Lars Hedegaard, Islamic expert and president of the International Free Press Society, was found guilty of racism today by Denmark’s Eastern High Court. He was fined about $1,000. He will appeal.
The charges stemmed from what Hedegaard says were factual statements made about the higher-than-average incidence of family rape in the Muslim world.
But under Denmark's racism law, Article 266b, it doesn't matter if what you said was true. It only matters that a group was insulted. § 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.” (Thanks to Henrik Raeder Clausen)
Lars Hedegaard had this response to the verdict: "The real losers today are freedom of speech and Muslim women. How can we speak up for them if we risk getting a state sanctioned label of racism?"
Hedegaard will appeal the verdict. More details in English here. Here is a Danish news story. And here is my story from last week that mentions the case.
This is one of a handful of free speech cases involving unflattering statements about Islam that are underway in Europe and the Middle East.