Lars Hedegaard: Free Speech Warrior Fighting the Islamization of Europe
A discussion with Lisa Benson and Jerry Gordon (April 2016)
Lars Hedegaard, founder of the Danish Free Press Society
Lars Hedegaard Founder of the Danish and International Free Press Societies was interviewed on The Lisa Benson Show, Sunday, March 13, 2016. Hedegaard discussed his struggle and survival fighting a Palestinian émigré shooter disguised as a Danish postman in an attempted assassination in February 2013. Today Hedegaard lives under 24/7 protection by the Danish security police in what he calls "a near Fort Knox-like complex." He addressed Denmark’s inundation by the current massive wave of Muslim immigration, desperate assertion of border control and the repression of free speech concerning the Islamization of Europe. See our original interview with Hedegaard published in the New English Review Press collection, The West Speaks.
Hedegaard was forthright and honest about his experience in the face of the attempt on his life in February 2013 by a well educated Arab engineer who had become radicalized. The perpetrator, "BH," fled Denmark, was arrested in Turkey in April 2014, only to be traded in an agreement to secure the release of Turkish diplomats held in Mosul, Iraq in October, despite Danish extradition requests. "BH" could have ended up in Syria with the Islamic State, as did one of his cohorts who Hedegaard said had been killed by the Americans recently. Almost Kafkaesque was Hedegaard's discussions of the fines levied recently on him and others in the Danish Free Press Society publishing group, other Danish media and PEGIDA.dk for revealing "BH's" true identity.
His discussion of the political and social environment in neighboring Sweden, about which we also heard from Kent Ekeroth, Sweden Democrat and Riksdag parliament deputy in our interviews with him, is appalling. Hedegaard spoke of Geert Wilders being denied the opportunity to speak in Sweden by hordes of protesters. He also discussed the persecution of the Jews of Malmo now fleeing Sweden as well as the violent rapes and sexual assaults inflicted on unwary Swedish girls and women by Muslim migrant males. In Sweden, today, “it is nearly impossible to hold an open meeting.”
Hedegaard spoke about the ineptness of the current center-right ruling coalition government in Denmark. He suggests that the public outrage in his country presages a move to the right politically in the hopes that might stanch Islamic immigration and bolster free speech from intimidation by the EU.
While Denmark's Jews may not be as threatened as are Sweden's, nevertheless, Hedegaard cited the recent occurrence of a 16 year-old girl Islamic convert from Kundby, Denmark and her 24 year old boyfriend, a returned ISIS fighter, caught attempting to bomb a Jewish Day school in Copenhagen. More of that, as Hedegaard opined, might spur Denmark’s 6,400 Jews to emigrate to Israel, Canada or the US. Despite its small size, the Jewish community has made many contributions to the Scandinavian country over the last 200 years.
Hedegaard readily admitted that he is not a man of the right by virtue of his former Marxist political background which he now rejects. Nevertheless, he believes that background has enabled him to analyze the dangers of Islamization to his country, Europe and the West. His response to a final question about what message he wanted to send to the Lisa Benson Show program listeners was, "Keep the Faith. Don't be intimidated. You might as well be killed standing than crawling on your knees." That brought a rejoinder from host Benson about a General saying, "keep up the fire." That reminded this writer of how Danish editorial cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, responded to a similar question in a 2009 interview, "free speech, use it!!"
Watch this The Rebel.media Andrew Lawton's interview with free speech ‘warriors’ Lars Hedegaard and Paul L. Weston of LibertyGB, recorded in Toronto following a terror attack during their respective speaking tours in Canada and the US in March 2016.
Against this background, what follows is the discussion with Hedegaard by co-hosts of The Lisa Benson Radio Show, Ms. Benson and Jerry Gordon, Senior editor of the New English Review.
Lisa Benson: Welcome America. Hello everyone and thank you for joining us this evening. This is your host, Lisa Benson, broadcasting from Phoenix, Arizona, KKNT 960 The Patriot. It is my great honor to bring you the courageous Lars Hedegaard. I have waited a long time for this interview. Thanks to my co-host, Jerry Gordon for setting up this interview. Welcome, Jerry.
