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:

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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

Brussels Process Launched By The International Civil Liberties Alliance On 9 July 2012

ICLA press release:

9 July 2012, Brussels Belgium:   On 9 July, the International Civil Liberties Alliance presented an International Human Rights and Freedom of Speech Conference in the European Parliament in Brussels.  Over 100 people from numerous, countries, cultures, and backgrounds took part in this milestone event at which Lars Hedegaard of the Danish Free Press Society received the “Defender of Freedom” award.

The conference was organised in response to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s Istanbul Process, which seeks to institute a global blasphemy law that would ban freedom of expression under sharia doctrine worldwide. Many governments are actively aiding the Istanbul Process, rather than opposing it as they should to preserve the liberties of their citizens.  The European Union’s offer to host the next meeting of the OIC’s Istanbul Process shows that organization’s willingness to impose severe restrictions on traditional rights and freedoms of citizens within the European Union.   The principal purpose of the International Human Rights and Freedom of Speech Conference was to encourage an open and fact-based public debate on these issues, and to provide policy guidance for political leaders, especially those who themselves are raising the alarm over the OIC’s totalitarian sharia doctrines against free expression, civil liberties, women’s rights, homosexual rights and religious freedom.

The highlight of the conference was the formal presentation of the Defender of Freedom Award by Canadian author Mark Steyn  to Lars Hedegaard, founder of the Danish Free Press Society (Trykkefrihedsselskabet) and the International Free Press Society.

The principal outcome of ICLA’s 9 July Conference in the European Parliament was the “Brussels Declaration to Safeguard Individual Liberties and Human Rights.”  That Declaration describes and launches a systematic ‘Brussels Process,’ designed to stimulate public debate on the conflict between sharia and liberty; to provide a counterweight to the efforts of the OIC to impose blasphemy laws in Europe and other countries; to re-establish standards of good governance and reasonable foreign relations based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights and national constitutions; and to reject the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam as a basis for any discussions on human rights and civil liberties. Working Groups for the Brussels Process were organized to develop legislative initiatives and briefings for policymakers and the media, in order to work to implement the Brussels Process as a moderate and prudent approach to protect free expression and human rights.  The Brussels Declaration was developed with ongoing consultation with legislators in several countries.

The Conference was attended by participants from eighteen countries including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, UK, and the USA.

The International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA) is a human rights organisation dedicated, in the spirit of classical liberalism, to protecting democracy, freedom and individual liberties from religious and political doctrines that oppose those rights and liberties.   ICLA does so through its voluntary members’ work to endorse, coordinate and promote educational and advocacy campaigns, legislative initiatives and changes in  policies of governments and civil society.

More information can be found at: http://www.libertiesalliance.org/brusselsconference/