‘A Stew of Anti-Muslim Bile and Conspiracy-Laden Forecasts’


At 11:20 a.m. on Feb. 5, Lars Hedegaard answered his door bell to an apparent mailman. Instead of receiving a package, however, the 70-year-old Danish historian and journalist found himself face to face with a would-be assassin about one third his age. The assailant shot him once, narrowly missing his head. The gun locked, Hedegaard wrestled with him, and the young man fled.

Given Hedegaard’s criticism of Islam and his even being taken to court on criminal charges of “hate speech,” the attack reverberated in Denmark and beyond. The Associated Press reported this incident, which was featured prominently in the British press, including the Guardian, the Daily Mail, and the Spectator, as well as in Canada’s National Post. The Wall Street Journal published an article by him about his experience.

When the New York Times belatedly bestirred itself on Feb. 28 to inform its readership about the assassination attempt, it did not so much report the event itself but an alleged Muslim support for Hedegaard to express himself. As implied by the title of Andrew Higgins’ article, “Danish Opponent of Islam Is Attacked, and Muslims Defend His Right to Speak,” he mainly celebrates Danish Islam: “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 [emphasis added].” This theme pervades the piece; for example, Karen Haekkerup, the minister of social affairs and integration, is quoted pleased that “the Muslim community is now active in the debate.”

(For a close dissection of this agitprop, see Diana West’s evisceration; and see Andrew Bostom’s analysis for a comparison of Higgins to Walter Duranty, the NYT reporter who whitewashed Stalin’s crimes.)

Secondarily Higgins delegitimizes Hedegaard, my topic here. In addition to the snarky “no matter how odious” reference, Higgins dismisses Hedegaard’s “opinions” as “a stew of anti-Muslim bile and conspiracy-laden forecasts of a coming civil war” and claims the Dane has “fanned wild conspiracy theories and sometimes veered into calumny.”

These characterizations of Hedegaard’s work are a vicious travesty. A few specifics:

1. What Higgins airily dismisses as Hedegaard’s “opinions” is in fact a substantial oeuvre in several academic books and articles laden with facts and references dealing with Islamic ideology, Muslim history, and Muslim immigration to Denmark. Those books include:

I krigens hus: Islams kolonisering af Vesten [In the House of War: Islam’s colonization of the West] (with Helle Merete Brix and Torben Hansen). Aarhus, Hovedland, 2003

1400 års krigen: Islams strategi, EU og frihedens endeligt [The 1400 Year War: Islam’s strategy, the EU and the demise of freedom] (with Mogens Camre). Odense, Trykkefrihedsselskabets Bibliotek, 2009

Muhammeds piger: Vold, mord og voldtægter i Islams Hus. [Muhammad’s girls: Violence, murder and rape in the House of Islam] Odense, Trykkefrihedsselskabets Bibliotek, 2011

Hedegaard’s major articles include:

“Den 11. september som historie” [September 11 as history] in Helle Merete Brix and Torben Hansen (eds.), Islam i Vesten: På Koranens vej? Copenhagen, Tiderne Skifter, 2002.

“The Growth of Islam in Denmark and the Future of Secularism” in Kurt Almqvist (ed.), The Secular State and Islam in Europe. Stockholm, Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation, 2007

“Free Speech: Its Benefits and Limitations” in Süheyla Kirca and LuEtt Hanson (eds.), Freedom and Prejudice: Approaches to Media and Culture. Istanbul, Bahcesehir University Press, 2008

“De cartoon-jihad en de opkomst van parallelle samenlevingen” [The cartoon jihad and the emergence of parallel societies] in Hans Jansen and Bert Snel (eds.), Eindstrijd: De finale clash tussen het liberale Westen en een traditionele islam. Amsterdam, Uitgiverij Van Praag, 2009

To the best of my knowledge, no one has claimed these writings contain sloppy scholarship or wrong references. As Hedegaard puts it, “I am a university-trained historian and take my craft seriously.” The real criticism of Hedegaard is not about his scholarship – but that he raises difficult and even unpleasant questions.

And, as someone who has written two books on conspiracy theories, I judge Hedegaard’s writings innocent of that intellectual sin.

2. Higgins ascribes to him “forecasts of a coming war”; but these are not his forecasts, only his reporting what Islamist texts and spokesmen themselves predict and advocate.

3. Higgins writes that Hedegaard “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’.”

“Islamophobia” is a silly neologism intended to vilify anyone who criticizes Islam or even Islamism.

As for “sometimes with deadly effect”: that is applied to the whole group of 100 organizations and individuals in the Hate not Hope listing, not to Hedegaard individually. Higgins nastily insinuates that Hedegaard is responsible for deadly attacks on Muslims when, in fact, he was the victim not the perpetrator of an attack. (Hope not Hate, by the way, lists both the Middle East Forum and me in its Counter-Jihad Report; it flatters me as the “Powerhouse behind the international counter-jihadist movement.”)

In conclusion, it’s not “a stew of anti-Muslim bile and conspiracy-laden forecasts” but “a cocktail of sensible critiques and unsettling analyses.” Higgins has written a stew of shoddy aspersions of a brave, distinguished, and accomplished writer with whom I co-authored an article “Something Rotten in Denmark?” in 2002 and who is currently a colleague at the Middle East Forum.

