission.”

That is why he was murdered. His assassination should have been an alarm bell.

Van Gogh warned us in  strong language, as clear as the colors that his great-granduncle Vincent used when painting his landscapes.

He was a brave man. When he realized the danger of Islam, he did not run like a coward.

He would have hated to see how our freedom of speech has been restricted in the ten years since his death.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, the more Islam we get, the less free our societies become. Not only because of the islamization but also because of the weak appeasers who call themselves politicians.

We are no longer allowed to crack jokes or draw cartoons if Islam feels insulted by it.

If you do so, your life is in danger, as Kurt Westergaard and Lars Vilks can testify. You might even get arrested, as happened a few years ago with the Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot.

Sure, the charges against Nekschot were later dropped. But if you value your life and if you prefer to avoid trouble, it is better not to do anything that might remotely insult Islam.

We are no longer allowed to tell statistical truths, as Lars Hedegaard experienced, when he referred to rape figures in Islamic families.

A murderer came to Lars’s door and the state authorities persecuted him for so-called hate speech. Sure, the Supreme Court eventually acquitted Lars. But if you value your life and if you prefer to avoid trouble, it is better to keep quiet.

We are no longer allowed to refer to scientific and historical research, as my friend, the brave Austrian human rights activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, experienced.

In a seminar on the historical figure of Muhammad, she mentioned that he had a crush on little girls and had sex with a 9-year old. That is the truth.

But Elisabeth was convicted, and her conviction was even upheld by the Appeals court. Once again, it is better to remain silent if you want to avoid trouble.

But Theo van Gogh did not remain silent. And neither did Kurt and Lars and Elisabeth and Robert and the Danish Free Press Society, and my party, the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, and so many other freedom fighters in the West.

We speak out. We will never be silent. Because we love our country. Because we love our freedom. Because we refuse to live in slavery.

Because we believe that without liberty, life is not worth living.

Liberty and human dignity, that is what we stand for.

We are the torchbearers for freedom. We are the torchbearers for democracy.

We are the torchbearers for a civilization that is far superior than any other civilization on earth.

Last Summer, my home town, The Hague, witnessed scenes which brought back memories of the darkest period in our history, the Nazi era.

Sympathizers of the Islamic State paraded in our streets. They carried swastikas, they carried the black flags of ISIS. They shouted “Death to the Jews.”

Instead of rounding up these hatemongers, the authorities did nothing.

When we warn against Islam, the authorities call it hate speech and bring us to court. But when the grim forces of hatred march down our streets, the police look on and do not interfere. It is a disgrace. It is a scandal. It is intolerable.

Islam is waging a war against the free West.

Indeed, we are at war. Only fools can deny it. Islam has declared war on us.

America and its allies are currently bombing the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.


My party supports this offensive. I am glad that Dutch and Danish F16s participate in it and that our two nations stand shoulder to shoulder in this endeavor. We should liquidate Abu Bakr Al-Bagdadi and the other criminals who are leading the Islamic State.

But we have to do more than that.

Far more important than fighting Islamic State abroad, is the fight to preserve our own security in our own countries, in the Netherlands, in Denmark, in all the other European and Western countries. It is our homes that we must defend.

It is just to bomb the Islamic State in the Middle East. But our first priority must be to protect our own nations, our own freedoms, our own people, our own children, here, at home

Recently, the Dutch authorities prevented some forty jihadis from leaving  our country, when they attempted to go to Syria to fight in the ranks of ISIS. Their passports were seized and they were sent home instead of jailed. These criminals now walk our streets and make them unsafe.

You may have heard that the jihadis who recently murdered soldiers in Canada were also people whom the authorities had previously prevented from leaving Syria and who were not arrested but allowed to go free on the street.

Blocking the exodus of those who want to wage Jihad elsewhere and not detain them is sheer stupidity.

Keeping them here as free people means that they will hit us here.

We must hasten their exit instead of preventing it. But we must never allow them to return. Therefore, we must reinstate national border controls.

Nothing is more important than first to protect our own countries from the Jihadis.

Let us restore our liberties, such as freedom of speech.

Let us defend our culture. Let us protect our people.

Let us make our nations free and safe again.

Let us be brave.

That is what we must do; that is our duty.

Let me ask you: Do our authorities actually do this?

Unfortunately not.

They fail to do their duty.

They fail to act accordingly.

They even lie to us. Everyday, we hear Western leaders repeat the sickening mantra that Islam is a religion of peace.

Whenever an atrocity is committed in the name of Islam, whenever someone is beheaded in Syria or Iraq, Barack Obama, David Cameron, my own Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and many of their colleagues rush to the television cameras to tell the world that it has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam. How stupid can you be?

Fortunately, the eyes of ever more people are opening to this reality.

