A gunman tried to kill Lars Hedegaard, an anti-Islam writer living in Denmark, but missed him entirely. Now, before I go on with this article: I don’t support assassinating anybody, ever, and I’m glad Hedegaard survived this attack unscathed, and I think the man who tried to kill him should be in jail.
But I do have a problem with the AP referring to Hedegaard as an “Islam Critic.” The phrase “Islam Critic” is an Orwellian one, implying resistance and bravery in the face of oppression. And this language distorts who Lars Hedegaard actually is.
Lars Hedegaard is a man who narrowly avoided being convicted of hate speech after saying, “girls in Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins or their dad.” This is not the only time he has been almost convicted of hate speech – he avoided his first conviction only by saying that he did not know what he said would be published. And he’s a big supporter of Geert Wilders, the patron saint of European Islamophobic facism.
In other words, Lars Hedegaard is not a marginalized “critic” of Islam – he is part of a movement that’s trying to move hatred of Muslims ever closer to the mainstream. He is, in other words, a huge racist.
And yet, the assassination attempt of Lars Hedegaard has gotten more play (in terms of stories aggregated by Google News) than, say, Israel forcing birth control on its Ethiopian Immigrants.
This is because the mainstream media plays up stories that it knows racists want to hear. Racists want to hear about how they are the discriminated, not the discriminator. They want to hear about the brave writer willing to give his life for Islamic extremism. The use of “Islam Critic” is just another sign that the media that has roundly failed to counter the racist, anti-Muslim narrative that is fueling the growth of European fascism. In fact, it is very comfortable offering support to this narrative, as long as gets them page-views.