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Many Things Rotten in Denmark
by Andrew E. Harrod
A Danish appeals court recently upheld the conviction under a Danish hate speech law of an Iranian-Danish woman for her remarks condemnatory of Islam. Coming amidst the controversial statements by another Dane of Muslim background, this conviction raises troubling questions about who may say what about Islam.
The artist Firoozeh Bazrafkan ran afoul of Danish authorities with a blog entry printed in a December 2011 issue of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper of 2005 Danish Muhammad caricature notoriety. Bazrafkan expressed being "very convinced that Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters." Such abuse resulted "according to my understanding as a Danish-Iranian" from a "defective and inhumane culture—if you can even call it a culture at all." Bazrafkan deemed Islam a "defective and inhumane religion whose textbook, the Koran, is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined."
As explained in an interview, Bazrafkan had appropriated the text with light personal editing from the free speech activist Lars Kragh Andersen. Bazrafkan acted in solidarity with Andersen after his conviction under Section 266b of the Danish Penal Code (in Danish here) for the same posting at the news website 180Grader. As one English translation reads, Section 266b punishes any public "pronouncement or other communication by which a group of persons are threatened, insulted or denigrated due to their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation."
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