Jerry Gordon: Glad to be back.
Benson: Jerry is our co-producer, researcher, and senior editor of the New English Review. Most of you who tune in weekly know that the Lisa Benson Radio Show for national security matters also facilitates a nationwide mobilization citizen action, The National Security Task Force of America. I would like to thank you for that and bring on our guest. Lars Hedegaard. Welcome to the broadcast.
Lars Hedegaard: Nice to be with you.
Benson: I want to introduce you as one of the most courageous fighters for freedom of speech. I can remember where I was when I heard the story of an attempt on your life. Would you mind telling that story?
Hedegaard: Yes, I’ll be glad to. It was on the fifth of February 2013. I was preparing to leave my home in the Copenhagen district of Fredericksburg to go to our office in Malmo Sweden. Somebody rang the doorbell. Turned out to be a man dressed up as a mailman or postman. He was dressed in the red jacket of our mailmen. He said he had a package for me. I went downstairs, I opened the door. He handed me a package that turned out to be empty, as the police found out. As I was holding the package, he pulled out a gun and shot at my head. He missed, fortunately, and the bullet went right past my right ear, which was good, because I had an accident when I was a kid and I can’t hear anything in my right ear. So it didn’t really faze me that much. He then tried to reload or recock the gun and I attacked him. We engaged in a fist fight and we fought for a while. He grabbed his gun and ran away. So that was what happened.
Benson: Hearing this story from you, I am speechless. My question for you did a miracle happen that day?
Hedegaard: There were so many things that had to click at the same time for me not to be killed that you would actually need a whole bunch of mathematicians to figure out the likelihood that I wasn’t killed. So yes, I certainly believe that there’s a force steering me. You don’t know how you’re going to react when you meet a gunman. I could have fallen to my knees and begged for my life. Then, I would have been dead. But something inside of me compelled me to attack him, which was the right thing to do.
Benson: How old were you at that time?
Hedegaard: I was 70.
Benson: There was a divine intervention for you. Your job is not done, Lars Hedegaard.
Hedegaard: You could certainly think that. My would be assassin was 28.
Benson: Incredible. Was he found?
Hedegaard: Eventually he was. He fled the country the same day, as far as we knew, and went to Turkey. In April of 2014, he was apprehended in Istanbul where he was traveling on a fake passport. He was, of course, jailed under an arrest order issued by the Danish court. He was then put in jail for a while in Istanbul, but released in September of that year. We believe he was exchanged for some Turkish Diplomats in Mosul, Iraq, and is now with the Islamic state.
Gordon: This illustrates the extent to which Islamic extremists among Muslim émigrés in Europe have been inspired by their colleagues in ISIS to attack defenders of free speech like Hedegaard and others. Ironically, not only in, Scandinavian countries, but also throughout Europe, even here in the United States. Hedegaard is heroic.
Benson: Lars, it’s just incredible that it has been well over three years since the event you just described occurred which was horrific. Now, incredibly you have been charged by the Danish police with violating the identity of your attempted assassin. Why are they doing that at this juncture? Isn’t that essentially another example of Islamic intimidation of Western free speech?
Hedegaard: First of all, I have to explain why I mentioned his name, in spite of a gag order that he should not be mentioned, his picture should not be shown. It goes back to 2014 when in early September of that year, I received a call from the Danish security police, who informed me that BH, as he’s called, was out of jail. They didn’t know how this had happened. They didn’t know where he was, which means that in principle, he could be on his way back to Denmark. He could go to Sweden, cross the bridge from Sweden to Copenhagen and start hunting me down again. I waited a month and a half and then decided to publish his name, which, by the way, was already out in the Turkish press months before. I did that because it is in my interest that he become as well-known as possible for my self-protection. Now, the gag order stands in spite of the fact that he is on the run from Danish justice. I was fined 10,000 kroner, about $1,500.00 plus court expenses, for having mentioned his name. Several other people are now in line to be similarly convicted including the publisher of my recent book that came out in November 2015 where I did mention his name. The publisher is now also being charged, as is a reviewer for one of the big Copenhagen dailies, because she mentioned the name. The radio station, the current president of the Danish Free Press Society and several others were similarly fined. So they have a long line of people that they want to convict. Now, the question is why?
