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More on Lars Hedegaard

I was shocked to read (via Alan) about the recent attack on Lars Hedegaard, who seems to have narrowly escaped being assassinated on account of his views on Islam/Muslims.  You can hear a recent interview with Hedegaard here. As Ben Six notes:

Opinions can be ignored and gunmen can’t, and when you are in the vicinity of both it is not hard to judge which should be your priority.

It is clear that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the West (including theocrats and extremists) wouldn’t support murderous responses to people such as Hedegaard.  In fact, the next person I noticed talking about the attack, after Alan, was Raquel Saraswati. But it’s equally clear that this attack is part of a chilling pattern – one would be much more surprised to read of an attack on, say, Gilad Atzmon – which may drive some to defiance, but probably leads to many small acts of unreported self-censorship from others. 

Here’s a link to a piece which includes a useful sample of Hedegaard’s views – some of the statements seem reasonable, but it’s not hard to see why others would spark resentment.  (Sarah adds: rereading this, it might sound as though I am somehow trying to explain or justify the attack – but this absolutely wasn’t my intention.  But I don’t think we should let this attack prevent us from criticising his views, any more than it should shut down his own views.) And if his words are reported accurately –then Michael Coren’s introductory account of his views here is a little misleading.

I don’t think these comments should have sparked a criminal prosecution, and I think it’s a shame the acquittal was only on the grounds that he had not known his remarks would be published. To criminalise or censor such comments is both wrong in itself and massively counterproductive.  To track, monitor and analyse this discourse, its accuracy, and its effects (and of course the discourse of Muslim extremists) to debate the grey areas, is much more productive.

Some of the commenters under Ben Six’s post were grumbling that he had clearly been hanging out too much at Harry’s Place.  But, as I pointed out in my own comment, no one here would allow some of the truly jawdropping comments under this piece by Douglas Murray to go unchallenged.  Although I certainly don’t always see eye to eye with Murray (though sometimes I do), I don’t want to have a go at him or the Spectator, who can’t help who visits their website – but it is depressing and, I think, genuinely surprising that a comment such as:

The race wars for Europa are just beginning. Whites better wake up now before we’re a minority in our homelands.

should be recommended by 22 people, and voted down by just two.