The New York Times weighs in today (like a ton of bricks) on the attempted assassination of Lars Hedegaard, editor of Dispatch International.
"Danish Critic of Islam Attacked, and Muslims Defend His Right to Speak" (with links from the NYT original)
By Andrew Higgins (photo above):
COPENHAGEN — When a would-be assassin disguised as a postman shot at — and just missed — the head of Lars Hedegaard, an anti-Islam polemicist and former newspaper editor, this month, a cloud of suspicion immediately fell on Denmark’s Muslim minority.
This isn't a newspaper lede, it's a framework of Leftist attitude through which the pre-enlightened Timesreader is to view the event.
As such, it's worth a closer look. Note how the emotional seesaw touches down, first, at the head of Lars Hedegaard -- "just missed" by a "would-be" (hapless) assassin-- before lifting again as if burnt by the heat emanating from the "anti-Islam polemicist" (bad) and "former newspaper editor" (what good is he now?). It falls again through a troubling "cloud of suspicion" (cliche evokes *prejudice*) to land, thud, at "Denmark's Muslim minority."
What is to be done to protect the "minority"? Onto paragraph 2.
Politicians and pundits united in condemning what they saw as an attempt to stifle free speech in a country that, in 2006, faced violent rage across the Muslim world over a newspaper’s cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Since then, the newspaper that first printed the images, Jyllands-Posten, has been the target of several terrorist plots.
Subtext: Maybe those "united" politicians and pundits don't really understand "what they saw as an attempt to stifle free speech" ... but why might they see things this way?
The Times is happy to provide The Answer. The country, the Times explains, faced Muslim-world violent rage in 2006 (and 2007, and 2008, but never mind ... ) "over a newspaper's cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed."
Note the Times' designation of Mohammed as "the Prophet," status the paper doesn't accord Jesus or Moses.
And never mind what happened in 2005, when the cartoons first appeared in Jyllands Posten and "Denmark's Muslim minority" began demonstrating, when cartoonists were forced into hiding due to death threats from said Muslim minority, when diplomats from the Islamic bloc began pressuring the prime minister of Denmark to dictate Islamic sharia speech restrictions in Denmark.
This is what was taking place before we even get to the "violent rage across the Muslim world" in 2006 -- which, interestingly enough, was incited in part by members of "Denmark's Muslim minority" (mentioned in brief in paragraph 9), who actually traveled to Muslim-majority countries (virtually no minorities there!) with the cartoons plus supplementary materials that had nothing to do with the newspaper or even Denmark. One faux "Jyllands-Posten" exhibit, for example, was a photo of a Frenchman dressed as a pig to compete in a pig-squealing contest that was taken as a Danish depiction of Mohammed.
Another point the Times *forgets* to mention, by the way, is the 200 people who would be killed in recurring cycles of violence that these Danish Muslims helped trigger, not to mention the embassies and churches that were sacked and burned, and the Islamic bloc's damaging boycott of Danish products.
Since the cartoons' initial publication, as Higgins tosses off, "several terrorist plots" have indeed targeted Jyllands Posten -- and they were staged by Muslims from Denmark and elsewhere, including American Muslim terrorist David Coleman Headley. Last month, Headley was sentenced in Chicago to 35 years in jail for aiding the Pakistani jihad-terror group Le T in its 2008 assault on Mumbai that killed nearly 200 people. Headley also pleaded guilty
to taking part in a plot, along with co-conspirator Canadian-Pakistani businessman Tahawwur Rana, to attack Jyllands-Posten’s headquarters in Copenhagen and Aarhus and behead employees and throw their heads into the street.
That last bit comes from the Copenhagen Post, by the way, and is eliptically referred to in the NYT story in paragraph 21 with mention of Muslim efforts to assassinate cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, which have been thwarted only by continuing round-the-clock Danish state security.
Back to the Times Lars story, now coming straight at readers without any such context:
However, as Mr. Hedegaard’s own opinions, a stew of anti-Muslim bile and conspiracy-laden forecasts of a coming civil war, came into focus, Denmark’s unity in the face of violence began to dissolve into familiar squabbles over immigration, hate speech and the causes of extremism.
Subtext: Once Danes realized how terrible Lars Hedegaard really was, chaos. Must be that "anti-Muslim bile" stirring everything up in the first place. Really, it's this Lars Whatshisname's fault that we can't all get along. Onto paragraph 4.
But then something unusual happened.
The Times' pivot toward the Light.
Muslim groups in the country, which were often criticized during the cartoon furor for not speaking out against violence and even deliberately fanning the flames, raised their voices to condemn the attack on Mr. Hedegaard and support his right to express his views, no matter how odious.
And boy, are they Times-"odious." To wit:
The writer, who for several years edited a mainstream Danish daily, Information, is a major figure in what a study last year by a British group, Hope Not Hate, identified as a global movement of “Islamophobic” writers, bloggers and activists whose “anti-Muslim rhetoric poisons the political discourse, sometimes with deadly effect.”