Benson: Yes, why?
Hedegaard: Why? The police in Denmark have said that they have nothing against revealing his name. So it’s not a question of the criminal investigation. The only thing I can think of is that they want to protect this man from being revealed as a Muslim.
Benson: What is his ethnicity Lars?
Hedegaard: As far as I know, he is Palestinian Arab.
Benson: I didn’t know that.
Hedegaard: He had been living in Denmark so long that he spoke Danish without an accent. He has a higher education as an engineer from one of our universities. In principle, he would be considered very well integrated, except for the fact that he was also a terrorist.
Benson: Do they know how he was radicalized?
Hedegaard: No. However, he used to attend a radical mosque, which is not difficult to do in Denmark. He has family in Sweden and, went to a junior college in Fredericksburg Copenhagen with another guy, who was recently killed by the Americans in Syria. So he has been radical for as long as we can look back.
Benson: How do you recover from an attempt on your life? How do you move forward from that emotionally?
Hedegaard: Well, yes. The police, sent a psychologist to talk to me a few times. But I’m not that upset about it.
Benson: Could you explain that?
Hedegaard: You have to realize that you cannot allow yourself to be brought down by an action of this kind. Because then you have handed the victory to your foes. Frankly speaking, I sleep well at night and I rarely think of the events three years ago. This is what you must expect and it’s going to get worse. I won’t be the only one attacked. Two people were shot dead in Copenhagen in February last year.
Benson: I remember.
Hedegaard: My friend, Lars Vilks from Sweden was almost killed by terrorists. We are going to see more of this. So it doesn’t help anyone to get scared or to, lose faith. We’ve have to keep faith. Otherwise, we are done for.
Benson: This is your message to the rest of us out there on radio or writing blogs telling the truth about what is happening in our communities here.
Hedegaard: I’m going to continue telling the truth.
Benson: Yes. We are doing a documentary on what is happening in the bible belt. It’s not going to be easy doing it, because what is the alternative? There are consequences for not telling your story or other stories like happening around the United States. It is worse if we keep silent.
Hedegaard: Absolutely. Please remember that even if you do not speak up, you will be dead anyway. I mean, when they come for you, they’ll come for anyone. Any infidel, any Jew, any Christian, any Buddhist regardless of whether or not they have spoken the truth or even spoken. So this is what you have to remember. You cannot hide.
Benson: Lars, you founded the Danish Free Press Society. What prompted you to do so and what has been the impact in Denmark?
Hedegaard: The reason that I and some other people did it was that we could see that free speech was being threatened by two forces. First of all, Islam. Secondly, the European Union. So we decided back in 2004, to form an organization for the protection of free speech. I remained the president of that organization for 10 years until 2014, when I handed over the reins to a great group of mostly women. They are now leading the society, which is growing and keeps the flag of liberty flying. So, I’m very proud of that organization.
Benson: Does it works in concert with the Swedish Free Press Society?
Hedegaard: Yes, it does from time to time. Although, there isn’t really one in Sweden. In Sweden, you cannot even organize a public meeting.
Hedegaard: Without being attacked.
Benson: How bad has this gotten?
Hedegaard: It has gotten very bad. Every time we tried to have a meeting in Sweden. A few years ago when we brought Geert Wilders from Holland the attendees were physically attacked by a crowd of several hundred demonstrators, so-called anti-racists, who, threw eggs at them, beat them, intimidated them. Most of these people turned around and went back home. So you simply cannot have a public meeting in Sweden.
Benson: I can’t believe it. We had Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats on the show and we talked about that. Do you have a constitution with a free speech clause or do the hate speech laws of the European Union override that? What is your comment on that?
