Lars Man Standing – again – Mark Steyn
The last time I used the headline “Lars Man Standing” was for a National Review post about Lars Hedegaard’s analysis of Europe’s Islamo-leftist alliance. Mr Hedegaard was my host in Copenhagen back in September, when the Danish Free Press Society presented me with its Sappho Award. Yesterday, I returned from a few weeks off the Internet-beaten track to find that he is yet again the Lars man standing – standing in the dock in Fredericksburg, charged with offending Islam. His is merely the latest in a long line of the western world’s new heresy trials - Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Austria, Geert Wilders and Gregorius Nekschot in the Netherlands, Michel Houllebecq in France, Michael Smith in Australia, Ezra Levant and me in Canada.
As in Canada, as in the Netherlands, so in Denmark the defendants in such cases are informed that the truth is no defense. As Lars said in court yesterday:
My counsel has instructed me that in cases brought under Article 266b, the only thing that determines whether one is convicted or not is a matter of the perceived insult whereas one is barred from proving the truth of the statement.
The article deals with public statements whereby a group of people are “threatened, insulted or degraded”. But as my lawyer has already noted, I have made no public statement.
The Danish Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe commented on the Hedegaard case and was himself charged with “racism”. While preparing his defense, he was also told by the court that “defendants in cases brought under Article 266b are denied the right to prove their case”.
That’s why these are heresy trials, and only the first of many. The prosecutors think Hedegaard, Langballe, Wilders, Mrs Sabbaditsch-Wolff et al are apostates from the new state religion of multiculturalism. Thuggish Muslim lobby groups, on the other hand, consider them heretics against Islam. In practice, it makes little difference, and multiculturalism is merely an interim phase, a once useful cover for an Islamic imperialism so confident it now barely needs one. The good news is that European prosecutors are doing such a grand job with their pilot program of show trials you’ll hardly notice the difference when sharia is formally instituted.
Messrs Hedegaard and Langballe were both charged in connection with remarks against the Muslim community’s treatment of its females. As it happens, there was a difference of opinion between the two. Mr Langballe’s offending words were:
Of course Lars Hedegaard should not have said that there are Muslim fathers who rape their daughters when the truth appears to be that they make do with killing their daughters (the so-called honour killings) and leave it to their uncles to rape them.
The above may be “offensive” to Muslims but why should it be criminal? When I appeared in London, Ontario last November, the local Islamic enforcer, Faisal Joseph, suggested that Muslims should protest by contributing to women’s shelters. As Kathy Shaidle pointed out, the Muslim community’s principal contribution to women’s shelters is the women. Or as Lars Hedegaard said in court:
The public prosecutor has not considered the 20,000 women in the Muslim world who every year fall victim to so-called honour killings, or the 50,000 Muslim girls in Germany who the federal police consider threatened with genital mutilation, nor the hundreds of thousands of little girls in Muslim majority societies who have been sold into marriage with much older men and who must therefore live a life of constant rape, while Islamic scholars preach that this is in complete accordance with religious orthodoxy.
But then, when it comes to the treatment of females, what isn’t? On Monday, the very same day that Mr Hedegaard went on trial in Frederiksburg, so did Faleh Almaleki in Phoenix. He’s charged with fatally running over his daughter Noor in a hit-&-run “honour” killing. (I wrote about it here.) In Buffalo, Muzzammil Hassan, previously the “moderate Muslim” poster boy for America’s patsy press, has just begun the second week of his murder trial for chopping his wife’s head off. (I wrote about it here.) A couple of weeks ago, the impeccably non-“right-wing”, non-“extreme” magazine Der Spiegel ran an in-depth story on “Taboos And Fears Among Muslim Girls” in Germany. In the Muslim housing projects of France, according to the official statistics, the number of rapes has risen by an annual 15-20 per cent since 1999. And in such a world non-Muslim girls start feeling the heat, too.