In other words, Hedegaard used to be "mainstream" but now he's "Islamophobic" according to "a British group," which, by the way, has similarly identified me. (Bruce Bawer discusses the group here.)
That Danish Muslims would rally to defend Mr. Hedegaard, a man they detest --
Two-minute hate time for Timesreaders and Timesman alike over Odious and Detestable Lars: gnash, gnash, gnash --
suggests a significant shift in attitudes, or at least in strategies, by a people at the center of a European debate over whether immigrants from mostly poor Muslim lands can adjust to the values of their new and, thanks to a long economic crisis, increasingly wary and often inhospitable homes.
They have homes, those Inhospitable Europeans. And the Muslim minority is Mostly Poor. Get it? None of this strife has anything to do with the apparently non-odious, non-destable sharia (Islamic law) that Muslim immigrants bring with them to, in effect, colonize host countries, a phenomenon HIggins is wholly unconcerned with if, indeed, he has ever noticed. The wariness he injects into the story remains unconnected to "would-be" axe murderers attacking elderly cartoonists (Westergaard), plots to decapitate reporters and throw their heads in the street, and the less sensational, previolent creep of Islamic law that strangles speech, represses women, preaches supremacism and leads to conquest.
It's all about economics.
Onto paragraph 7.
“They have changed their approach,” said Karen Haekkerup, Denmark’s minister of social affairs and integration. “It is a good sign that the Muslim community is now active in the debate.”
When the news broke on Feb. 5 that Mr. Hedegaard had narrowly escaped an attack on his life, recalled Imran Shah of Copenhagen’s Islamic Society, “we knew that this was something people would try to blame on us."
Cloud of suspicion.
"We knew we had to be in the forefront and make clear that political and religious violence is totally unacceptable.”
The Islamic Society, which runs Denmark’s biggest mosque and played an important role in stirring up passions against the cartoons of Muhammad, swiftly condemned the attack on Mr. Hedegaard. It also said it regretted its own role during the uproar over the cartoon, when it sent a delegation to Egypt and Lebanon to sound the alarm over Danish blasphemy, a move that helped turn what had been a little-noticed domestic affair into a bloody international crisis.
This paragraph is in the proud Times tradition of Pulitzer-Prize-winner and Ukraine Terror Famine denier Walter Duranty. In fact, Higgins is a Puitzer-Prize-winner, too.
First, the celebrated Higgins turned Imran Shah himself into "it" (Copenhagen's Islamic Society), which hides the role Shah personally played with others "in stirring up passions" (leaving 200 people dead, etc.) against the cartoons -- but also against Denmark itself for daring to defend, alone among Western nations, free speech in direct contradiction of Islamic law.
It is Denmark's difficult, lonely and fractious struggle against the imposition of Islamic law in Denmark that is at the core of the so-called Cartoon Crisis, something Timesman Higgins remains willfully blind to.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Society's Shah and Ahmed Akkari are only now, seven-plus years later, in the wake of the Hedegaard assassination attempt, finally professing "some" regret. Akkari, however, still blames the newspaper itself for what amounts to its transgression against Islamic, not Danish, law.
Indeed, the Times unconsciously seems to admit this when it describes the Danish Muslims forays into the Middle East as a way "to sound the alarm over Danish blasphemy."
Such a statement is staggering. It is as if the NYT is saying: The Danes blasphemed so Denmarks' Muslim minority sounded the alarm.
The newspaper article continues:
Another Islamic organization, Minhaj ul Quran International, the Danish offshoot of a controversial group in Pakistan that has taken a hard line at home against blasphemy, added its own voice, organizing a demonstration outside Copenhagen’s city hall to denounce the attack on Mr. Hedegaard and defend free speech.
What, pray tell, is a "hard line" against "blasphemy" -- and why didn't the NYT bother to inform us about it? In a book called Islam and Christianity, this "controversial" group's leader, Tahir ul-Qadri clearly defines that "hard line" as the death penalty. Qadri wrote:
The act of contempt of the finality of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a crime which can not be tolerated whether its commission is direct or indirect, intentional or un-intentional. The crime is so sanguine that even his repentance can not exempt him from the penalty of death.
How do I know that? I read it in a 2006 article called Free Speech in Denmark by Helle Merete Brix and ... Lars Hedegaard. (More on Qadri here.)
Is the "Danish offshoot" of the "controversial group" sincere in protesting to "defend free speech"? Has it thus broken with its super-intolerant leader? Or are we looking at so much show-and-tell for display -- as in good, old-fashioned taqqiyya (deception)?
“We Muslims have to find a new way of reacting,” said Qaiser Najeeb, a 38-year-old second-generation Dane whose father immigrated from Afghanistan. “Instead of focusing on the real point, we always get aggressive and emotional. This should change. We don’t defend Hedegaard’s views but do defend his right to speak. He can say what he wants.”
