Controversial statements by president of the Danish Free Press Society lead to uproar and heated debate

A heated debate is taking place in Denmark between leading political commentators and the president of the Danish Free Press Society. Just before Christmas the president of the Free Press Society, Lars Hedegaard, in a video interview said: “Muslims rape their own children. You hear that all the time. Girls in Muslim families are being raped by their uncles, their cousins or their fathers”. In protest against these utterances MPs Naser Khader and Søren Pind and Christian priest Katrine Lilleør left the Free Press Society.

The Free Press Society was established in 2004. Its mission is to defend the right of free speech. However, a broad spectrum of debaters and political commentators are criticizing Hedegaard and the Free Press Society for not being the defender of freedom of speech they claim to be, but instead being a forum for Islamophobia and being closely linked to the right-wing party the Danish People’s Party.

December 22, 2009 Lars Hedegaard was reported to the police for violating the so-called racism-paragraph that forbids utterances which could be understood as demeaning or deriding due to race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexuality.