Many Things Rotten in Denmark

Firoozeh_BazrafkanA Danish appeals court recently upheld the conviction under a Danish hate speech law of an Iranian-Danish woman for her remarks condemnatory of Islam.  Coming amidst the controversial statements by another Dane of Muslim background, this conviction raises troubling questions about who may say what about Islam.

The artist Firoozeh Bazrafkan ran afoul of Danish authorities with a blog entry printed in a December 2011 issue of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper of 2005 Danish Muhammad caricature notoriety.  Bazrafkan expressed being “very convinced that Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters.”  Such abuse resulted “according to my understanding as a Danish-Iranian” from a “defective and inhumane culture—if you can even call it a culture at all.”  Bazrafkan deemed Islam a “defective and inhumane religion whose textbook, the Koran, is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined.”

As explained in an interview, Bazrafkan had appropriated the text with light personal editing from the free speech activist Lars Kragh Andersen.   Bazrafkan acted in solidarity with Andersen after his conviction under Section 266b of the Danish Penal Code (in Danish here) for the same posting at the news website 180Grader.  As one English translation reads, Section 266b punishes any public “pronouncement or other communication by which a group of persons are threatened, insulted or denigrated due to their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation.”

Bazrafkan’s motive was “to show Lars support because, as a Danish Iranian, I know what a big problem Islamic regimes are.”  “Islamic codes give men the rights to do whatever they want to women and children,” something called “disgusting” by Bazrafkan, and “also prevent people in Iran from discussing and saying what they want.”  Bazrafkan sought an “artistic manifesto to show that we cannot say what we want and we cannot criticize Islamic regimes.” Accordingly, Bazrafkan’s website includes a video showing a casually-clothed Bazrafkan jump roping on top of an Ayatollah Khomeini photo (other Bazrafkan criticisms of Islam and Iran are available here and here).

Denmark’s Western High Court on September 16, 2013, convicted her on prosecutorial appeal from successful district court defense.  From a panel of three judges and jurors each, five found Bazrafkan guilty of presenting “statements in which a group of people are mocked and degraded because of their belief.”  The reviewing court sentenced Bazrafkan to a 5,000 Kroner fine or five days in prison, a decision she intends to appeal to the Danish Supreme Court before going to prison in lieu of paying the fine.

Opposing the decision, Bazrafkan noted that she did not say that “ALL Muslim men committed horrible acts,” but merely offered a “critique of religion,” something Section 266b “shouldn’t be used to protect.”  The Iranian-born former Muslim Bazrafkan had also previously criticized Judaism and Christianity, but was more concerned with her repressed relatives in Iran.  Bazrafkan claimed for people the right “to write whatever they want,” even “if it’s stupid or well formulated…so long as they don’t threaten other people.”  Police dismissed a person who threatened to dismember and feed to his dogs Bazrafkan, meanwhile, as unserious.

Bazrafkan’s intellectual arguments were unavailing in part because, as Jesper Langballe stated during his December 3, 2010, district court “confession,” Section 266b’s “sole criterion of culpability…is whether someone feels offended…not whether what I have said is true or false.”  Like Bazrafkan, the Danish parliamentarian Langballe suffered a conviction for condemning Islamic norms justifying abuses of women.  Indeed, Danish country reports to the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (see here and here) describe Section 266b as applicable to anyone who “makes a statement or imparts other information” with the stipulated offensive nature.  Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard, meanwhile, narrowly escaped a Section 266b conviction in 2012 after the Danish Supreme Court determined that he had no intention of publicly disseminating his condemnation of Muslim male treatment of females.

Concurrent with Bazrafkan’s legal difficulties, Yahya Hassan, an 18-year-old Palestinian-Danish poet, has attributed high criminality rates among Danish youths with migrant Muslim backgrounds to poor Muslim parenting.  Hassan, who entered an institution at age 13 after several years of juvenile delinquency, complained of watching “our fathers passively rot on the couch with the remote in their hands, living off state benefits, accompanied by a disillusioned mother who never put her foot down.”  Muslim youth “who became criminals and bums…weren’t let down by the system, but by our parents.”  Although Hassan has not faced any Section 266b prosecutions, numerous graphic death threats have appeared at the Facebook page of a television show in which he appeared.

With European societies becoming increasingly heterogeneous, Islamic beliefs and behaviors criticized by Bazrafkan and Hassan demand discussion in an open forum free from legal retribution.  Serious policy issues concerning Islam in free societies will simply not disappear due to a politically correct mandated silence.  Laws like Section 266b are accordingly not just a threat to liberty, but to security as well.

This article was sponsored by The Legal Project, an activity of the Middle East Forum.

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  • herb benty

    Islam is Satan’s work, his masterpiece. To be denied any critique, is to approve. What was stopped at Vienna, is now embraced. The EU is suicidal.

    • Rocky Mountain

      Sounds like the Danish legal code has been holding hands with Satan as well!

      • herb benty

        Even our Lord Jesus called Satan, “the god of this world”.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    What BS. That’s what’s rotten. It ain’t the cheese.

