Danish left wingers who called for the prosecution of Muhammed cartoonists now block plans to ban hate preachers from Denmark.
Controversial plans for a blacklist that would ban hate preachers from Denmark have exposed leftwing hypocrisy, as the people and parties who called for hate speech laws to prosecute the cartoonists who drew Mohammed are now citing “freedom of expression” as a reason to oppose the ban.
Under the proposals, the country’s immigration service would compile a list of religious speakers and imams who, as Politico reports would be denied visas for “encouraging terrorism and anti-democratic attitudes”.
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said he hoped the list would be revised regularly in cooperation with other countries, and cited Britain’s ban on speakers deemed extremist by the government as inspiration.
Free speech advocate Flemming Rose noted this week that hypocritically many of the people opposing the planned blacklist, in the name of free speech, were ten years ago calling for the prosecution of the artists who drew Muhammad.
As cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, Mr. Rose commissioned the Muhammad cartoons that Muslims around the world reacted to with protests and violence, leaving over 200 people dead.
Politiken reported that members of the left wing Social Liberal Party, Alternative party and Red-Green Alliance are so opposed to the plan to deny visas to radical preachers that they “will no longer drink coffee” with the government’s culture minister, Bertel Haarder.
A liberal Muslim politician in Denmark left the Social Liberal Party at the height of the Muhammad cartoons controversy in disgust at their “unholy alliance with Islamists”, which writer Kenan Malik reported the member of parliament believes is a typical attitude of liberals.
The Danish press wheeled out an unlikely advocate of free speech, Oussama El Saadi. Left wing newspaper Politiken, which condemned the Muhammad cartoons, reported that the Grimhøj Mosque head said he listened to the government’s concerns but “also to scientists and lawyers” who warn against the proposal.
He expressed fears that the government would use the blacklist “against freedom of expression”, and added that it is vital to protect “Danish values of liberalism, freedom of expression and freedom”.
Mr. El Saadi’s enthusiasm for freedom of expression and liberal values may raise eyebrows among Danes. In a documentary on the mosque he headed, the controversial religious figure stated his opposition to democracy and pledged his support for Islamic State, also calling a Danish convert to Islam who carried out a suicide attack in Syria a “hero”.
In June 2015 Grimhøj Mosque hosted the funeral of Abu Hamza, also known as Abdessamad Fateh, a Muslim who was arrested for making comprehensive plans to kill cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in “revenge” for Muhammad cartoons.
Police estimate that of the 110-plus people to have left Denmark to fight with Islamic State in Syria, around two dozen were from the infamous mosque.
Politiken asked how the left wing parties who are strongly opposed to the anti-terror proposals, which would also allow Denmark to strip citizenship from radical imams, would instead approach the problem of hate preachers.
The Alternative party said that they would “improve exit programmes” for people who want to leave “radicalised environments”, expand women’s centres and hire more social workers.
The representative from the Unity party, meanwhile, said she did not think blacklists and expelling radical preachers would help, instead arguing for more resources for Denmark’s crisis centres.