It’s dangerous to tell the truth about hostile Islam in Europe these days. Free speech campaigner Lars Hedegaard (pictured) had a close call on Tuesday when a man pretending to deliver a package tried to shoot the 70-year-old writer at his Copenhagen home. The intruder fired a shot but missed, and ran away after Hedegaard punched him in the face.
Muslim immigration has created a major threat to free speech and safety of western persons who wish to practice it. Probably the best known case was the 2004 murder of Theo van Gogh on an Amsterdam street, where he was killed by a Muslim angry about Submission, van Gogh’s film critical of Islam’s cruelty to women.
In 2010, five Muslims were arrested for plotting a mass murder at the office of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which famously published a series of controversial Mohammed cartoons. Another close call was the axe-wielding Somali attack on cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who managed to escape into his “panic” room until police arrived.
These are just a few of the anti-free-speech incidents prior to the attack on Hedegaard.
In January, Hedegaard began publishing his weekly newspaper, the Dispatch International, which reports the stories about Islam which the mainstream press fears to cover. He is also president of the Danish Free Press Society.
Canadian journalist Michael Coren discussed the case with Diana West:
For background on Hedegaard and the Dispatch International, the Oct 12, 2012, episode of Stakelbeck on Terror is useful:
‘The bullet flew past my ear’: Danish anti-Islam writer, 70, narrowly survives doorstep assassination attempt, Daily Mail, February 5, 2013
A writer and outspoken critic of Islam narrowly escaped being shot dead after he opened his door to a would-be assassin posing as a delivery man at his home in Denmark.
The gunman rang the doorbell of 70-year-old Lars Hedegaard’s apartment in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, under the pretext of delivering a parcel, but when the writer opened his front door the hitman pulled out a weapon and fired a shot that just missed Mr Hedegaard’s head.
According to Mr Hedegaard, who described how the bullet ‘flew past’ his right ear, said the sniper fled after the writer punched him in the face causing him to drop his gun.
Mr Hedegaard, who heads up a group that claims press freedom is under threat from Islam, said the attack had left him shaken but not injured.
Police in Copenhagen confirmed they were searching for the suspect, described as a ‘foreign’ man aged between 20 and 25.
Mr Hedegaard said of the shock attack: ‘The bullet flew past my right ear, after which I attacked him and punched him in the face, which made him lose the gun.’
The gunman then fled the scene, he said.
Hedegaard heads the Free Press Society in Denmark and its international offshoot, the International Free Press Society. He is also among the publishers of a weekly anti-Islam newsletter.
In April 2012 he was acquitted of hate speech over a series of statements about Muslims.
Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt condemned what she called a ‘despicable’ act.
‘It is even worse if the attack is rooted in an attempt to prevent Lars Hedegaard to use his freedom of expression,’ she said.
Mr Hedegaard has expressed support for a range of outspoken critics of Islam in Europe, including Swedish artist Lars Vilks and Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders.
‘Failed attack on my friend and Islam critic Lars Hedegaard in Denmark this morning. My thoughts are with him. Terrible,’ Wilders posted on Twitter.
The Free Press Society said it was ’shaken and angry’, but ‘relieved that the perpetrator did not succeed’.
Several Scandinavian writers, artists and journalists have been exposed to threats and violence from extremists since the 2005 publication of Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad triggered an uproar in Muslim countries.
Many Muslims believe the prophet should not be depicted at all – even in a flattering way – because it might encourage idolatry.
In 2010, a Somali man living in Denmark used an axe to break into the home of one of the cartoonists, who escaped unharmed by locking himself into a panic room.
Last year, four Swedish residents were convicted of terrorism in Denmark for plotting a shooting spree at the newspaper that first published the Muhammad caricatures.
In Sweden, Vilks has lived under police protection after a drawing he made depicting Muhammad as a dog led to death threats from militant Islamists.