Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Freedom of Speech in Denmark, but…..

with 12 comments

Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy.

The Krudttønden cafe in central Østerbro, Denmark,  was sprayed with bullets on Saturday afternoon. The attack came during a free-speech debate with controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who had depicted the prophet Muhammad in cartoons.

From the recording of the meeting on the BBC site:

We hear: “Yes, it is freedom of speech but” “the turning point is but…” “Why do we still say but…”

Sounds of shots….

There have been plenty of “buts” recently. Above of from those enemies of free-speech and liberty who begin “I condemn the Charlie Hebdo killings, But.”

 Follow latest updates

Parts of Copenhagen were on lockdown Saturday night after deadly twin attacks on the Danish capital.

A café holding an event in support of freedom of speech was attacked by two gunmen early on Saturday, leaving one man dead and three police officers injured.

After searching for the gunman for hours, police reported another shooting near a synagogue in downtown Copenhagen after midnight. One man died from a gunshot wound to the head and two police officers wre left injured. The gunman fled on foot, and police warned people to be vigilant and follow the instructions of officers flooding the city centre.

The meeting was organised by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has faced several death threats for his controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.

The attack came just over a month after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, in which Islamist terrorists killed 17 people.

The French ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray, was one of the speakers at the event, which was described by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister as a “terrorist act”.

As many as 200 bullet holes ripped through the window of the Krudttoenden café and at least two people were taken away on stretchers, including a uniformed police officer.

From here.

Also already in Wikipedia.

Deaths: Finn Nørgaard, 55, a film director, Dan Uzan was killed while guarding the synagogue in Krystalgade during a bat mitzvah celebration.

Two police officers were also hit but their injuries were said not to be life-threatening.

Danish Red-Green Unity bloc (Enhedslistens, De Rød-Grønne) statement, We must stand together against terror and extremism

Enhedslistens political spokesperson Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, said after the attack to a debate on Oesterbro :

– I think we are all deeply affected and shocked by what has just happened in Copenhagen. Everything indicates that there is a terrorist attack on a peaceful debate event. You can not condemn enough.  It is completely incomprehensible and mad that someone seems prepared to attack other people because of drawings or positions they disagree with. I hope the police quickly catch the person or the initiators behind the acts.

– The strongest response to such attacks is to show that we do not let ourselves be cowed. We must continue to think, write and draw exactly what we want.  And we must stand together and show that terrorists and extremists will not succeed to sow discord and hatred in our society.

To those about to launch statements about Lars Vilks and the Freedom of Speech seminar full of “buts“, (notably the figures present at this event, Islamophobia and the war on terror who seem to live in a world where Islamist Genociders do not exist except as a product of ‘imperialism’) we say this:

We are not prepared to engage in the dead-end of arguing about what is, or what is not, in the Qu’ran, or ‘Islam’.

But this is what one part of actually existing Islamism, Da’esh, Islamic State, right now.

Paraded in cages ‘to be burned alive’ like Jordanian pilot: ISIS releases video claiming to show 17 Kurdish fighters in humiliating procession through Iraqi city.

Each prisoner was accompanied by black clad and flag waving jihadis, some armed with AK-47s

Each prisoner was accompanied by black clad and flag waving jihadis, some armed with AK-47s

Coptic Christians Captured by Islamic State in Libya.

More on that story, International Business Times.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 15, 2015 at 11:44 am

12 Responses

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  1. I wonder who will be the first to “contextualise” this outrage, or suggest that the organisers of the meeting were being “provocative”? Will Self, Seamus Milne, the SWP or Seymour? Or maybe some new apologist will crawl out of the woodwork. I wonder, how, any would-be apologist will explain away the rank anti-Semitism of the attack on the Jewish Centre? “Blow-back” resulting from the Gaza war, perhaps?

    Jim Denham

    February 15, 2015 at 2:20 pm

  2. I hope the BBC hasn’t sent Tim Willcox to interview members of Copenhagen’s Jewish community.

    Mick O

    February 15, 2015 at 3:19 pm

  3. With a handful of very honorable exceptions, the political left in Britain has been abject on the subject of Islamist terrorism, alternately making excuses for the terrorists or blaming or – at best – ignoring their victims. This is the state of the left today, and it’s in large part why I stopped voting Labour and will not vote again for it until it:

    a) rediscovers and stands up for its principles of secularism, universal human equality and international solidarity, i.e. offers a more constructive vision that is based on something more substantial than hatred of ‘The West’ and fetishisation of militant Islam.


    b) cuts all ties with and repudiates the far too plentiful scum who are apologists or enablers for Al Qaeda, ISIS and co, be they on the far left or at the Guardian, in unions, universities and elsewhere.

