Conservative Free Speech Diehards — or Blowhards?

Dr. Andrew Bostom has weighed in on the plight of Lars Hedegaard, the Danish historian and journalist who is being tried this month in Denmark on hate speech charges. Regular readers will remember that Mr. Hedegaard’s crime was to publicly discuss the high incidence of family rape among Muslims.

Below are some excerpts from what Dr. Bostom had to say at Pajamas Media:

Will Conservative Media Elites Defend Lars Hedegaard? (Including, “A Guide for the Islamically-Perplexed”)

by Andrew G. Bostom

Conservative Free Speech Diehards — or Blowhards?

Lars HedegaardThis past Friday, 1/7/11, I received a plaintive appeal on behalf of my colleague, Danish journalist and historian Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society and The International Free Press Society (IFPS). My response to the appeal is included at the end of this essay as a succinct guide to Islamically-perplexed, high-profile US conservative media elites who, till now, have entirely ignored the burgeoning crisis epitomized by Lars Hedegaard’s current plight. It is well past time for these self-anointed champions of free speech to weigh-in publicly and offer a robust defense of my colleague — and theirs — Lars Hedegaard.

Whom am I addressing in conservative media, specifically? All of the best-known and “highest-rated” (as they are constantly reminding us, at any rate) radio and television personalities — Mr. No Spin, “What say you?”; “Dittos” to you, Rush; Don’t continue to be a mute mime clown on this matter, Glenn; You’re not ringing in support of freedom of speech, Sean; and I’ll indeed bite you if you don’t open your loud, but highly intelligent mouth in support of Hedegaard, Mark.

As for the conservative, or “center-right” print/on-line media icons — the editorial boards of the National Review, Weekly Standard, and Wall Street Journal — your continued silence is craven and hypocritical, not golden.

Here is the crux of Mr. Hedegaard’s case, and some background. As the IFPS appeal notes,

Those who have been following the Danish cartoon crisis and several subsequent attempts by radical Muslims to kill and bomb Danes and Danish institutions may be excused for believing that Denmark is in the forefront of the battle for free speech. And indeed it used to be that way. No longer. For the past year the Danish public prosecutor has been waging a lawfare offensive against outspoken critics of Islam and Muslim practices.

Just recently, December 3, 2010, following a Kafka-esque prosecution in Denmark, Member of Parliament (MP) Jesper Langballe was convicted and indeed confessed to the “crime” of so-called “hate speech” — or as the judge in the lower court of Randers characterized it: “racial discrimination” — for having called attention to honor killings in Muslim families.

Lars Hedegaard’s prosecution is next. He is slated to stand trial in the lower court of Frederiksberg on January 24, 2011. Mr. Hedegaard’s apparent “crime” was to draw attention to the extensive (and disproportionate) number of family rapes in areas dominated by Muslim culture. As the IFPS appeal further notes,

This well documented fact has brought him an indictment under the Danish penal code’s “racism” clause: Article 266b. Both MP Langballe and Lars Hedegaard have long ago emphasized 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.

Late September, 2010, Lars Hedegaard recalled that at the inaugural assembly of the Danish Free Press Society (the mother organization of the IFPS), in March, 2005, he observed then,

…present attempts to crush freedom of expression come from several actors: national governments, supranational organizations such as the EU(European Union) and the UN (United Nations), and, not least, Islam. And not only from so-called “Islamists” or “terrorists” or “Islamic radicals.” They are inherent in the very core of Mohammedan ideology.

Hedegaard’s September 2010 statement continued, laying out the IFPS’s — and his own — Weltanschauung, and real world activities, for which he is now, incredibly, being prosecuted…

For the rest of the story (plus the links), see the original post at Pajamas Media.

Photo © Snaphanen

3 thoughts on “Conservative Free Speech Diehards — or Blowhards?

  1. The problem this is fundamental to the American system, which is significantly different than the European system in that social shunning rather than legal action is used to keep people in line. You just do not directly criticize minorities. All people within acceptable society conform to this. Where mainstream conservatives differ with liberals in the US is that they will *indirectly* criticize minorities, while liberals regard anything that could be read as even implied criticism as unacceptable. All the heat directed at the broadcasters you mention is only for violating this second rule; none of these people are going to violate the first.

  2. Bostom singles out (elliptically) certain of those in conservative media who remain remiss about the problem of Islam: Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn (“I have read the Koran and can tell you that I unequivocally believe that Islam is a religion of peace”) Beck, and Mark Hedegaard.

    Bostom could also have mentioned the tight-lipped thin-spectacled throat-throttled-by-a-bowtie George, who for all his supercilious rationality based upon a traditionalist conservativism, remains irrationally to the left (i.e., solidly in the PC MC Center) even of Daniel (“radical Muslims are the problem and moderate Muslims are the solution”) Pipes on the issue of Islam.

    The Hesperado

  3. Oh, and if Andrew Bostom might chance upon this thread, I have a request for him:

    Could you please correct your misspelling of Gregory Palamas? You have apparently continued to retain the misspelling “Palamus”.

    I posted this request three years ago on Bostom’s blog, but to date, I have seen no sign that Bostom has corrected his misspelling.

    Why are misspellings important? No one who respects the credibility of scholarly sources (and Bostom’s work in the anti-Islam movement centrally and copiously involves that) would have to ask that. Indeed, I shouldn’t even have to advert to it defensively.

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