Geert Wilders made mention of his colleague, Lars Hedegaard in his talk in Melbourne last evening. Here, Melanie Phillips discusses the significance of what has happened.
If anyone still doubts that European culture is suffering from a terminal sickness, and that the poison in its bloodstream is oozing out foully to pollute the atmosphere as it steadily disintegrates, what has happened to Lars Hedegaard stands as a graphic corrective.
Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society and The International Free Press Society, is the nearest thing to a quintessential European liberal. He is a heroic icon of the fight against tyranny. He believes in freedom of expression, life and liberty. He not only detests those who threaten to destroy those things, but has been prepared to stand up and be counted in the fight to defend them.
As such, he was reported speaking in his own home about child abuse and violence against women in Muslim culture. The day after these remarks were published, he stressed that his opinions were not intended to refer to all Muslims.
What then happened to him was the kind of nightmare associated with totalitarian regimes, and which I wrote about in 2011 here and here. He was put on trial in Denmark accused of hate speech and racism. He was unable to mount a defence, because under the Orwellian rules of the Danish legal system he was in effect convicted before his trial even took place. After a roller-coaster of a case in which verdicts went first one way and then the other, the Danish Supreme Court finally ruled that he was not guilty after all of hate speech and racism.
That, however, was not the end of the trials of Lars Hedegaard. Some two weeks ago, he answered his front door to a man in his twenties posing as a postman who fired a gun at his head and missed. Douglas Murray reported that 70-year old Hedegaard punched him in the head; the man dropped the gun, picked it up and fired again. The gun then jammed and the man ran off. According to Hedegaard, he looked like a ‘typical Muslim immigrant’. Hedegaard has had to leave his home for an undisclosed location under police protection.
The attempted murder of Lars Hedegaard for speaking out against Islamist violence has received virtually no public attention – except in Sweden. As reported here, several Swedish newspapers published wicked distortions about him in order to portray him entirely falsely as an acknowledged racist.
Hedegaard’s Free Press Society campaigns for the rights of journalists and cartoonists to express themselves without fear of being murdered. Now an attempt has been made to murder Hedegaard himself, after he was dragged through the courts in an attempt to stifle his warnings about Islamic violence by labelling these protests ‘hate crime’.
Yet far from the uproar one might expect in any sane and decent society following these attempts to destroy both the reputation and the life of a man who fights for freedom from tyranny, Hedegaard finds himself now victimised three times over – by the Danish judicial system, a fanatical would-be assassin and a European liberal class for whom fighting Muslim extremism and violence constitutes ‘Islamophobia’ and must be stopped.
The message from this most chilling tale of our times is that in Sweden and other western ‘progressive’ circles, anyone who protests at the phenomenon of ‘honour violence’ that terrorises Muslim women and children is a racist; and if a supposed Islamic fanatic tries to murder that protester, well, that just proves what a racist the protester is.
Stalin would have approved.