The response from native Danes has grown more equivocal over time, with some suggesting Mr. Hedegaard himself provoked violence with his strident views and the activities of his Danish Free Press Society, an organization that he set up in 2004 to defend free expression but that is best known for denouncing Islam.
The vileness intensifies. In Timesworld, writing articles -- such as the one quoting the openly murderous intent of a key Muslim leader, for example -- "provokes" an assassination attempt. It's those strident views of Hedegaard's (words!) -- and the "activities" the Free Press Society (speeches, usually requiring heavy state security just to make them!) that is the cause of all the trouble. So shut up already, Lars. Onto paragraph 13.
“I think that Hedegaard wanted this conflict,” Mikael Rothstein, a religious history scholar at the University of Copenhagen, said during a discussion on Danish television, adding that “brutal words can be as strong as the brutal physical act of violence.”
Note to Rothstein: Which would you prefer crashing down on your neck?
Previously shunned by Denmark’s intellectual and political elite, Mr. Hedegaard, who was uninjured in the attack and is living in a safe house under police protection, has been front-page news, even in newspapers that consider him a deliberately provocative racist, which he denies.
Look, he wasn't even hurt -- and we all know what a provocative racist's denial is worth. Onto paragraph 15.
Surfacing last week from a safe house for a meeting in the Danish Parliament organized by his Free Press Society, Mr. Hedegaard received a standing ovation after a speech in which he said, “I don’t have a problem with Muslims but do have a problem with the religion of Islam.”
What an Odious and Detestable audience of Wary and Inhospitable Racists. Onto paragraph 16.
Asmat Ullah Mojadeddi, a medical doctor and the chairman of the Muslim Council of Denmark, a group set up after the cartoon crisis to counter radical Muslims prominent in the news media, described Mr. Hedegaard as a mirror image of reckless Muslims who shoot off their mouths heedless of the consequences.
Note to Times: It isn't reckless mouths shooting of we're worring about. It's pointed guns.
“There are stupid people everywhere,” Dr. Mojadeddi said. “Mr. Hedegaard is an extremist, and there are definitely extremist Muslims.”
Brutal words, brutal actions, extremist Lars, extremist Muslims. Onto paragraph 17.
Hoping to take advantage of the furor stirred by the attack, a tiny but vociferous anti-Muslim outfit called Stop the Islamization of Europe organized a rally Saturday in central Copenhagen. Its leader, Anders Gravers, a xenophobic butcher from the north, fulminated against Muslims and the spread of halal meats, but only 20 people turned up to show support. There were many more police officers, on hand to prevent clashes with a larger counterdemonstration nearby.
What was the larger group counter-demonstrating about? Just curious (oops, forgot this was the NYT.)
Who tried to kill Mr. Hedegaard is still a mystery. In an e-mail, he wrote, “My attacker was an immigrant or descendant of immigrants — Arab or Pakistani. He spoke Danish with no accent.”
Mr. Hedegaard described how a man dressed in a postal worker’s jacket had come to his apartment building to deliver a parcel, and, “as I was standing with the package in my hands, he immediately pulled out a gun and fired at my head,” he said. Though less than a yard away, the gunman missed and fled after a struggle, Mr. Hedegaard said.
The attack followed a failed ax attack in 2010 by a Somali Muslim on Kurt Westergaard, the artist who drew a cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, and a foiled plot to behead journalists at the office of the newspaper that first published that cartoon and 11 others in September 2005.
Finally. But who's still reading?
Mr. Hedegaard and his Free Press Society championed the newspaper’s right to publish. They also railed against those in Denmark who seemed to contend that the newspaper’s lack of respect for Muslim sensitivities deserved much of the blame for the violent reaction in Muslim countries, which included attacks on Danish diplomatic missions in Syria, Lebanon and Iran.
Here we see "elite" Danish and Times' views intersecting. And good thing the Danish Muslim minority set off for the umma and sound the alarm over Danish blasphemy ....
Mr. Hedegaard has also fanned wild conspiracy theories and sometimes veered into calumny.
At a private gathering at his home in December 2009, he declared that Muslims “rape their own children. It is heard of all the time. Girls in Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins or their fathers.”
I interupt this New York Times to story to bring a news flash from Radio Netherlands Worldwide: "Sex abuse in Muslim families goes unreported."
The Times story now peters out, the reporter no doubt exhausted after his excursion through all that bile and wariness.
The comments, recorded by a journalist, later appeared online and led to legal action under a Danish law that prohibits racist hate speech. Mr. Hedegaard was convicted but later acquitted by the Supreme Court.
In an e-mail, he did not deny making the remarks that led to his prosecution but said he had not given permission for them to be published.
He said he was skeptical that Muslims had changed their attitudes, or even could shift toward greater accommodation of European norms.
“There is no such thing as ‘moderate’ Islam, and there never has been,” Mr. Hedegaard said. “There may be shades of opinion among Muslims, but as a totalitarian system of thought, Islam has remained unchanged for at least 1,200 years.”