“Accepting the Islamic Concept of Blasphemy is the End of Free Speech”

Back in February 2015 a free speech event was held at the Krudttønden café in Copenhagen, with Larks Vilks as the principal speaker. An Islamic terrorist opened fire on the café during the event, killing one person. He also killed another person at a nearby synagogue before he was shot dead by police.

Agnieszka Kolek was one of the organizers of the event at the Krudttønden. The following interview with her was published earlier this month at the Polish outlet Euroislam.pl in a slightly different form.

Agnieszka Kolek: I am not a victim — I SURVIVED the terrorist attack

Two years ago, on 14 February 2015 in Copenhagen, Muslim terrorist Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein opened fire on the participants of the conference “Art, blasphemy, freedom of expression” with the Danish caricaturist Lars Vilks.

The terrorist killed a Danish director and wounded five policemen. On the anniversary of those events Euroislam.pl talks to the co-organiser of the debate Agnieszka Kolek.

Euroislam.pl: You are a victim of the terrorist attack. How have the events from Copenhagen changed your life?

Agnieszka Kolek: I do not consider myself a victim. I am a person who survived the terrorist attack. I fight for women’s rights, freedom of speech, freedom of artistic expression, running a risk of offending Muslims. I am an adult. I know why I am doing this. I am guided by the values of a democratic and free society. I want to protect it. I show my face publicly despite the potential risk. I understand that anyone can print my photograph from the Internet, find me and attempt to kill me. It is important to be able to use this experience wisely. For instance I know one victim who decided to start fighting organisations financing terrorism.

How has this experience changed your experience of reality?

Agnieszka Kolek: We must realise that there is an ideological war in progress with the world of political Islam. This war has been claiming an increasing number of human lives. I live in London, and I know that at any moment a terrorist attack can take place here again. I would say that we all in the West are people who survived terrorist attacks in one way or the other. I know that people are anxious to talk openly about the terrorist threat. They do not want to be called “racist” or “xenophobic”. Even if one has not lived through the event like that personally, one sometimes knows someone who witnessed it or became a victim, we visit places where attacks happened, we see them on the television. Those scenes influence us. Even if we don’t experience it consciously, to a certain degree we are all victims of the terrorists.

Let us leave aside the sociological perspective. What sort of psychological effects are the result of being exposed to terror?

Agnieszka Kolek: For everyone it was a shock. The psychological help I received in Copenhagen after the event helped a lot. Thanks to it I know that the case will never be closed. I keep realising that post-traumatic stress disorder truly exists. Even after a long time, the tension and memories come back, especially when I hear about another attack. I was very upset about Bataclan and Orlando.

Why has information about those two places affected you particularly?

Agnieszka Kolek: In each case the terrorist was shooting at people gathered in a confined space. I know how it looks like when a terrorist starts to hunt and kill one person after another. You have two options then — wait for your death or lay between the bodies and play dead. When information about another attack comes through I know I have to look after myself more than usual, get enough sleep, because my system enters the state of high alert.

How do you deal with anxiety?

Agnieszka Kolek: I have invested my time in a self defence course. Skills I have learned increase my chances of survival in case of another attack. I gained an awareness of surroundings. I know who exits the bus after me, who enters the same room. In public spaces I check the location of the emergency exit and where people could potentially hide in case of an attack.

How do your relatives deal with your public activity? Has anyone from your family come to you and said something like “give it a break, stop putting yourself in danger”?

Agnieszka Kolek: During the attack in Copenhagen, my brother was there with me. I remember our first meeting afterwards. I was crying and he was hugging me and I could feel him trembling. It is difficult for me to talk about it even after two years. My parents also support me. They have never pushed me to stop caring about freedom and abandon my activity. After the attack, I have possibly become a better sister and daughter. I appreciate life more and I know how fragile and short it is. I try to find time for the relatives and make sure not to miss the closeness. Now I care to spend time not next to each other but truly together. Right now I am visiting my parents in Poland.

Mere information about terrorist attacks is a source of distress to you. How do you perceive commentaries by various media experts and politicians, who in such situations ritually write about increasing Islamophobia, the small percentage of terrorists among Muslims, or that there is no connection between Islam and terrorism?

Agnieszka Kolek: Such statements irritate me. I keep asking myself: how many people still have to die for media and politicians to find the courage to tell the truth about dangers of political Islam? Why in the aftermath of such events does no-one mention preachers of hatred who in their mosques call for killing unbelievers?!

You have first-hand experience not only of Islamic terrorism but also of political correctness. What do you think about it?

