Op-Ed: Free Speech Has Died in Europe
Prof. Phyllis CheslerThe writer, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum and recipient...
On January 24, 2011, the distinguished Lars Hedegaard, the President of the Danish Free Press Society and the International Free Press Society, will stand trial for telling the truth about Islamic gender apartheid.
Europe, once the birthplace of freedom, is fast becoming its graveyard.
True, the Church tortured and burned many geniuses as heretics; Dutch Jews excommunicated Spinoza; wars for religious supremacy raged for hundreds of years. Still, concepts such as free speech and individual human rights over and above the divine rights of Kings gradually ruled the European zeitgeist. Americans and other former colonists romanticized Europe as “the” place for artists, free thinkers, and free spirits.
Despite fairly rigid class systems, and the continued existence of symbolic (but well paid) monarchies, European countries are known for providing educational, social, and health care services for all—a reality which, given immigration, and native concepts of a short work week followed by an early, long retirement, may potentially bankrupt them all.
Nevertheless, Europe has been in the forefront of both free speech and libertinism. For example, Denmark legalized gay marriage in 1989; Holland and Germany followed suit in 2001. In 1999, Denmark decided that prostitutes could ply their trade as individuals, but outlawed both pimps and brothels. In 2000, Holland legalized brothels. From 1999 on, buying—but not selling sex—has been illegal in Sweden. In 2009, Norway and Iceland passed similar legislation. Austria, a decadent country, led the pack; since 1986, prostituted Austrian women have been obliged to pay taxes on their income.
One often assumes that freedom of thought and speech must co-exist with such misogynist libertinism. One would be wrong. In 2004, in Holland, journalist and filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was butchered and Ayaan Hirsi Ali was sent into hiding and then exile; in 2009, politician Geert Wilders was also put on trial for trying to tell the truth about Islamic gender and religious apartheid and jihad. Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff is currently on trial in Austria for talking off the record to a journalist about her own experiences while living in the Islamic world.
Please note: Islamists did not launch their legal prosecution. Their own countrymen, in the language of “political correctness” and in the guise of opposing “hate speech” did so.
In 2010, the American author, Bruce Bawer and his Norwegian colleagues were accused of “racism” and “Islamophobia” by Norwegian leftists and Islamists who tried to have their excellent online website Human Rights Service defunded. This site publishes work about Islam and women’s rights. One leftist minister actually reported them to the United Nations for “Islamophobia.” Hege Storhaug and Rita Karlsen, who run the website, have just informed me that they do not believe this minister will succeed in having them declared “racists” or in de-funding their work.
And now, free speech is under full-scale attack in Denmark.
The Danes have, perhaps, been traumatized by what happened in 2005, when Islamists slipped three more offensive cartoons into Kurt Westergaard’s Danish cartoon mix, and then used their own cartoons to justify riots against Westergaard and other infidels. Global publishers became frightened and refused to reprint the less offensive cartoons. Even Yale University Press, which published a book about the cartoons, pulled the actual cartoons from their edition, without telling the author.
To this day, more than six years later, Westergaard still lives in hiding with an armed guard. In 2010, Lars Wilks, the Swedish artist, was nearly murdered by a would-be Muslim assassin.
And now we have the Danish criminal prosecution of two Danish heroes: Lars Hedegaard and Jesper Langballe, a member of the Danish Parliament. Both men are accused of committing “hate speech.” What speech did Langballe utter?
He exposed honor killings among Muslims and was actually convicted for doing so.
According to Ahmed Mohamud, the Vice President of The Danish Free Press Society, and Katrine Winkel Holm, Chief Editor of Sappho, the Society’s magazine.
In the past year, the Danish public prosecutor has been waging a lawfare offensive against outspoken critics of Islam and Muslim practices. On December 3, 2010, Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe was convicted of ‘hate speech’ – or as the judge in the lower court of Randers put it: ‘racial discrimination’ – for having called attention to honour killings in Muslim families.
And what exactly is Lars Hedegaard’s crime?
His crime has been to point to the great number of family rapes in areas dominated by Muslim culture. This well documented fact has brought him an indictment under the Danish penal code’s ‘racism’ clause…
According to Mohamud and Winkel Holm, both MP Langballe and Lars Hedegaard have long ago “emphasised that they did not intend to accuse all Muslims or even the majority of Muslims of such crimes. This has made no impression on the public prosecutor. 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 signalled their intention to remove the racism clause from the penal code but have recently recanted.”
If the government succeeds in silencing Langballe and Hedegaard, who will have the courage to continue to speak out?
If free speech and truth speech become criminal offenses in Denmark, what will happen to freedom in other European countries? Such state censorship and criminal prosecution characterize nearly every Muslim country. Now Europe is rapidly becoming the very country—“Eurabia”—first predicted by Bat Ye’or in 2005. From the British Isles to the south of Italy, from France to Scandinavia, more and more Muslim women (including European converts) are wearing face veils and burqas, marrying their first cousins or polygamous men in arranged marriages, remaining at home as domestic servants, having triple or even quadruple the number of children that their non-Muslim counterparts have. Most happily live on the European dole.
Muslim girls and women are being savagely honor murdered in Europe if they dare resist this larger Islamist goal of colonizing Europe. Thus far, America and Israel may be the last countries standing against just such Arabization and fundamentalist Islamification.
I have published academic studies about honor killings and have written many articles about individual cases. I testify in court cases for potential Muslim honor killing victims who are seeking asylum in America. Will I, too, someday be tried as a “racist”? Will such asylum seekers be tried as criminals for exposing the horrendous violence that they have escaped in the hope that the West will be a sanctuary for them?
Can what is happening in Denmark, Holland, and Austria ever happen in America?
I strongly urge the Danish prosecutors to set aside Jesper Langballe’s conviction and to drop all charges against him and against my colleague Lars Hedegaard. If they fail to do so, they are personally responsible for sending their country and culture back to the Middle Ages, Islamist style.