On Nov. 2, a handful of notorious international anti-Muslim figures convened at the Danish Parliament building in Copenhagen to hold a conference in memoriam of controversial filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. The event was sponsored by the International Free Press Society (IFPS), a trans-Atlantic umbrella organization comprised of groups and individuals committed to preserving what they call “Free Press Societies.”
The event’s panelists included various IFPS members such as Lars Hedegaard, who founded the group; American Islamophobia figurehead Daniel Pipes; and far-Right Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Other panelists included anti-Muslim artists and cartoonists Lars Vilks and Kurt Westegaard as well as Robert Redeker, a controversial French writer and philosophy teacher.
Along with honoring Van Gogh, the purpose of the event was to sound the alarm about the alleged suppression of free speech under Islam and Shariah, which they claim is being imposed on so-called Western societies. The event, however, proved to be simply another platform for panelists to espouse anti-Muslim bigotry.
For example, during his allotted time, Hedegaard claimed, “one of the reasons why so many Muslims have little time to produce anything useful” is because they have to spend a lifetime trying to learn all of the rules of Shariah. Hedegaard also discussed how he believes Islamic reformation is needed, but claimed he was doubtful such changes might transpire because “Muslims have had 1,400 years to civilize and domesticate their ideology, and it hasn’t happened yet.”
Islamic reformation was also the subject of a debate between Wilders and Pipes. While Pipes was optimistic that Islam could be reformed, Wilders argued that it “cannot be changed,” and that “it gets worse every second.”
This latest gathering of IFPS members reaffirms the strong ties between the organized Islamophobia movement in America and their counterparts overseas. This truly is an international movement of organized and coordinated bigotry.