UPDATE: VoiceofCanada, Jan 27/11: McHale, Vandermaas stmt re confronting Danish thought crime prosecutions feature on websites of International Free Press Society
UPDATED — The following joint statement was prepared in support of Lars Hedegaard by Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas for the Canadian chapter of the International Free Press Society of which Hedegaard is the international President.
He is on trial – beginning today - for insulting Muslims contrary to Denmark’s hate speech law, a draconian code which does not permit the truth of one’s statements to be used as a defence. Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe has already been convicted under this law.
References can be found below.
NOTE: Several minor typographical errors have been corrected in both the html and PDF versions since the statement was first published.
Dr. King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ vs. Denmark’s thought crime prosecutions: a blueprint for victory over appeasement of Islamic extremism
by Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas
January 24, 2011 [PDF, 5p]
The prosecution by Denmark of Lars Hedegaard and Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe for the thought-crime of giving offence to Muslims irrespective of whether their statements are true or not true is a legal abomination that is both an affront and a threat to all freedom loving people in the world.
Such attacks on freedom of speech have no place in any democracy let alone one that faced the horrors of Nazi occupation a scant seventy years ago. For those whose parents immigrated to Canada after enduring those depraved times our hearts are breaking as we watch Denmark now freely provide the key prerequisite for totalitarian rule – the suppression of dissension and free exchange of ideas – in order to appease those whose ideology of hate, violence and domination is as horrifying as Hitler’s National Socialism.
What, then, is the solution to ending these unjust prosecutions and halting the seemingly inexorable slide by Denmark and other European nations into Islamofascist totalitarianism?
The atrocities of Islamic extremists and the so-called justifications they provide for them will lead people to their own conclusions about the influence of Islamic doctrine, therefore, the solution is not an endless, unfocused, unwinnable war – ideological or otherwise – with the billion-plus Muslims of the world, but rather a civil rights struggle against the Danish government modeled after Dr. Martin Luther King’s success in using ‘non-violent direct action’ to combat hate and legalized injustice in the United States.
Dr. King’s April 16, 1963 letter from the Birmingham jail in Alabama, written while he was under arrest for parading without a permit, is an uncompromising, yet well-reasoned manifesto for all who seek powerful tools to confront systemic injustice and oppression, the political cowardice that allows it to exist, and those with a vested interest in silencing the voices of change. 
In a prescient passage King puts the American civil rights movement into a European context that speaks directly to the issues at hand:
“We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.”
Indeed, tactics used by American civil rights leaders included the use of both the courts and civil disobedience – the peaceful, carefully-considered breaking of unjust laws – as tools to change their nation. Dr. King explains the seeming inconsistency between the two:
“I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”
We say, let the world witness the shame of hundreds of Danish academics, journalists and politicians languishing in jail after refusing to be silenced by ‘blasphemy’ laws in their quest for justice on behalf of Muslims and non-Muslims; after refusing to plead guilty for exercising their right to free speech; after refusing to pay fines levied for breaking an unjust law.
Let the world witness Islamic thugs attacking peaceful Danish marchers with disgusting insults and, yes, perhaps even violence, while the victims of that hate – in the best tradition of U.S. civil rights workers who were captured in iconic, history-changing photos as they faced assaults, police dogs and water hoses – refuse to retaliate in kind.
Let the world witness Danes peacefully demonstrating on behalf of free speech and of them being arrested at peaceful sit-ins and protests outside the courts, police stations and offices of politicians.
But, how to respond to the argument that peaceful protest and civil disobedience will “provoke violence?” King’s purpose in writing his letter was to respond to well-meaning criticism that tensions raised by the use of peaceful marches and sit-ins during his campaign for civil rights could provoke even more violence from racists, and he provides the ultimate rebuttal to those who would rob us of our freedoms in order to appease violent extremists:
“In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn’t this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn’t this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because his unique God-consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to God’s will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.”
During the four-plus years of our work opposing ingrained state appeasement of violent aboriginal extremists in Canada we have become intimately familiar with the specious ‘provoking violence’ argument and other smear tactics used by the guilty parties and/or their appeasers, including accusations of being ‘outsiders,’ ‘interlopers,’ ‘racists,’ and of having committed the ultimate crime of having been born with ‘White Privilege’ due to the colour of our skin. These epithets are not unique to our struggle, they are used everywhere by enemies of free speech to try to discredit legitimate criticism of politically-correct extremists, to ‘contextualize’ (aka: legalize) their violence and, worst of all, to deny voices to their victims.
