Two years ago next month, the world renowned Danish free speech advocate, journalist and historian Lars Hedegaard was shot at point blank outside his apartment near Copenhagen by an Islamic assailant who would eventually be arrested as an ISIS footsoldier (and then later released to ISIS in a prisoner exchange by the Turkish government). Thankfully, Lars, a dear friend and colleague, was unhurt, and visited Washington shortly after this attempted assassination.
While in town, Lars sat down with The Daily Caller's Ginni Thomas for an interview, posted here,
I mention this particular interview because Ginni's first question in March 2013 is the same question people are now asking today in the aftermath of the Islamic jihad massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices in Paris.
Why, Ginni Thomas asked Lars Hedegaard, have there been so many assassinations and attempted assassinations of Europeans, including against Lars in February, for speaking (and drawing cartoons) about Islam?
Lars' 2013 answer below, with updated commentary.
Today in 2015, the level of outrage about the slaughter of almost the entire staff of a French magazine by foot soldier's of Allah's law seems much more intense and widely vented than any we have seen on display after previous acts of violence against Islam's critics, including the 2004 ritual Islamic slaughter of Theo van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam in retribution for his film, co-created with Hirsi Ali, about the Islamic mistreatment of women.
Widespread outrage is a positive development. However, so advanced is the West's state of dhimmitude that I will wager that it will be still be the case that major media and political entities, even in expressing allegiance to freedom of speech and outrage over the murder of innocents, will themselves continue to follow Islamic law and, with sparse few exceptions, refrain from actually showing the cartoons on the air or in the newspapers as they are reporting on them.
Here is a page of Charlie Hebdo cartoons (translated captions here). Let me know if you see any of them in the MSM.
Now Lars' answer to Ginni's question:
It all comes from the fatwa in '89 against Salman Rushdie. If they could pull that off without any serious consequences in Tehran, then, of course, the way was open to others to try the same thing. What it comes down to is, basically, the contention by the powers-that-be in the Muslim world that sharia law has in fact been established as the law of Europe. They seem to think they have the right to implement sharia law in contravention of our laws and our constitutions. It can only be regarded in that manner. Up 'til the fatwa against Rushdie, nobody would have assumed that we couldn't say anything we wanted in the Western world. It was beyond anyone's comprehension that some long-bearded mullahs in a faraway country would dare to threaten inhabitants of our countries. But now it's taken for granted they have that right.
Had we reacted forcefully in '89, given an ultimatum to Tehran saying: You have about 24 hours to withdraw this fatwa otherwise there will be very serious consequences; we may bomb you until you surrender; we may bomb your holy cities where you're thinking all this up. Instead they negotiated, they acquiesced, and thereby paved the way for even more of this murder and mayhem.
This seminal act of acquiesencence a generation ago must be understood for what it was: surrender to Islamic law -- in this case, specifically Islamic blasphemy law, over expression about Islam in the Western world. It is this surrender to Islamic blasphemy law 25 years ago that must now be renounced. It is not enough now to assert the right to "blaspheme," as many are doing. We, media, citizens, politicians, everyone, must assert and manifest the right to live free of Islamic blasphemy law, the crux of sharia, or Islamic law.
This New York Daily News censoring of a Hebdo Mohammed (below) is just more sharia-compliance.
When Western governments acquiesced 25 years ago, Rushdie, a "free" British citizen, was made an Islamic prisoner inside the "free" West. This validated the sancitity, the relevance, and the dominion of Islamic blasphemy law inside the "free" West. Every prisoner of Islam since -- i.e., every critic of Islam who now requires armed police protection to continue living in violation of Islamic blasphemy law in the nations of the Western world -- becomes another marker of liberty ceded by the West to Islam.
In such a weakened West, as Lars points out, the Muslim powers-that-be, along with their Muslim gun- or axe-wielding foot soldiers, continue to believe they have a right and opportunity to further implement sharia blasphemy laws against rebels such as he.
With each Free-World killing or attempted killing (or protest or boycott or death threats), with our every acquiescence or accommodation of this new "normal," the lingering fear factor further chills public expression, further entrenches Islamic blasphemy law, further paralyzes political action to reject Islamic law. To save liberty in the West, vigorous and widespread and complete rejection of Islamic law, beginning with Islamic blasphemy law. is precisely what is needed.
This still isn't happening -- such is the advanced state of our dhimmitude.
But is this only or even mainly a European problem?
No. I have long argued (and even in Copenhagen) that American media and politicians, despite the First Amendment, willingly and servilely submit to Islamic speech codes, and more universally so than in Europe.
Meanwhile, it is important to consider that about one in eight American Muslims polled in 2012 believe death is the appropriate punishment for Islamic parody (nearly one in 10 were "unsure").
The problem doesn't go away in silence.