Shame on Higgins for this article and shame on the New York Times for publishing him.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2013 All rights reserved by Daniel Pipes.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Guess what, all anti-Islamists are in the same boat, but that doesn't mean that we have to shut up. To the contrary.

    It goes without saying, while the left is busy tarring everyone with this or that bugaboo, all for the "crime" of speaking the truth, leftists are busy tarring the most endangered group of all – Jews. Therefore, the following are some lessons to be learned – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/03/03/an-authentic-

    In fact, the above duly mentions the plight of all those who do not abide by the "omerta".

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • UraFecalLiberal

      The New Yuck Slimes should have written this as the last sentence in the article: "Now that we prostrated and prostituted ourselves to you, could we ask that you don't blow us up, or kill any of our staff? Please call this direct line if you have any questions or demands: 1 800 BEND OVER."

  • Albert Reingewirtz

    Expecting the N.Y. Times to be honest and not on the side of Islamists is a bit much. Why do y9ou even read this rag Mr. Pipes?

    • Edward Cline

      Because it is allegedly the nation's "newspaper of record." It sets the journalistic standard for all other liberal/leftist newspapers in the country. Reading it is not a waste of time, because if one is going to rebutt pro-Islamist arguments and positions, one must know what the enemy is saying and thinking.

  • Paul Marks

    The idea that the New York Times will fairly report the position and activities of an historian and polticial writer with whom it disagrees is not realistic – the NYT is a leftist propaganda sheet. The astonishing thing is that people still cling to this early 1900s idea of an "objective" "scientific" jounalism. Sorry but this "School of Journalism" thing has always been a cover for the deceptions of the "Progressive" moverment – it has just got more blatent with time.

  • Demetrius M

    One of these days, a NYT reporter will write the truth about islam and they too will have a knock at the door. As the saying goes, what goes around…

    • nina

      As I see it, t here is no danger of that happening in the near future.

  • Gee

    Oh dear me – another Islamophobic, that is the only real crime in the entire world. Whatever happen to free speech?

    That seems to be reserved for leftists and other fascists

  • Ar'nun

    No one is surprised the NewYork Dhimmi Times pushes this type of nonsense on its low information subscribers. And I agree 100% that Daniel Pipes is the “Powerhouse behind the international counter-jihadist movement.” This is a good thing, keep up the good work Mr. Pipes.

  • Jaladhi

    It has been proven time and time again NYtimes editors and reporters are a bunch of morons continuing the tradition of Walter Duranty – lying and cheating the readers of the truth. NYTimes staff wouldn't recognize the truth even if it stared them in their eyes. I just wonder if they have ever aplogized to their readers about Walter Duranty's priase of stalin era in the Soviet Union?

  • Jaladhi

    >"Shame on Higgins for this article and shame on the New York Times for publishing him."

    Dr. Pipes, these people have no shame or they would have stopped lying to American public a lon time ago. But they continue Walter Duranty's tradition – why don't they rename themselves "Duranty Times" as they are often known among us.

  • Aisha22

    The N.Y. Times reporters are afraid of Muslim thug-ism…so they bow and scrape to the Muslims in hope that they won't be targeted! They forget how little respect Muslims have for reporters…they rape and murder reporters with impunity. Bowing and scraping doesn't do it!

  • Mickey Oberman

    It's The New York Times.
    What did you expect from that fish wrap.

  • Kanders

    So, are we to call Muslims who persecute Christians 'Christianophobes?'

  • http://twitter.com/historyscoper @historyscoper

    There is only one God. – Big deal. Anybody can believe that.

    I am the one God's final prophet. – Excuuse me, you're NUTS.

    That's why Islam is one big lie.

  • kaz

    dont you know that the first amendment exists only to protect the speech of the enemies of freedom? all of you who are against islamic slavery and genocide just shut up. you have no rights. it is those whos allah-ordained duty is to kill you who have the protection of free speech. and free immigration. and free welfare. and government supported polygamy. and government protection from those they are sworn to kill. there are only two enemies of western civilization more dangerous than muslims: your own governments, and your "watchdog" media.

  • Kevin

    “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.”

    OK, Mr. Rothstein, you talk and I'll punch and we'll see who hits the floor first!

    • defcon 4

      Mikael sounds like any one of the highly educated idiots I've met who graduate from universities these days. I'd like to see Mikael take Kevin up on his offer though!

  • Doug Mayfield

    How do you become an Islamophobe? Associate with gun toting
    Right wing nuts? No.

    First you're an an evil-phobe, a murder-phobe, a rape-phobe,
    an atrocity-phobe, all of which are committed on a daily basis
    in every Islamic country around the world, because anyone
    who adopts Islam hates and fears such concepts as freedom and
    individual rights.

    You become an Islamophobe because you actually have values.

    Such as, there is right and wrong, and because yo have values, you
    condemn those who commit evil acts on behalf of, in the grip of, the
    evil ideology that is Islam.

    I'll be a dedicated Islamophobe until I die or the evil that is Islam
    is wiped from the face fo the earth.

    • alfred ferguson

      I don't know about "wiped from the face of the earth". That would appear a bridge too far–to ask for. But surely we could ask for major news sources to simply tell the truth about this so-called "religion of peace". And the truth, if truth be told, and folks be free to receive it and act on it, will quickly dissolve in its crucible that horrific compound of noxious beliefs.