In sharing his magnificent vision of the great good that arises from the exposure of injustice and all the tension it creates King provides one of history’s most eloquent defences of free speech — for Hedegaard and Langballe’s right to speak out about the injustices they perceive to exist in Denmark:
“Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”
Dangerously deluded are those Canadians who do happen to open one sleepy eye to Denmark’s suppression of free speech and appeasement of extremism, but then return smugly to their slumber naively believing their rights are immune from such abuses. Christie Blatchford’s shocking book Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All of Us  proves this is not even remotely true.
In Caledonia the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — from the perspective of non-aboriginal victims and activists — has been little more than an un-enforceable, toothless tiger, openly and systemically ignored by police with tacit approval of both provincial and federal governments who are all too eager to appease violent aboriginal extremists at the expense of the innocent.
The only difference between Canada and Denmark is that what is practiced legally there is practiced illegally here.
We understand both what is at stake in Denmark, and our responsibility to speak out against the evils of suppressing open debate on a topic of national importance. We know, better than most, that the precedent of prosecuting people like Lars Hedegaard and Jesper Langballe for exercising their right to speak poses a grave danger to Canadians who are merely one pen stroke away from losing their own rights. As Dr. King said in response to critics that he was an ‘outsider’ with no right to involve himself with the affairs of Birmingham, “I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
We urge freedom loving Danes to act – and act now – to make their government more afraid of losing political power and legitimacy than of the threats from radical Islam. They must use every peaceful means necessary to embarrass their government and force it to restore and protect fundamental democratic values before it is too late – for them and for us.
Perhaps the best argument we can make for following in the footsteps of Dr. King’s use of ‘non-violent direct action’ is that his model offers an effective process of resistance that can be implemented now – before blood is running in the streets and some believe there is no other solution but armed resistance to tyranny.
The world can never eliminate extremism or the ideology that allows it to fester, but we can force our respective governments to use the law to protect our rights instead of appeasing those who would take them from us. History has proven that this is a winnable struggle, and Dr. King has provided the blueprint for victory.
Gary McHale is the founding Executive Director of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (www.CANACE.ca). Mark Vandermaas is founder of the Caledonia Victims Project (www.CaledoniaVictimsProject.ca). Their work in opposing aboriginal extremism and the racial policing practices used to appease it was featured in the 2010 book by Globe & Mail reporter Christie Blatchford, Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All Of Us. 
1. Martin Luther King Jr., ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail,’ April 16, 1963, Stanford University, The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute
See also: VoiceofCanada feature: Lessons from Dr. King (key excerpts as applied in Caledonia/Canadian context)
2. Helpless, Christie Blatchford, 2010, ISBN 13: 9780385670395, Doubleday Canada,
See also: HelplessByBlatchford project:
About the prosection of thought crimes in Denmark
266b of the Danish penal code
Whoever publicly or with the intent of public dissemination issues a pronouncement or other communication by which a group of persons are threatened, insulted or denigrated due to their race, skin colour, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation is liable to a fine or incarceration for up to two years.
Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe has already been convicted of the same ‘offence’ for elaborating on Hedegaard’s comments about Muslim family violence:
“Of course Lars Hedegaard should not have said that there are Muslim fathers who rape their daughters when the truth appears to be that they make do with killing their daughters (the so-called honour killings) and leave it to their uncles to rape them.”
In his explanation of why he chose to plead guilty to the charge after discovering he would not be permitted to make a defence, Langballe concludes as follows:
Let my finally address the accusation that I have generalised – to the effect that my remarks might be seen to encompass every Muslim. That is a meaningless interpretation. The mentioning of honour killings in my text refers to the passage that “there are Muslim fathers who …” And the words “there are” can never express a totality but must always mean a subset. Let us assume – as a counter test – that I had written the opposite: “There are no Muslim fathers [who kill their daughters].” Any reasonably knowledgeable person would recognise this as a flagrant untruth.
To sum up: In the clear light of hindsight I do not like the tone in that passage. The truth of it, however, I stand by completely. And frankly, personally I find the case itself – those gruesome murders of innocent young girls – a good deal more relevant that the question of my failing stylistic abilities.”
