MP of Danish People’s Party convicted of violation of the so-called ”Paragraph of racism”

December 3, 2010

MP for Danish People’s Party, Jesper Langballe, has been convicted of libel. In January 2010 a heated debate took place in Denmark in continuation of controversial statements on Muslim fathers and rape made by president of the Danish Free Press Society, Lars Hedegaard. Jesper Langballe, in a feature in a nationwide paper wrote: “of course Hedegaard shouldn’t say that Muslim fathers rape their daughters when the truth is that they kill them (the so called honour killings) – and in addition don’t pay notice to uncles’ rape of their daughters”. The statements led to condemnation of Langballe from all parts of the political spectrum – including the Danish Prime Minister who said: “Langballe’s words are stupid and generalizing”.
December 3 2010 Langballe was sentenced a fine of 5000 Danish Kroner.

Most Danes do not believe people should be able to say whatever they want publicly

October 12, 2010

Efforts by the right-wing Danish People’s Party (DF) to eliminate the law against making racially-charged public comments will be an uphill battle, according to a new poll on the issue. A Rambøll/Analyse Danmark poll this week showed that a vast majority of Danes support the law – even the DF’s own voters. Overall, nearly 69 percent of the 944 adults polled said the law should remain intact, while 21 percent were in favor of doing away with it, primarily on the grounds of preserving free speech.

The law has been in the spotlight recently after the public prosecutor’s office decided to press charges against Jesper Langballe, a DF member of parliament, over his written comments about Muslims. In January, Langballe defended the president of the Free Speech Society, Lars Hedegaard, who in an interview had claimed that Muslim fathers rape their daughters. “Naturally Hedegaard shouldn’t have said that when the truth instead seems to be that they’re satisfied with just honor killing their daughters and turning a blind eye to the uncles’ rapes,” wrote Langballe.

No date has yet been set for Langballe’s trial, but DF has been pushing to have both the charges and the law dropped. According to the law, it is forbidden to make public comments that “denigrate, debase or threaten based on race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, religious beliefs or sexual orientation”. In addition, the law covers remarks that incite terrorism and also explicitly protects the royal family from defamation.

Muslim elected vice chairman of the Danish Free Press Society

The 30 year old Muslim Ahmed Mohamud has been elected vice chairman of 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 have been criticizing 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 Danish People’s Party. In January 2010 the chairman Lars Hedegaard was heavily criticized for saying that: “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”.

Lars Hedegaard welcomes Ahmed Mohamud as vice chairman and says: I never opposed Muslims. Some of us have used our freedom of speech to criticize Islam as a political system. Everybody can be a member of the Free Press Society no matter what they believe in, as long as they support freedom of speech”.

Ahmed Mohamud is of Somali origin, nurse by profession and openly gay. He doesn’t see any contradictions in him being the Society’s vice chairman and being Muslim. “If I was solely to interact with people like myself I would be very isolated. I don’t think I sanction certain opinions by being the vice chairman for the Free Press Society. To me the right of freedom of speech is central and I think it’s essential that we speak to each other instead of fighting each other” Mohamud says.

MP says Muslims kill their daughters

In continuation of the heated debate that followed the controversial statements on Muslim fathers and rape by president of the Danish Free Press Society, Lars Hedegaard, MP for Danish People’s Party, Jesper Langballe, in a feature in a nationwide paper wrote that “of course Hedegaard shouldn’t say that Muslim fathers rape their daughters when the truth is that they kill them (the so called honour killings) – and in addition don’t pay notice to uncles’ rape of their daughters”. Also these statements lead to condemnation of Langballe from all parts of the political spectrum – including the Danish Prime Minister who said that Langballe’s words “are stupid and generalizing”. Leader of the Danish People’s Party, Pia Kjærsgaard, also said that it was stupid of Langballe to write such statements and that they are damaging for the Danish People’s Party.

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.

Back to the Drawing Board: Danish Muhammad cartoonist returns with new work

One of the controversial Danish cartoonists who sparked riots in the Muslim world in 2005 by drawing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad is set to return soon with new works reflecting on the incident.

Kurt Westergaard, the Danish caricaturist forced into hiding after the publication of his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005, is set to return with a new set of potentially controversial drawings. According to a report in the Copenhagen Post, Westergaard is expected to have 26 illustrations in a new book that compiles the sardonic columns by Danish writer Lars Hedegaard for the Berlingske Tidende newspaper.

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Danish press freedom group invites anti-Quran filmmaker from the Netherlands

The Free Press Society of 2004, a Danish press freedom group, said that it has invited Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders to talk about his anti-Quran film _Fitna.’ Lars Hedegaard, president of the society, said the invitation to Wilders should not be seen as a provocation against Muslims, but as an opening to address the debate on the right of free speech. “He has been badmouthed and persecuted by almost everyone in Europe,” Hedegaard said of the right-wing lawmaker. “He has not committed a crime as far as I know. He has simply voiced his opinion,” Hedegaard said. A response to the invitation by Wilders has not yet been made public.