With free speech under attack, our civilization’s survival is at stake.
By Alyssa A. Lappen
Pajamas Media | Jan. 18, 2011
Defending the rights to free speech of editor, columnist and Danish and International Free Press Society president Lars Hedegaard — especially the right to criticize orthodox Islam as freely as one may Christianity or Judaism — now equals defending the right of Western civilization to survive. 1 Barring an effective international outcry — or a rare fever of Sudden Enlightenment Syndrome one morning soon awakening Denmark’s Public Prosecutor with common sense — Hedegaard will face trial on Danish racism charges and conviction alike on Jan. 24, 2011: 2 a veritable auto da fe.
In Dec. 2009, Hedegaard remarked in a taped interview upon certain domestic violence peculiar to Muslim families (“they” rape their own children). He was then charged as a common criminal. 3
In 1969, Denmark’s proud history of supporting freedom, whatever the cost, enticed me to live for a summer with a family of potters in Grena, Jutland. In the 1940s, Denmark saved virtually its entire Jewish population from a regime whose totalitarianism many Islamic leaders now hope to best. Since then, Denmark may have gone rotten. The state apparently deems it far less criminal for groups driven by ideological or religious belief to behave criminally, than for anyone to publicly observe their heinous deeds. All the more, as (in this case) said criminal behavior would in other situations scandalize civilized people. Should a modern Danish coven of warlocks and witches regularly rape and roast their teenage daughters, doubtless the public prosecutor would charge no one for saying as much.
Alas, Hedegaard challenges modern Danish liberalism too, as he did in a Jan. 2009 interview with me. 4
Denmarks’ Public Prosecutor charged Hedegaard with racism for allegedly violating article 266 b of its penal code, (aka “racism clause”). This allows a prosecutor to infer criminal offense in any statement that he believes threatens, demeans or ridicules anyone based on race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, religious faith or sexual orientation. In other words, the law gives the prosecutor endless latitude to levy criminal charges over a wide range of easily misconstrued statements by or about — well, almost anyone.5 This absurdity of law in effect lets Denmark’s public prosecutor lavish his taxpayer-funded time on perusing news and other taped records of public figures for factual statements on Islam or predominantly Muslim behaviors; and that is how he seems to cast his own prejudiced net.
In North America, free speech is presumed a fundamental right cemented into the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — namely the first article in the Bill of Rights that Congress passed, the states ratified and U.S. law adopted on Dec. 15, 1791. It naturally includes the right to criticize almost anything, short of treason, charges for which the U.S. has not prosecuted in a very long while. Moreover, foreigners can no longer easily rebuke Americans via foreign lawsuits for taking full advantage of that enshrined U.S. freedom. 6
But in the early 1960s, orthodox Islamic believers calling themselves the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan, in Arabic) initiated global efforts to destroy the West and its values, free speech foremost among them. By their thinking, God alone can make laws, not man — the only just laws therefore being Islamic (sharia). All others, especially secular Western laws, must go, particularly those allowing what Islamic law considers blasphemy and a capitol offense — any criticism of Islam or Mohammed.
In 1982 and again in 1991, the Brothers set to paper their long-held plans to decimate Western societies and impose global Islamic law. They declared war on basic human rights — evolved from Judeao-Christian traditions codified in King Henry I’s 1100 C.E. Charter of Liberties, 7and expanded into various forms of due process 8 via Britain’s 1215 Magna Carta, 9 King Edward I’s 1305 writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, 10 New York’s 1683 Charter of Liberties and Privileges, 11 William Penn’s 1701 Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges, 12 the U.S. 1791 Bill of Rights, article Â§ 77 of the Danish Constitution (letting anyone publish without censorship or government consent) — and a host of like statutes in most Western nations. These culminated with the United Nation’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirming human rights to “enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want….” 13
Upon first hearing of MB plans, Westerners generally react with stupefied incredulity. Some furiously rage at the messenger. Yet global Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi concretely stipulated 14 these MB plans on Dec. 1, 1982 in “Towards a worldwide strategy for Islamic policy (Points of Departure, Elements, Procedures and Missions),” 15 which Swiss officials discovered in Nov. 2001 at the villa of MB chief financial officer Yusuf Nada. 16 North American MB chief Mohamed Akram on May 22, 1991 created a similar “regional” outline in an “Explanatory memorandum for the General Strategic goal for the Group in North America,” 17 presented as evidence by U.S. prosecutors to help convict five Holy Land Foundation officials of 108 terror-financing related charges. 18
The realities behind this decades-long Muslim Brotherhood campaign have now slammed Europe. On Dec. 3, 2010, Denmark’s public prosecutor figuratively collected his first scalp for racism, that of pastor and Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe, 19 not surprisingly for defending Hedegaard. “Of course Lars Hedegaard should not have said that there are Muslim fathers who rape their daughters,” Langballe stated, “when the truth appears to be that they make due with killing their daughters (the so-called honor killings) and leave it to their uncles to rape them.”
