A Danish-Iranian artist named Firoozeh Bazrafkan has been found guilty of violating Denmark’s laws against the expression of racism for writing in the Jyllands-Posten (the same newspaper that published the infamous Muhammad cartoons) about misogyny in Islam. She faces a 5000 kroner fine or five days in prison.
She was charged by Aarhus Police of violating anti-racism legislation, section 266 b of the penal code, after publishing a blog entry in Jyllands-Posten newspaper in December 2011, in which she stated:
“I am very convinced that Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters. This is, according to my understanding as a Danish-Iranian, due to a defective and inhumane culture – if you can even call it a culture at all. But you can say, I think, that it is a defective and inhumane religion whose textbook, the Koran, is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined.”
Bazrafkan had appropriated the text from an article published by free speech activist Lars Pedersen, who had also been charged and convicted of racism after publishing it on the online newspaper 180grader.dk
In an interview with the Copenhagen Post, she said:
What is your reaction following the High Court’s ruling?
I’m not sorry for writing the blog in the newspaper but I am disappointed and angry because I should have the right to write and say what I want. My blog in Jyllands-Posten newspaper didn’t threaten anyone, it was a criticism of Islamic codes.
Your text was very similar to what Lars Andersen wrote and which resulted in him being convicted under the racism paragraph. Why did you choose to write it?
I copied his text and made some personal additions, that I was a Danish-Iranian. I wrote it as an artistic manifesto to show that we cannot say what we want and we cannot criticise Islamic regimes. I wanted to show Lars support because, as a Danish Iranian, I know what a big problem Islamic regimes are in both Iran and the Middle East. These Islamic codes give men the rights to do whatever they want to women and children and I think it’s disgusting. They also prevent people in Iran from discussing and saying what they want. This is what I wanted to criticise.
Can you not see why the court found your blog to be offensive?
The court argued that what I wrote about Muslim men was condescending and a generalisation. But that’s unfair, because there are many Islamic codes that are being used by Islamic men to justify their actions against women and children.
It’s important to remember that I did not write that ALL Muslim men committed horrible acts and used Islamic codes to justify them, I wrote that Muslim men around the world can do these things because it is allowed according to these codes. It’s not the same thing. For example, Muslims around the world protested at the Mohammed cartoons, and doctors around the world misdiagnose patients, but not all Muslims protested, and not all doctors misdiagnose.
Even if she had said that, a government has no business punishing it, any more than an atheist should be punished for saying “Christians are uneducated” or “fundamentalists want to take over the country” without explicitly adding a disclaimer that it does not apply to every member of that group.