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Will Conservative Media Elites Defend Lars Hedegaard?

It is long past time for our media figures to pay attention to the "hate speech" prosecutions of our brethren in Denmark.

by
Andrew G. Bostom

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January 10, 2011 - 8:15 am
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The January 7 IFPS statement concluded with this clarion warning, and appeal, which all U.S. media conservative elites should heed. Simply put, unabashedly supporting Lars Hedegaard is required to defend our most fundamental Western freedom — freedom of speech:

We fear that the public prosecutor intends to stifle open debate on Islam and Muslim culture. And we fear that he is doing so with the tacit approval of the governing parties, which first signaled their intention to remove the racism clause from the penal code but have recently recanted.

If the authorities succeed in silencing such critics as Jesper Langballe and Lars Hedegaard, who will dare speak out?

We must put a stop to these attempts to undermine free speech if we wish to preserve Denmark as a free country. And where Denmark — that former beacon of free speech — goes, the rest of the West may follow.

What follows is my own response to the IFPS appeal on behalf of Lars Hedegaard—a potential guide for Islamically perplexed U.S. conservative media elites:

The prosecution of Lars Hedegaard is a doubly obscene violation of the very foundations of Western freedom and the rule of law. By apparent illegal design, it a priori deliberately ignores the factual content of Mr. Hedegaard’s presentation — critical to his defense –while championing, exclusively, mendacious, bowdlerized portrayals of living Islamic doctrines — rooted in the Sharia, or Islamic “law” — and their historical consequences, past as prologue to the present.

Denying Mr. Hedegaard’s fundamental Western right to a full rational, evidence-based self-defense — including a critical examination of Islam — is nothing less than a complete capitulation to Islamic blasphemy law. The independent existence of objective universal truths is not acknowledged by normative Islamic doctrine. Thus, antithetical to Western conceptions, Islamic religio-political doctrine does not recognize individual liberties, even as an abstraction.


Is this now Denmark’s “standard” as well?

Notwithstanding Denmark’s denial of Mr. Hedegaard’s right to a fair defense, a collective wealth of unambiguous evidence — readily available — reveals the breathtaking shallowness and intellectual dishonesty of this prosecution: objective, erudite analyses of the Sharia by leading Western scholars of Islam; the acknowledgment of Sharia’s global “resurgence,” even by postmodern, “anti-colonial” (i.e., against Western colonialism, not Islamic jihad colonialism!) academic apologists for Islam, combined with an abundance of recent polling data from Muslim nations, and Muslim immigrant communities in the West confirming the ongoing, widespread adherence to the Sharia’s tenets; the plaintive warnings and admonitions of contemporary Muslim intellectuals — freethinkers and believers alike — about the incompatibility of Sharia with modern, Western-derived conceptions of universal human rights; and the overt promulgation of traditional, Sharia-based Muslim legal systems as an integrated whole (i.e., extending well beyond mere “family law aspects” of the Sharia), by authoritative, mainstream international, European, and North American Islamic religio-political organizations.

Finally, has Denmark voluntarily abandoned modern human rights ideals — a unique product of centuries of the West’s agonizing, self-critical struggles — and retrogressed to the era of Beaumarchais’ Marriage of Figaro, written at the close of the 18th century? The text included this freedom of speech monologue in Act V, Scene 3:

I cobble together a verse comedy about the customs of the harem, assuming that, as a Spanish writer, I can say what I like about Mohammed without drawing hostile fire. Next thing, some envoy from God knows where turns up and complains that in my play I have offended the Ottoman empire, Persia, a large slice of the Indian peninsula, the whole of Egypt, and the kingdoms of Barca [Ethiopia], Tripoli, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. And so my play sinks without trace, all to placate a bunch of Muslim princes, not one of whom, as far as I know, can read but who beat the living daylights out of us and say we are “Christian dogs.” Since they can’t stop a man thinking, they take it out on his hide instead.

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Andrew Bostom (http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/) is the author of The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims (2005/2008) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History (2008).
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