Hedegaard: Both Denmark and Sweden have their constitution guaranteeing free speech and freedom of assembly. However, the thing is that it’s not being observed. In Denmark, we can have public meetings because the police will protect us, as they do protect me. I am under it 24/7. police protection. I live in sort of a Fort Knox with safety rooms and alarm systems. So the police in Denmark will protect you. You cannot rely on the Swedish police to do the same, because it is politically correct and, in essence, siding with the far left and the Muslims.
Benson: How far away do you think we are in America to this?
Hedegaard: Depending on what president you elect later this year, unless you elect the right person, 5 to 10 years.
Benson: It is the battle for the soul of the republic that we are fighting here in the United States.
Hedegaard: Absolutely, yes.
Benson: When people visit Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, they are unaware that you are fighting for the free world against Islamic supremacy and the progressive left.
Hedegaard: Yes, the far left is in cahoots with the Muslim radicals fighting against freedom and free speech. When you talk about visitors to our country, Denmark, you can go to parts of Copenhagen and other cities without observing anything Danish. According to court decisions in Denmark, pointing out the totalitarian and cruel aspects of Islam itself is now a criminal offense considered insulting and demeaning to Muslims. Conversely, when a Danish imam called Jews the offspring of apes and pigs, he was officially reported to police, but no legal charges were filed.
Benson: Lars what would you see in Denmark now?
Hedegaard: Now in parts of Copenhagen, you don’t see Denmark any longer. You see the Middle East. You see, women clad in hijab and men with long black beards and pajamas speaking foreign tongues and looking askance at any blond, blue-eyed Danish women who happens to be there.
Benson: You have lost your country.
Hedegaard: Yes. However, I think that Denmark can still be saved.
Benson: That was my question.
Hedegaard: If we act quickly. Sweden is lost. There is no way that you can reconstitute Sweden. It’s gone.
Gordon: Lars something happened at the start of this new year. Given the broken Shengen borderless system, Denmark took back its border authority. Was that an immediate reaction to guarding its country and its citizens against further inundation from mass Muslim immigration?
Hedegaard: It’s a sham what the government did. Supposedly, they reintroduced national border controls. Doesn’t mean a thing. We are being inundated by Muslim immigrants to an extent we have never seen before. The Danish government promised to shut our borders just last year before being elected. They now expect 100,000 Muslims to come over the next year. What it really means is that this so-called border control is that people who want to come to our country, are asked would you like to have a permit. If they say yes, then the Government will pay for your stay, give you free housing, free education and money. So, it’s window dressing.
Gordon: Didn’t the ruling Danish right coalition government authorize seizure of assets from these migrants?
Hedegaard: Yes, that was a big thing in the foreign press. What it really means is that we will be treating, supposedly, immigrants the very same way we treat Danes. If you are on public welfare and you have funds or expensive jewelry or anything else, that will be taken away, because you have to pay for yourself as far as you can. So we’ve just simply introduced the same system for foreigners that we use for our own people.
Benson: Is that why you think that this could be held back? Are people In your parliament working to see that this can be reversed?
Hedegaard: The parliament is simply bewildered. They don’t know what to do. The Danes are getting restless. Increasingly they are demanding from the Prime Minister, "What the hell are you going to do about this?" You are steering our ship into an iceberg. You can see the iceberg. Then you pretend that this iceberg will melt away before the ship comes to hit it. I mean, it’s madness. More and more people are now realizing that we are being lured to our own doom.
Gordon: Hedegaard, let’s discuss the PEGIDA movement, which has erupted in a number of European countries and the UK. What role has it played in alerting the citizens to this eventuality that you have just discussed, which sounds rather dire?
Hedegaard: Yes, it does. PEGIDA means Patiotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West. It is in reaction to what is taking place. It is not the only one. Right now in Denmark, we see the upwelling of new political parties that want to stop this madness. I predict that the center-right will really vanish, because nobody can take them seriously. They are not doing anything, even though they have the power to do it. So we need new political parties and I think we’ll have them.
