Melanie Phillips

5 May 2011

Free speech dies in Denmark

Published in: Spectator

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Another bad blow against freedom in the west. Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society and The International Free Press Society, was yesterday found guilty of hate speech under the Danish penal code. His crime – as I wrote previously here,  here and here – was to draw attention to child abuse  and violence against women in Muslim culture. The day after the interview, he stressed that his opinions were about Islam and not intended to refer to all Muslims.

The trial was a show trial in which Hedegaard was unable to mount a defence, because under the Orwellian rules of the Danish legal system he was in effect convicted before his trial even took place. In the lower court, however, he was aquitted – but only on the technicality that he had not  known that these remarks, made in an interview, would be made public. A higher court, however, has now decided that Hedegaard did know that his remarks would be made public.And so he has now been convicted of racism.

This technicality should not obscure the real issue. The Danish court has convicted Hedegaard of racism for drawing attention to violence in Muslim families. The message Denmark has thus sent out is that it is racist and a crime to seek to defend Muslim women and children from the phenomenon of ‘honour violence’.

Where are the western feminists and defenders of free speech now?

About Melanie

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996, she is the author of All Must Have Prizes, an acclaimed study of Britain's educational and moral crisis, which provoked the fury of educationists and the delight and relief of parents.

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Books

  • The World Turned Upside Down
  • Londonistan
  • The Ascent of Woman
  • America's Social Revolution

Contact Melanie

Melanie Phillips
Daily Mail
Northcliffe House
2 Derry Street
London W8 5TT

Contact Melanie