These glimpses of reality are too awkward to be expressed in a multicultural society which had told itself that, thanks to the joys of diversity, a nice gay couple and a polygamous Muslim with three wives in identical niqabs can live side by side at 27 and 29 Elm Street. And so, merely for raising the issue, Messrs Hedegaard and Langballe must be punished – so that thousands, millions of other Europeans get the message: that certain subjects are beyond discussion, and Islam and its western enablers intend to keep it that way.
I had a grand time when the Free Press Society hosted me in Copenhagen, starting at the airport when the two Nordic blondes they sent to meet me apologized for not being lesbians. I was so disappointed I considered getting back on the plane, but in the end I stayed and enjoyed myself immensely. Nevertheless, I felt a bit sorry for the folks sharing the spotlight with me. Unlike most “right-wing extremists” who get slapped with the label, I am right-wing and extreme, very much so. But Lars Vilks, the Swedish artist who portrayed Mohammed as a “roundabout dog”, and Shabana Rehman, the Norwegian Muslim comedienne, and Gregorius Nekschot, a boundlessly profane Dutch cartoonist, and Farshad Kholghi, a Danish actor who has a stand-up routine as Mohammed al-Whatever, president of the Muslim organization of Very Very Moderate Extremists, none of these comrades would be considered in any sense “right-wing”. Mr Vilks is really an old Euroleftie secularist who doesn’t see why you can’t find Islam as big a non-stop laugh riot as Christianity; Minheer Nekschot is an equal-opportunity offender who figures if you can draw Queen Beatrix being sodomized you can surely mock some fellow who kicked the bucket the best part of a millennium-and-a-half ago.
Not anymore. In Lars Hedegaard’s words:
Politically you may be a socialist, a liberal or a conservative. You may be a staunch supporter of the welfare state, socialized medicine, gay marriage, preferential treatment of women and 75 percent taxation of all private income. It won’t help you if you have distanced yourself from the teachings of the prophet.
Thus, in the Netherlands, Islam’s critics are also “extreme right-wing” racists” – if by “extreme”, “right-wing” and “racist” you mean gay hedonists (Pim Fortuyn), anti-monarchist coke-snorting nihilists (Theo van Gogh) and liberal black feminists (Ayaan Hirsi Ali). Whichever of these novel permutations of “right-wing” you fall into, you wind up either on trial (Nekschot, Wilders), forced into exile (Miss Ali) or pushing up tulips (Fortuyn, van Gogh). By comparison, my comrades in Copenhagen had suffered mildly, yet were on the same grim trajectory: for failing to understand the de facto and increasingly de jure protections afforded Islam, they had been variously arrested, subjected to death threats, had homes firebombed and a family restaurant shot up. And in the final indignity they’d wound up sharing a stage with me because their leftie pals weren’t there for them. All your liberal friends who went to the Amnesty and PEN fundraisers and bored the pants off you with that bit of apocryphal Voltaire – “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” - stayed utterly silent. As Molly Norris discovered in Seattle. C’mon, nobody’s asking you to defend anyone to the death. A mildly principled fax would do.
That is why the Lars Hedegaard trial matters. The zombie husks who lead the western world in twilight pass off their groveling prostration as a defense of “multicultural tolerance”. It’s not. It’s the Pansy Left (in Orwell’s phrase) auditioning to be Islam’s lead prison bitch (that’s mine, not Orwell’s). In the same way that the left embarked on its long march through the institutions, so too has Islam. Its Gramscian subversion of transnational bodies, international finance, human rights institutions, the academy and the justice system is well advanced.
You can read Lars Hedegaard’s full statement in court below, including the words he quoted from John Milton:
Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
Milton would understand: This trial shames Denmark. If Lars Hedegaard is convicted, another light in Europe will have been extinguished, and the remainder will follow, very fast. In their folly, the multiculti enforcers are setting the stage for great violence, and a descent into barbarism.
(More here, here and here – and from Scaramouche.)