Randers municipal court found MP Langballe (Danish People’s Party) guilty of hate speech under Denmark’s penal code, Article 266b after duly honoring Danish legal precedent to deny Langballe the right to prove his truthful allegation that Muslim families often sexually abuse and murder their daughters for family honor. In such cases, Danish law figures the truth immaterial. As if under Islamic libel law itself, 20 Denmark may nowadays convict a defendant solely upon the personal offense taken or perceived in his or her statement. No actual crime need have occurred.
At his kangaroo court trial, MP Langballe therefore concluded, “With this article in the penal code, I must be assumed convicted in advance. I have no intention of participating in this circus. Therefore I confess.” Denmark denied MP Langballe both freedom of speech and due process and may now fine or incarcerate him up to two years. 21
These are but the latest journalists, elected European officials and humanitarians charged for perceived defamations of Islam in their statements of fact and exact reiterations of Quranic and other Islamic sacred texts. Finland first stepped to the plate, in 2009 convicting its best known political blogger, Jussi Kristian Halla-aho, then 38. 22
However in May 2008, Gregorius Nekschot, a pseudonymous Dutch cartoonist was similarly arrested and charged with discriminatory speech. In Sept. 2010, Dutch prosecutors finally dropped charges against Nekschot, on the eve of Holland’s next travesty of justice. Despite a court order that he dismantle his personal website, Nekschot was victorious. “I can carry on making caricatures, perhaps even more controversial ones, because I have been allowed to keep my anonymity,” he said.23
Then came five charges of hate speech against Dutch MP Geert Wilders. Prosecutors initially ruled that Wilders’ statements might hurt Muslim feelings but weren’t crimes. But in Jan. 2009, Amsterdam’s Appeals Court reversed the finding and ordered prosecutors to proceed. 24 At trial, an empaneled judge snidely remarked on Wilders’ intent to remain silent. An immediate appeal to replace the biased panel was denied. 25 Dutch prosecutors then reiterated the legality of criticizing religion (Muslim feelings determine no “facts of the case”, but trial judges ignored their request to acquit on all five charges.26
After incontestable judicial bias surfaced, however, a new appeals court on Oct. 22 terminated the Wilders trial. At a private May 2010 dinner party, Islamic expert and defense witness Hans Jansen revealed, magistrate Tom Schalken (among the Amsterdam judges to order Wilders’ prosecution) had approached to explain why Wilders must be prosecuted. Schalken’s unlawfully expressed, extra-judicial comment to a defense witness forced the appeals justices to order a new Wilders trial.27
Next up was Austria’s Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Pax Europa‘s Austrian representative and a former Organization for Security and Co-operation envoy in Europe. Pax Europa, focusing on sharia law incursions and simultaneous erosion of free speech in Europe, is Germany’s “foremost human rights organization,” she says. 28 In Sept. 2010, Sabaditsch-Wolff learned she was accused of “defamation of religion” during a 2009 three-part seminar on “Islamization of Europe” for the Freedom Education Institute (FEI). She is not a member of FEI or any part of the late, controversial Joerg Haider‘s “far-right” Austrian Freedom Party. But even if Sabaditsch-Wolff did belong, it would not be criminal: the state gives public monies to the Austrian Freedom Party’s Institute.
Moreover, Sabaditsch-Wolff based her academic observations on experience gained, by choice, from living most of her adult life “in Arab and Muslim-majority countries.” Exactly which statements prompted Vienna’s prosecutor to indict her for hate speech, he did not see fit to specify. 29 She was “tried” in Vienna, if you can call it that, in Nov. 2010. No decision has yet been announced.