    So long as the British left are apologists and water-carriers for Islamism and Islamist terrorism, I will be an enemy of the British left. Jews, gay people, women and other groups loathed and targeted by Islamists didn’t choose this situation, the British left did.


    February 15, 2015 at 3:28 pm

  4. Apparently ‘Socialist Fight‘ ( a micro-sect in the Labour Representation Committee) set the tone, saying, of Charlie Hebdo,

    “The great cry of imperialism today is “freedom of speech”. One is not permitted to shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre because although this would appear to fall under the remit of freedom of expression; this freedom is curtailed due to social responsibilities. As such one should not cry ‘scrounger’ at a minority group who suffer disproportionately from unemployment, and it may cause a social stampede and get someone beaten up in the street.”

    “Charlie Hebdo is a right-wing libertarian magazine which promotes racism, Islamophobia, sexism and homophobia. ”

    “The imperialist spy agencies of the CIA, MI5, DGSE, Mossad etc. encourage and foster these methods by ‘false flag’ operations which are calculate to inflame sectarian tensions and strengthen the hand of the state against the oppressed.

    The cause of the violence is imperialism not religious fundamentalism.

    “Islamophobia is the “racism du Jour” in the current political climate. And Charlie Hebdo lobbed in the anti Russian stuff on the Ukraine to make sure no one doubted where their true pro-Imperialist political loyalties lay.”


    Andrew Coates

    February 15, 2015 at 4:26 pm

  5. I see that the artist who designed the poppy display at the Tower of London has also received death threats. Although the media has not identified who they were from or what they said, one can only see this as the tin edge of the wedge. Incidentally, Andrew, the Daesh have executed the 21 Coptic ‘Crusaders’ (sic).

    Sue R

    February 15, 2015 at 9:31 pm

  6. Er…’thin edge of the wedge’.

    Sue R

    February 15, 2015 at 9:31 pm

  7. Today’s Graun editorial: “The right to free speech has to be weighed alongside the importance of respecting difference”: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/15/guardian-view-week-of-terror-threat-freedom-north-carolina-copenhagen

    Jim Denham

    February 16, 2015 at 9:57 am

  8. The Guardian never stops does it?

    I notice there is no mention of the Copts – whose execution is now news – or the Kurdish prisoners.

    It’s all, on the one hand, on the other, and no statement in favour of defending free speech at all.

    Only this heap of lying relativist cack,

    ” they are paying a high price for protecting the right to free speech. As in France, it is a right controversially exercised in Denmark with the publication of a series of cartoons in September 2005 depicting Muhammad. But all of Europe is engaged in an unprecedented struggle to balance the fundamental rights that are its priceless postwar inheritance with the most cherished beliefs of its new citizens. The right to free speech has to be weighed alongside the importance of respecting difference. In protecting one, there is always the risk of undermining the other. “

    Andrew Coates

    February 16, 2015 at 11:47 am

  9. I noticed that at the beginning this guardian article put on the same level the gunning of the students in the US and the shooting in Denmark. It’s not only absurd (there is no organized violence from ‘extremist’ atheist in the US or elsewhere) but for doing so they need also to bend the fact to suit their agenda. The US murderer didn’t kill because ‘their faith was an affront to his atheistic principles’ : the given justification was ihe did it because of a dispute. Moreover it’s facebook shown he was antitheistic but not extremely virulent, his main target was christianism by far, he even posted something in support of a mosque. So maybe it was not a classical US craziness (there was 20+ mass shooting since the beginning of the year) but really a hate crime, but there is no real strong information to conclude.

    Don’t get me wrong: this crime is despicable and horrible, and I’m not the kind of person to put a ‘but’ after that. Even if they were ISIS sympathisers (which they were not), there was no excuse to the crime.

    Ane Onyme

    February 16, 2015 at 1:17 pm

  10. Ane, it is distasteful of the Guardian to trade off these atrocities.

    It’s morally corrupt whataboutery.

    Andrew Coates

    February 16, 2015 at 2:02 pm

  11. Well said, Ane: my thoughts entirely!

    Jim Denham

    February 16, 2015 at 3:32 pm

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