- IFPS-Canada, Jan 25/11: Awaiting the Verdict (English translation of Lars Hedegaard’s statement to Danish Court of Frederiksberg, Jan 24/11 )
My counsel has instructed me that in cases brought under Article 266b, the only thing that determines whether one is convicted or not is a matter of the perceived insult whereas one is barred from proving the truth of the statement. [...]When it comes to Article 266b, there is no equality before the law. I am daily insulted and degraded by something I read or hear and I am sure that most people have the same experience.For example, I am not only insulted and degraded and threatened, but shaken to the core of my being when I hear a well known Danish imam state that, of course, sharia law — Muslim law — will be instituted as Denmark’s official legal regime when there are a sufficient number of Muslims. I strongly urge our country’s jurists to get acquainted with the implications of the sharia, not only for Muslims but equally for non-Muslims, who — if they are lucky — will be reduced to a life as subhuman outlaws. And if one cannot be bothered with tedious dissertations, one may take a look at the legal order pertaining in areas where the sharia holds sway either de jure or de facto. One will then encounter a legal order the like of which we have not known since the passing of the Law of Jutland in 1241 and probably not before.But the imam wants this disorder introduced in the country where I was born. And I must admit that I am troubled. I am also troubled when said imam defends the killing of Muslims who have left Islam and when he confirms that women and men guilty of fornication must be pelt with stones until they are dead. He thinks that is God’s commandment, which he cannot ignore.Should I go to the police and tell them how threatened, insulted and degraded I feel? I wouldn’t dream of it for I support free speech. And if free speech has any real meaning, it must also — and in particular — protect statements people do not want to hear. Regardless of how revolting such statements may be.Besides it would be futile to report the imam and those similarly disposed to the police for the public prosecutor would never indict them. Otherwise it would have happened long ago.As jurisprudence shows, not only in Denmark but in all European countries with similar insult articles in their penal code, these insult articles open the gates to inequality before the law. There are insulted who enjoy the tender graces of the public prosecutor, and there are the less favoured who must endure insults directed at them.
In conclusion permit me to mention the true victims in this case. The public prosecutor has not considered the 20,000 women in the Muslim world who every year fall victim to so-called honour killings, or the 50,000 Muslim girls in Germany who the federal police consider threatened with genital mutilation, nor the hundreds of thousands of little girls in Muslim majority societies who have been sold into marriage with much older men and who must therefore live a life of constant rape, while Islamic scholars preach that this is in complete accordance with religious orthodoxy.
I hope that the judge as opposed to the public prosecutor will consider the fate of these unfortunate human beings. Likewise I hope that the judge will realise the absurdity of prosecuting me for statements made within the confines of my own four walls. For ten months the prosecutor has been aware of the conditions under which I spoke. That has not affected him in the slightest. I hope it will affect the judge.
- The statement by Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas has now been posted as a ‘Featured Story’ on the websites of both the Canadian chapter of the International Free Press Society (IFPS-Canada) and the international umbrella organization based in Denmark (IFPS):
- IFPS-Canada, Jan 19/11: Massive international support for Lars Hedegaard
- see also: IFPS-Canada reprint – Melanie Phillips, Jan 11/11: The Danish witch-hunt against the truth-tellers
- see also: IFPS-Canada, Dec 12/10, The Scandal of Danish Justice (reprint – I Confess: Danish MP Jesper Langballe pleads guilty of hate speech after being denied the right to prove his case)
- IFPS-Canada, Professor Phyllis Chesler-Arutz Sheva, Jan 15/11: Free speech has died in Europe
- IFPS-Canada, Alyssa A. Lappen, Jan 21/11: Though Europe rots we must defend the West
- IFPS-Canada, Salim Mansur, PhD, Jan 13/11: A Muslim asks that Denmark reprieve herself from being cast in the verdict of history as an “executioner” of free speech
- IFPS-Canada reprint – Melanie Phillips, Jan 11/11: The Danish witch-hunt against the truth-tellers
- IFPS-Canada, Lawrence Auster, Jan 10/11: Danish government is prosecuting individuals for “hate speech”
- IFPS-Canada, Diana West, Jan 08/11: URGENT: The lights are going out in Denmark
- IFPS-Canada website: www.ifpscanada.com
Mark Vandermaas, Editor