That same month, the European Union required member states to implement the “Framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia,” a measure adopted Nov. 28, 2008 to combat “certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law.” This EU legal provision required all EU member states to comply fully by Nov. 28, 2010, Sabaditsch-Wolff asserts, and punish “intentional conduct” considered a pretext to target “a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin.” 30 Oblique or not, this means Muslims.
Who passed these measures, at whose proposal, without consulting Europe’s parliaments or populaces — and whether are they binding under national constitutions — should immediately arise as critical topics of debate in all EU member states. And Americans, lest we think ourselves immune, should steel the ramparts for the continuing onslaught upon our own treasured rights to free speech. Despite our new Free Speech protection measure, free speech remains under barrage assault.
1 In borrowing the title from the book of my friend and colleague, Ibn Warraq, I intend him the highest compliment for being, with Lars Hedegaard, among those at the vanguard of defending Western civilization.
2 “The scandal of Danish justice,” International Free Press Society, Dec. 12, 2010,http://www.internationalfreepresssociety.org/2010/12/the-scandal- of-danish-justice/ (first viewed 12/12/2010).
3 “The scandal of Danish justice,” International Free Press Society, Dec. 12, 2010, ibid.
4 Alyssa A. Lappen, “The eternal Danish optimist,” Right Side News, Jan. 5, 2009, http://www.rightsidenews.com/200901043173/life-and-science/culture-war s/the-eternal-danish-optimist.html.
5 Ahmed Mohamud and Eva Agnete Selsing, “The lawsuit against Lars Hedegaard,” International Free Press Society, Sept. 27, 2010, http://www.internationalfreepresssociety.org/2010/09/4087/ (viewed 1/9/2011).
6 NY Assembly Rep. Rory I. Lanceman, “Author of New York State’s first-in-the-nation law against “libel tourism” applauds congressional passage of the “Speech Act” to protect Americans’ 1st Amendment rights,” N.Y. Assembly District 25, Jul. 25, 2010, http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=025&sh=story&story=39928; Alyssa A. Lappen, “America’s First Amendment lifeline,” Human Events, 1/25/2008, http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=24649; “Gov. Patterson signs legislation protecting New Yorkers against infringement of First Amendment rights by foreign libel judgment,” New York State press release, May 1, 2008, http://www.r8ny.com/node/16798; On May 1, 2008, New York State established the first libel terrorism protection act in the U.S.; I played a critical role obtaining necessary legislative support, without which I suspect it would have been impossible to achieve passage of a federal law along the same lines.
7 “Charter of Liberties,” Medieval Sourcebook, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/hcoronation.html (viewed 1/10/2011).
8 “Due process,” U.S Constitution, 5th Amendment, annotations, p. 11, reprinted at FindLaw, undated, http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment05/11.html; see also “Due process,” Cornell Univ. Law School, http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/due_process (both viewed 1/10/2011)
9 “Magna Carta,” Britannia History, http://www.britannia.com/history/docs/magna2.html
10 “A brief history of habeas corpus,” BBC, Mar. 9, 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4329839.stm (viewed 1/10/2011).
11 Charter of Liberties & Privileges, NY, 1683, http://www.montauk.com/history/seeds/charter.htm (viewed 1/10/2011).
12 William Penn, “Charter of Privileges,” Oct. 28, 1701, http://www.constitution.org/bcp/penncharpriv.htm (1/10/2011).
13 “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” United Nations General Assembly, Dec. 10, 1948, http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml; The document recognizes “the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people….” (emphasis added).
14 Lappen and Rachel Ehrenfeld, “Sharia financing and the coming ummah,” Chap. 28, Armed Groups: Studies in National Security, Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency, ed. Jeffrey Norwitz, (U.S. Naval War College: 2008), pp. 389-404, http://www.alyssaalappen.org/wp-content/uploads/sharia-financing-and-t he-coming-ummah-by-ehrenfeld-and-lappen.pdf.
15 Yusuf Qaradawi, “Towards a worldwide strategy for Islamic policy (Points of Departure, Elements, Procedures and Missions),” global Muslim Brotherhood, Dec. 1, 1982, as cited by Patrick Poole, “The Muslim Brotherhood Project,” Front Page Magazine, May 11, 2006, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=4475 and http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=4476 (first viewed 5/11/2006).