Agnieszka Kolek: Just after the terrorist attack I was talking to a journalist from Channel 4. This lady wanted to gag me; she wouldn’t allow the witness description of what had just happened. She was even trying to change the subject and was suggesting that I can only blame myself for going to Denmark to participate in the debate with the caricaturist of Muhammad — Lars Vilks. Unfortunately, the media would do anything not to allow the public to understand who wants to kill whom, and why. Journalists often try to excuse the terrorists and blame the victims. They defend someone who kills and call their victims, who are forced to live with death sentences issued by Islamic imams, “controversial”.

Some suggest that Lars Vilks unnecessarily provokes Muslims.

Agnieszka Kolek: Opinions of journalists about this educated artist and art historian are in my view a crime against freedom of speech and artistic expression. This man defends freedom in the arts, as a result of which he cannot live a normal life. He is constantly being guarded by the police. Recently, he had to go to the hospital and on his way, due to security concerns, he had to play dead! Many people turned away from him out of fear. Lars Vilks lives in a complete isolation and the media portray him as a danger — at the same time they vindicate those who want him dead.

After the attack on “Charlie Hebdo”, there were voices demanding not to offend Muslims. Those commentators also claimed that if there were no caricatures of Muhammad, there would be no terrorist attacks.

Agnieszka Kolek: Those people do not understand that accepting the Islamic concept of blasphemy is the end of free speech in Europe and the beginning of the rule of sharia law. Self-censoring, we give in to the supporters of the sharia. This way we agree to the enforcement of the Koranic law, instead of the democracy and pluralism in Europe. Anyone could come to the meeting with Lars Vilks and criticise his activity. One could express one’s disagreement differently — not by killing people. This was not about the hurt feelings of Muslims but about the Islamic concept of blasphemy. For offending Islam, according to sharia law, the punishment is death. The shooter was radicalised in the prison, he was attending a mosque, listening to hate preachers and finally came to kill us. Radical Muslims reach for terrorism to gag critics of Islam, to isolate and intimidate them. Claiming that “artists can only blame themselves because they commit blasphemy”, to me resembles defending a rapist who justifies his violence by the fact that a women was walking home alone at night in too short a skirt.

Media often claim that it is not the Islamic ideology but mental disorders that cause terrorism.

Agnieszka Kolek: Many people struggle with depression, emotional problems and social exclusion. Poles living in the West often go through a difficult time; some are not treated well, however, we hear of none reaching for the gun. Let us remember that in Europe there are mosques where open calls for killing unbelievers take place — both Christians and Jews. These are not just words. Those calls turn into actions.

Maybe it is police incompetence that constitutes the problem? Security services cannot cope with the terrorist threat.

Agnieszka Kolek: First of all, thanks to the sacrifice and courage of the police I can talk to you today. I am grateful to them for being alive. These people are risking their lives not because they want to be heroes but because they see protecting others as their duty. When problems appear, politicians vilify them. The police work, after all, within the boundaries of law. Therefore, they can do only as much as the politicians allow. Society should enforce the ruling on equipping police accordingly, to counteract terrorism. Currently, the law does not facilitate the fight against terrorism; in many cases law enforcement officers have their hands tied. To stop someone they must have hard evidence. The police officers are afraid of being accused of being racist, and yet there are those who just wait for them to stumble. Law enforcement has conflicting goals. Police officers are working after hours, they are exhausted mentally, and rather than support them, politicians make scapegoats out of them. And for that politicians should be held responsible before a court of law. Nobody has a right to expose their own citizens to danger.

Thank you for the conversation.

Interview by Piotr Slusarczyk, euroislam.pl

Agnieszka Kolek is an artist and teacher of fine arts, curator of the London festival Passion for Freedom; for her artistic activities, in 2013 she received the Pole of the Year award in Great Britain.

13 thoughts on ““Accepting the Islamic Concept of Blasphemy is the End of Free Speech”

  1. Why was the interviewer so determined to portray Kolek as a victim and go on and on about her PTS counciling, etc?
    Kolec was obviously a warrior, she didn’t need to be distracted from this nonsense rather than focusing on the war at hand. The interview was very dissappointing. Rather than talk about whether or not “we’re all victims of terrorism” (code for mohamedeans), we should be talking about how we’re going to drive that disease out of our lands for good.

    • Because when you’re a shattered victim, you obviously mentally not reliable. The interviewer just getting ready the situation to have her written down as someone with a fragile confused mind…

  2. This is absolutely infuriating to me.
    Stupid, as well.
    No, your choices are NOT playing dead, or waiting for death.

    Ever think of just SHOOTING BACK? It’s not that hard–even with a small pistol, because the ranges are short and the enemy is NOT prepared for resistance.
    Guns ‘illegal’??
    Get yourself an ILLEGAL GUN. (EUrope is swimming with them–especially former commie lands.)
    Stop putting up with all the p.c. leftist pacifist claptrap and help YOURSELVES.
    Or give up.
    Your choice. (It is YOURS, after all.)
    Your ‘authorities’ have failed you–ALL of you (obviously). So, DO something.