Benson: This is encouraging.
Benson: What was your background politically? You did not come out of the right. I can only speak for myself, I came out of the left. And here I am on the right. Can you speak to that?
Hedegaard: Absolutely. I don’t consider myself to be on the right. I haven’t really changed my political opinion.
Hedegaard: Except for the fact that I used to be a Marxist in the political sense. I used to believe in the Communist revolution. I don’t do that anymore. However, I still use a Marxist method of analysis, which is not the same as wanting Socialism or revolution. It is a way of analyzing society, analyzing why people do what they do. Few people can understand this, but this is what I do. And it stands me in good stead to be a realist and a freedom fighter.
Benson: Can you speak about the Jewish community in Denmark? Are they leaving Denmark or are they hunkering down and staying?
Hedegaard: So far, I don’t think many Danish Jews are leaving. I have some very close friends in the Jewish community. However in Sweden, the Jews are leaving. They are primarily leaving the city of Malmo right across the border from Denmark. Because they cannot walk streets without being attacked. So far I think, the police in Denmark are able to protect the Danish Jews. However, recently a 15-year-old girl, a convert to Islam, and her ISIS mentor had prepared bombs to blow up the Jewish school in Copenhagen. I’m sorry to say it won’t be long before most Danish Jews will have to go to Israel. Which will be a great loss to our country considering what the Jews have contributed to our culture over 200 years.
Benson: Yes. a story broke this week about British Jews leaviing to go to the United States and to Israel. They are leaving Great Britain.
Hedegaard: And the French Jews.
Benson: I could applaud them for the bravery to leave their country. Maybe they have learned from the past.
Hedegaard: I think they ought to. Take a lesson from those people.
Benson: It is hard for us to wrap our head around this if we do not change our leadership in the United States of America in 5 or 10 years, we could be on the same path. We are only 14 million Jews worldwide, 7.5 million living in Israel, the rest in the Diaspora. We will have to make aliyah to Israel. The Europeans can’t protect us and what happens if the leadership in the United States is not changed? There is so much that is resting on this election. Are you traveling through the United States and Canada to talk to people?
Hedegaard: Yes, I’m in Canada and will be traveling in a couple of days to the US. However, I’m not going to tell you where.
Benson: We want you to be safe, because of what you have to say about what is happening in Denmark and throughout Europe. We need to hear what you are saying right now prior to our elections.
Hedegaard: I think you need that, yes.
Benson: We have been co-opted by progressive political correctness that is in many of our cities. We are seeing tolerance of Islamic supremacy. In Richmond, Virginia we uncovered a legacy property that has been taken over by a radical Islamic center. The family property has been there since 1838. However, the Islamic center is seeking use of eminent domain to taking over a part of the legacy property rights. This is the Caliphate rising without a shot across the bow. This is the Dar al Hijra happening in Europe and now happening in America.
Gordon: This has been an extraordinary program for our listeners worldwide. They have been exposed to one of the seminal thinkers who is desperately trying to save both his country and the West from Islamic radicalism, trying to silence and intimidate us. Hedegaard has given us chapter and verse of this threat from his personal experience. How he courageously continues to combat this through his efforts with the Danish Free Press Society and his activism.
Benson: Lars, do you have a final comment for our listeners here in America and around the world?
Hedegaard: It would be to keep the faith. Do not be intimidated, because, if you become intimidated to shut up and desist from the fight they will get you anyway. You might as well die standing than crawling on your knees.
Benson: Lars, it’s been a great honor to have you on The Lisa Benson National Security Radio show today. We’re going to take what you have told us and we’re going to fight on. As one good general has said to me, keep up the fire. That is what we are going to do. We pray for your safety and your continued dialogue with people around the world. Thank you so very much.
Hedegaard: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure being with you.
Benson: We’ll have you back again. Dear America, please take his words to heart. Jerry Gordon, thank you for introducing Lars Hedegaard to us. This was an extraordinary broadcast. Thank You, Jerry.
Gordon: You’re welcome.
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