In my country, a poll last June, showed that 65% of the Dutch are convinced that the Islamic culture does not belong in the Netherlands.

In France, 74% find Islam incompatible with French society.

In Britain, fewer than one in four think that following Islam is compatible with a British way of life. In Germany, over two thirds of the population think negatively about Islam.

Even in the Czech Republic, a country with hardly any Islamic population, almost two-thirds consider Islam a threat to society and 90% are afraid of it. And in Denmark 92% of your citizens believe Muslim immigrants should adopt Danish customs.

With every new terrorist crime, with every new attack, with every new beheading, it becomes clear to ever more people what the true nature of Islam is.

With every Islamic assault on our values, more and more people realize that Islam wants to conquer the world, that it is prepared to kill or enslave anyone who refuses to submit. And that it is ready to commit the biggest atrocities to achieve this goal.

My friends, we are gathered here today, because we are neither prepared to collaborate with evil, nor to appease it.

We say No to Islamic censorship. And No to the politicians who fail us.

During the past ten years, I have been living under constant police protection.

As you know, I am not the only one who has to live through this ordeal. Several people in this room are in the same situation. Our friends Lars and Kurt even came to stand eye to eye with fanatics who tried to slaughter them.

Of course – I repeat it wherever I go – of course, there are many moderate Muslims. I believe in moderate people, but I do not believe in a moderate Islam. There is only one Islam – the Islam of the Koran, the Hadith and the life of Muhammad, who was a terrorist and a warlord.

But even though there are many moderate Muslims, it is wrong to think that the moderates are a majority. They are not. A poll in the Netherlands gave shocking results. It is hard to believe, but almost three quarters of the Muslims in my country say that Dutch Muslims who go and fight in Syria are heroes. Can you believe it? Heroes!

And over two thirds of the Islamic population in the Netherlands consider the religious rules of Islam to be more important than our own democratic laws.

Equally terrifying was an article yesterday in the Dutch press stating that Mohammed Bouyeri, the murderer of Theo van Gogh, is still considered a hero today by hundreds of Dutch Muslims.

A few years ago, I called on Muslims to liberate themselves from the yoke of Islam, to choose for freedom. I wholeheartedly support Muslims who love freedom. So, I told them “Free yourselves. Leave Islam.” I still stand by this appeal. But this does not blind me to the present reality.

You may have heard that I will probably be brought to court again soon.

Three years ago, I was taken to court on hate crime charges. The court case lasted almost two years. Fortunately, I was acquitted.

But now, the Dutch judiciary is going after me again because I asked Dutch voters whether they want more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.

Moroccans are the largest Islamic population group in the Netherlands. In The Netherlands the Moroccan problem is the problem of Islam.

I referred to Moroccans, not because I have anything against Moroccans but because they are overrepresented in Dutch crime and welfare statistics. They also account for three quarters of all Dutch Muslims who leave for Syria to wage jihad. No-one in the Netherlands wants more Moroccans.

As I said, our leaders still refuse to defend our freedoms because they are either cowards or appeasers. This is why the task of defending freedom has now fallen on us. On you, on me, on ordinary citizens.

To this end, I have established the International Freedom Alliance (IFA).

We want IFA to be the shield  for all those who refuse to submit to Islamic tyranny.

The mission of IFA is to stop the Islamization of non-Islamic countries and to fight for the preservation of our freedom and democracy.

We want to stand firm. We want to preserve our civilization for our children and grandchildren. Because there is nothing more precious than liberty and freedom. But it has a price. And the price can be high. Sometimes a man must give all he can.

Our political leaders may fail us. But we, my friends, we will not fail.

There is a path we shall never choose, and that is the path of submission.

This is why we say: Yes to freedom! No to tyranny!

IFA aims to be a network of resistance fighters in all the countries threatened by Islam.

Friends,  I have good news from the Netherlands.

Today, the popularity of my party, the Party for Freedom, is at a high. An opinion poll published this morning shows that we have by far become the largest party in the Netherlands, with almost 20 per cent of the vote. 1 out of 5 Dutchmen would vote for the PVV today.

The policies that we stand for are also getting more popular than ever.

We want to stop all immigration from Islamic countries.

We want to stimulate voluntary re-emigration to Islamic countries.

We want to expel all criminals with dual citizenship and deprive them of their Dutch nationality.

We want to de-Islamize our nation.

Dear Friends, there is a lot of work to do. We, the defenders of freedom and security, have an historic duty.

Our generation has been entrusted with a huge task: To oppose Islam and keep the flame of liberty burning.

I say it without exaggeration: the future of human civilization depends on us. Now is a time when everyone in the West must do their duty. We are writing history here.

So, let us do our duty.

Let us stand with a happy heart and a strong spirit.

Let us go forth with courage and save freedom!

Thank you.

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