  3. Nothing will change with words!

    Im sorry, but only a concerted military assault against islamic countries, the banning of islam, abd deportation of all persons
    Who are promoting and adhering to this murderous stone age cult ideology,

    Will render any sembelance of peace in western countries.

    Islam, MUST be destroyed immediatly,
    By whatever means, atomic weapons, wipe out middle east in few weeks,
    We either annilate jslam and all and any followers,
    Or as they say themselves, they are going to kill us!!!!

    Its either us, or them,
    So take u pick!

    All this constant intellectual gibberish is just delaying the inevitable.

    I want an END TO islam and an End to muslims in the west.

    So my children can live in peace, without fear of these muslim barbaric savages!!!

  4. Fighting back and driving them out is fine. Just understand that your own left wing apparatus will have to be fought and beaten at the same time.

  5. very nice gal, courageous and discerning.

    one possible addition on:
    “I live in London, and I know that at any moment a terrorist attack can take place here again.”

    I afraid things are currently even worse for London.
    There will be no terrorist attacks, as far as Mayor of London is a Muslim.

    London has made a Faustian deal, – the protection is offered to defeated kuffar on terms of Islamic conqueror.

    I remind – the name “Sadiq Khan” is the name of one of suicide bombers that struck London underground in 2005.
    It also means “Justful Khan”.
    I don’t think these are coincidences.

    Metrosexual “Progressives” among Labour, were unconsciously following that, hoping that the “good” Muslim will somehow break a deal with radicals and terror will stop.

    And situation won’t change as London’s demographic gives king-making power to Islamic block.

    Next Mayor can be “Lib Dem” or “Conservative” – but Muslim, too. Or a puppet.

    it is existential problem for the city in the heart of Western civilization, and it is clearly result of a conspiracy. Islamists used demography as weapon, sponsoring with oil money the importation of the most savage, loyal and massive Islamic tribes, to get the electoral advantage.

    still there are lot of normal Westerners in London, and inevitably polarization will deepen.
    so the only choice as I see it, is “cantonization” and some sort of apatheid – but that will require lot of political reform.
    Like removing the post of London Mayor.
    The idea of centralized power in the West, dominatd by Islam, is poison.

    • Well AY, I live in London, and I can’t say I feel safer with our new mayor in charge!

      • as far as there is no resistance to islamization, there will be no attacks.

        previous mayors were all of hte type “who knows what” but this one is definitely a Muslim, and the descendant of Tamerlan.
        For islamists, this is the new chapter, – legitimacy by blood, by power, and by the fact of victory.

        not Mayor but others will continue singing the same songs:

        – islam is compatible with the West
        – the answer to the bad islam is more good islam
        – any limit put on islamic habits by state, compromises equality diversity
        – any personal opposition to islam is dangerous far right radicalization

        yet another people will put that in practice, like placing Korans on the upper shelves in libraries, removing crosses from wherever possible, vandalizing war memorials, converting churches to mosques, pushing for endless islamic exhibitions in museums, and so on.

        Mayor’s duty is to overlook and provide peaceful submission.

        I think after 9/11, this was the most succesful jihadi operation.
        Most expensive, too.

  6. Doesn’t Western Civilization need a “safe space”, a space safe from Muhammadism, a space like the American Hemisphere, starting with, oh, the USofA, where elections matter, and democracy works, at least intermittently? Isn’t it time the Chutes and Ladders of our immigration/demographics policy become chutes and more chutes?

    Once we decide that no Muhammadists opposed to political secularism can live inside our borders, why are we not expelling them? Why aren’t we prosecuting the seditious conspirators? I recommend we use our democratic apparatus while it’s available and still might work. Waiting means leading with our chins and volunteering to be atrocity central.

  7. One comment, these people are not terrorists. They are good Muslims, following what the Koran tells them to, and living their life according to its principles. Lets call a spade a spade.

    • courage to tell the truth about dangers of political Islam?

      Tend to agree with you, even though they are bloody terrorists to me. The snippet above, from the original post, made me wonder how this ‘political Islam’ differs from plain old regular Islam.

      Possibly a better phrase would be “the violent expressions of Islam.”

  8. It is really a very simple matter, Islam is a cult and everybody has every right to expose it for everything that it’s not, being the opposite of truth, which is a lie.
    If there is an evidence of a divine entity asking of humanity to sacrifice one part of it (non-muslims) for the well being of the other (muslims) then I encourage them to step up and voice this evidence and lay their agenda bare for all of us to witness.
    To witness, and eventually deal with it. […]

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