Though Europe Rots, We Must Defend the West – by Alyssa A. Lappen
With free speech under attack, our civilization’s survival is at stake.
January 18, 2011 – by Alyssa A. Lappen
Defending Lars Hedegaard’s right to free speech equals defending the right of Western civilization to survive. As editor, columnist, and Danish and International Free Press Society president, Hedegaard dares to exercise his right to criticize Islam as freely as one may Christianity or Judaism.
Barring an effective international outcry — or a rare fever of Sudden Enlightenment Syndrome striking common sense into the head of Denmark’s public prosecutor — Hedegaard will face trial on Danish racism charges and conviction alike on January 24, 2011: a veritable auto da fé.
In December 2009, Hedegaard remarked in a taped interview that a certain kind of domestic violence was peculiar to Muslim families (“they” rape their own children). He was charged as a common criminal.
Denmark’s public prosecutor charged Hedegaard with racism for allegedly violating article 266 b of its penal code — a.k.a. the “racism clause” — which 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 almost anyone. 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 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. 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.
In North America, free speech is a fundamental right cemented into the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — the first article in the Bill of Rights passed by Congress, ratified by the states, and adopted as U.S. law on December 15, 1791. It naturally includes the right to criticize almost anything, short of treason — a charge for which the U.S. has not prosecuted in a very long while. Moreover, foreigners can no longer easily rebuke Americans, through foreign lawsuits, for taking full advantage of that enshrined U.S. freedom.
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 must go, especially secular Western laws — and particularly those allowing what Islamic law considers blasphemy and a capital offense. That includes any criticism of Islam or Mohammed.
In 1982 and again in 1991, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) put to paper their long-held plans to decimate Western societies and impose global Islamic law. They declared war on basic human rights — evolved from Judeo-Christian traditions codified in King Henry I’s 1100 C.E. Charter of Liberties, and expanded into various forms of due process via Britain’s 1215Magna Carta, King Edward I’s 1305 writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, New York’s 1683 Charter of Liberties and Privileges, William Penn’s 1701 Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges, the 1791 U.S. Bill of Rights, article § 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 in 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 [...].”
Upon first hearing of MB plans, Westerners generally react with stupefied incredulity. Some furiously rage at the messenger. Yet global MB spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi concretely stipulated its plans on December 1, 1982, in “Towards a worldwide strategy for Islamic policy (Points of Departure, Elements, Procedures and Missions)”, which Swiss officials discovered in Nov. 2001 at the villa of MB chief financial officer Yusuf Nada. 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”, presented as evidence by U.S. prosecutors to help convict five Holy Land Foundation officials of 108 terror-financing related charges.
The realities behind this decades-long campaign have now slammed Europe. On December 3, 2010, Denmark’s public prosecutor collected his first scalp for racism, that of pastor and Member of Parliament for the Danish People’s Party Jesper Langballe — 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 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 underIslamic libel law itself, 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.
This is but the most recent occasion that an elected official, journalist, or humanitarian has been charged for perceived defamations of Islam in their statements of fact and exact reiterations of Quranic and other Islamic sacred texts. In 2009, for instance, Finland convicted its best known political blogger, Jussi Kristian Halla-aho, then 38.
And in May 2008, Gregorius Nekschot, a pseudonymous Dutch cartoonist, was similarly arrested and charged with discriminatory speech. In September 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.
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 January 2009, Amsterdam’s Appeals Court reversed the finding and ordered prosecutors to proceed.
At trial, an empaneled judge snidely remarked on Wilders’ intent to remain silent. An immediate appeal to replace the biased panel was denied. Dutch prosecutors 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.
After incontestable judicial bias surfaced, however, a new appeals court on October 22 terminated the Wilders trial. At a private May 2010 dinner party, Islamic expert and defense witness Hans Jansen revealed that magistrate Tom Schalken, one of the Amsterdam judges who ordered Wilders’ prosecution, had approached him 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.
Next up was Austria’s Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff — Pax Europa‘s Austrian representative and a former Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe envoy. Pax Europa, focusing on sharia law incursions and the simultaneous erosion of free speech in Europe, is Germany’s “foremost human rights organization,” she says. In September 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. She was “tried” in Vienna, if one can call it that, in November 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 on November 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 November 28, 2010, Sabaditsch-Wolff asserts, and to 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.” Oblique or not, this means Muslims.
Who passed these measures, at whose proposal, without consulting Europe’s parliaments or populaces? Are they binding under national constitutions? Such questions should immediately arise as critical topics of debate in all EU member states.
Free speech remains under barrage assault. Americans should all call the Danish embassy to protest. And, lest we think ourselves immune, we should steel the ramparts for the continuing onslaught upon our own treasured rights to free speech.