16 Olivier Guitta, “The Cartoon Jihad,” Weekly Standard, Feb. 20, 2006, http://www.weeklystandard.com/print/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/00 6/704xewyj.asp (viewed 2/22/2006).
17 Mohamed Akram, “Explanatory memorandum for the General Strategic goal for the Group in North America,” Muslim Brotherhood, global Muslim Brotherhood, North America, May 22, 1991, p. 15, http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/HLF/Akram_GeneralStrategic Goal.pdf (first viewed 9/18/2007).
18 Jason Trahan and Tanya Eiserer, “Holy Land Foundation defendants guilty,” Dallas Morning News, Nov. 28, 2008, http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/112 508dnmetholylandverdicts.1e5022504.html; see also “Ruling: humanitarian aid to Palestine a front for Hamas support,” Raw Story, Nov. 24, 2008, http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Largest_Muslim_charity_in_US_ruled_1124. html; “US-based Muslim charity guilty of funding terrorism,” Telegraph, Nov. 24, 2008, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/3515658/US- based-Muslim-charity-guilty-of-funding-terrorism.html; “Federal judge hands down sentences in Holy Land Foundation case,” Dept. of Justice, May 27, 2009, http://dallas.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/dl052709.htm (all viewed 12/2/2010).
19 “The scandal of Danish justice,” International Free Press Society, Dec. 12, 2010, ibid.
20 Ahmad Ibn Lulu Ibn Al-Naqib (d. 1368), Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, 1991 and 1994, Amana Publications (revised ed., 1994), p. 730, as noted in Lappen, “Does sharia law now apply in the U.S.” Pajamas Media, Jan. 2, 2008, http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/sharia_libel_law_now_applies_i/.
21 “The scandal of Danish justice,” International Free Press Society, Dec. 12, 2010, ibid.
22 James Cohen, “23 minute interview with Jussi Halla-aho,” International Free Press Society, Sept. 17, 2009, http://www.internationalfreepresssociety.org/2009/09/23-minute-intervi ew-with-jussi-halla-aho/ (viewed 1/10/2011); see also “Jussi Halla-aho,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jussi_Halla-aho (viewed 1/10/2011).
23 Katrine Winkel Holm, “Prosecutor drops case against Dutch cartoonist,” International Free Speech Society, Sept. 25, 2010, http://www.internationalfreepresssociety.org/2010/09/prosecutor-drops- case-against-dutch-cartoonist/ (viewed 9/30/2010).
24 Mike Corder, “Dutch court: prosecute anti-Islamic law-maker,” Associated Press, Jan. 21, 2009, as reprinted in http://sweetness-light.com/archive/court-prosecute-geert-wilders-for-h ate-speech (viewed 1/10/2011).
25 Bruce Mutsvairo, “Wilders hate speech trial to resume,” Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 5, 2010, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/2010/1005/Geert-Wilders-hate-speech-tri al-to-resume-in-Netherlands (10/6/2010).
26 “Dutch prosecutors sought anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders’ acquittal on five hate speech charges Friday, saying his criticism of the Muslim religion, though hurtful to some, was not criminal,” Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Oct. 15, 2010, http://www.rnw.nl/english/bulletin/acquit-dutch-anti-islam-lawmaker-pr osecutors (viewed 1/10/2011).
27 “Hans Jansen, scholar of Islam, and a witness for the defense in the Wilders trial, describes a curious dinner party,” and “Uproar: Dutch court orders retrial for Wilders,” New English Review, Oct. 22, 2010, http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_months.cfm/m/10/y/2010/sr/100 (both viewed 10/22/2010).
28 A. Millar, “Lawfare in Austria: Is truth illegal?” Hudson Organization, Oct. 11, 2010, http://www.hudson-ny.org/1596/sabaditsch-wolff-lawfare-austria (first viewed 10/12/2010).
29 A. Millar, “Lawfare in Austria: Is truth illegal?” Hudson Organization, Oct. 11, 2010, ibid.
30 “Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff: We are Being Systematically Silenced, This is our Time,” In Defense of Free Speech, Nov. 27, 2010, http://english.savefreespeech.org/?p=221 (viewed 1/10/2011).
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