  • Hallgard Vormann

    It is ironic that hate crime laws that was supposed to protect weak groups are now used to silence a nation of a mere 5 millions against 1.600.000 million muslims. If anyone needs protection against Muslims it is the Danes.

  • G. Tod Slone

    In solidarity with Firoozeh Bazrafkan, I just posted the cartoon sketch I did on her on The American Dissident blogsite: http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2013/11/firoozeh-bazrafkan.html

  • glennd1

    i cannot understand why anyone who considers themselves a supporter of liberty and free speech could ever support “hate crimes” legislation. The main intention of freedom of speech is to protect offensive speech. It’s very nature is about giving minority or unpopular views a voice, insuring the majority and organs of power don’t repress the minority. To me, it’s ultimately Marxist to view speech this way as underneath it is a desire to re-engineer what people think and say.

    Even worse is the hypocrisy of protecting radical Muslims and Islam itself from criticism. The first thing that popped into my head about this woman’s statement was whether if one simply replaced the word Islam with Christianity in her statement, would anyone even raise an eyebrow? But even such equivalence can be dangerous because Christianity has reformed itself already and gotten itself largely out of government and has cleansed itself of bigoted, hateful views to a significant degree.

    Islam has not gone through any such major, formal reform. In fact the Salafist movement is the exact opposite of that kind of reform and has actually returned many devotees of Islam to a more violent and less tolerant path. The reality of Islam and Islamism in the world is that it’s at the root of so much violence around the world, and to not be able to openly and freely criticize it is truly absurd for a people that call themselves free.

    Even when Danes see the devastating results in their own societies, they shut their eyes, as many Progressive Euros do. It’s mindbogglingly irrational and hypocritical, and self-defeating. I also wonder what has happened to the self-respect and pride of such a people that they can’t even, or won’t, stand up for their own culture?

    • Drakken

      What is even funnier is that these muslims are the same savages that you support in fakestine, so your hypocrisy knows no bounds. The Europeans like the Israelis are tiring of the muslim plague in their midst and sooner rather than later will give them that Crusades on steroids that they fear. So keep trying to suppress the peoples voices, it just makes it inevitable that you will hear the sound of rifles in response.

      • glennd1

        You are still above ground? Too bad…

        • defcon 4

          Subtle threat?

    • defcon 4

      “radical” islam, islamism, islamist — all words designed to obfuscate the fact that there is only one islam: that of the totalitarian, supremacist, Jew hating, quran thumper.

  • Life’s Traveller

    From a panel of three judges and jurors each, five found Bazrafkan guilty of presenting “statements in which a group of people are mocked and degraded because of their belief.”

    The law says “pronouncement or other communication by which a group of persons are threatened, insulted or denigrated due to their race, skin color,
    national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation.”

    The law says nothing about denigrating a belief (false or otherwise). What if a given group of people were to believe in the supremacy of dogs and cats (or whatever)? Are the Danes really saying that any and all beliefs that humans can come up with must be respected and are equal under their law.

    How ridiculous from what I formerly believed to be a sensible and civilized people.

  • roccolore

    You would think after Muslims rioted over Danish cartoons that Denmark would learn not to appease terrorists.

  • bleedinell

    Europe, sadly, is beyond screwed.

  • Veracious_one

    Bazrafkan deemed Islam a “defective and inhumane religion whose textbook, the Koran, is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined.”
    Danes are afraid of the truth….

  • The Guardian

    And the Muslims didn’t even have to fire a shot. By comparison, the French surrender to Nazi Germany was an epic and gallant defense of the homeland.

  • LDMack

    Take a good look at the future of Europe. They should probably start practicing their Arabic. Didn’t these people learn about 70 years ago that appeasement does not work? Darn near cost them the continent.

  • Drakken

    It is always darkest before dawn, so with that in mind, you haven’t seen anything yet, but when the backlash begins, the muslims and their leftarded enablers will find out what happens when you push the natives too far, if you thought the Balkans and the Serbs were brutal, you ain’t see nothing yet.

    • The Guardian

      I really don’t understand the Europeans. There should be real pushback against the Muslim invasion of Europe not appeasment, coddling and voluntary dimmitude. Yet they attack Israel – who is on the frontline in the current Islamic War against the West. I don’t know about the rest of Europe, but I do think that Germany will snap at some point, and when they do, it won’t be pretty.

  • Blake

    be careful for speaking the truth about islam, you may get arrested or suicide bombed, or called a racist bigot

  • defcon 4

    Bazrafkan, she’s brave. I know Iran has death squads that act extra-nationally to Iran. It would be funny to see how the amoral lieberals twist and squirm as they try to denounce someone from an ethnic minority. On the flip side, I’ll bet no one in Denmark took offense when she criticised Christianity or Judaism — much less took legal action to persecute/prosecute it.

  • Jim Twotoes

    And I thought Denmark was a democratic country. Perhaps not.

  • Terence Sommer

    It’s just like ‘hate crimes’ in America only apply to white people.