/ I thought that Denmark was sensible and allowed free speech??

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Coel Hellier - on 19 Sep 2013
Danish-Iranian ex-Muslim convicted of "racism" and fined/jailed for criticising Islamic culture and the Koran.

http://www.cphpost.dk/national/danish-iranian-artist-convicted-racism

http://www.cphpost.dk/national/artist-convicted-racism-speaks-out

rallymania - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

since when was islam a race?

David Martin - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Dunno. If a white Englishman sporting a swastika tattoo on his forehead said he was "very convinced that Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters...." and that this was "the result of 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."...its highly likely he's committed some sort of crime in doing so.
highclimber - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: I don't know what the Danish class as racism but the british definition is pretty clear - "any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person"

http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/rrpbcrbook.html#a02

I think under british law, she'd probably be prosecuted too.
johncoxmysteriously - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber:

Yes, but that's to decide whether the offence is aggravated by a racist or religious motive, not to define an actual offence. I'm not sure saying the Koran is a load of dangerous and disgusting nonsense is an offence here; I'm not sure what offence it would be.

jcm
knthrak1982 on 19 Sep 2013


Don't know about Denmark but I thought the recent section 5 reform in this country would mean that this wouldn't be illegal.
Simon4 - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber: Despite the ludicrous wideness of that definition (essentially handing the definition of a crime over to the "victim", or anyone self-identifying as a victim, quite apart from the fact that identical acts can carry a very different penalty according to unverifiable criteria, itself a very bad legal principle), "racism" is not a crime in Britain - an incident (presumably an assault or the like), may be considered an enhanced crime due to it being perceived as having a racist character.

If someone is of the opinion that there are human races, and that some of them are in some way superior to others, that is simply their opinion, for whatever reason they hold that opinion. If they discriminate against people on the basis of their race for employment for example, then that is illegal. Otherwise there is no incident.

It is pretty clear that the opinions she expressed :

she was "very convinced that Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters"

Would not be a crime in the UK - she was simply describing what she is convinced of.

"The court argued that what I wrote about Muslim men was condescending and a generalisation"

Being condescending may be unpleasant (people on this website do it the whole time), while generalisations can be more or less accurate, but are more or less by definition sweeping. But scarcely crimes, while obviously "Muslim men" are those who profess a particular religion.

There is no good reason why religions should receive special protection compared with other systems of ideas, nor should they be above criticism.
winhill - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

If you said the same thing about Socialists, not racism but if you say it about a religious group it's racism.

It's because religion is the most important thing in the world.

Although if that were the case then the Bibbel and the Koran could be banned for what they say about non-believers.

Similarly Malise Ruthven, usually a fairly sound source on Islamic fundamentalism said last year the criticisng the prophet mohammad should be a hate crime because adoration of Mo is such an integral part of the identity of muslims.

So essentially, if the Beliebers go nuts then it's racism.
mgco3 - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Very strange. As she is of Iranian extract , has been of the muslim faith and is also a female I would think that she is more than qualified to speak on the subject.

Racism?.

What about and Danish ex Catholic priest saying that there are a lot of child mollesting priests in the Catholic church. Isn't that the same sort of thing? How would that possibly be classed as racism??

Sounds like certain members of the Muslim community there are a bit narked because someone with a bit of "insider knowledge" is telling a few home truths..

I fail to see where the racism comes into it?

Anyone care to enlighten an athiest Geordie?
tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier) I don't know what the Danish class as racism but the british definition is pretty clear - "any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person"
>
> http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/rrpbcrbook.html#a02
>
> I think under british law, she'd probably be prosecuted too.

I'm struggling to think of anything which hasn't been described as racist by at least one person on the Guardian 'Comment Is Free' section. Does that mean the entire population of the UK need to be prosecuted.

Lord_ash2000 - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: As far as I understand it ‘race’ is used to define different groups of people based on similar sets of minor genetic variations, mainly skin colour and facial shape.

Islam is a religious ideology anyone can subscribe to regardless of colour, nationality or cultural background, I could be a Muslim tomorrow if I chose. To follow Islam has as much to do with race and to follow Manchester United.

To highlight, this is racist:
1 “Black people are stupid, backward, uncultured primitives”

This isn’t:
2 “Man U Fans are stupid, backward, uncultured primitives”

And like-wise neither is this
3 “Islamists are stupid, backward, uncultured primitives”

*Now before anyone kicks off, the above three statements are all examples of sweeping negative generalisations of particular groups of people to highlight a point and are not my views.

Number 1 is based on race and therefore ‘racist’, the second I suppose is ‘teamist’ as it’s based on what team people support (I put this in as a novelty to highlight the stupidly of all this but to be serious a lot of violence and many deaths have happened around the world due to football related tribalism).

And the third I suppose you could say is ‘religionist’ because its generalisations are based on those that follow a religion.
Some would argue number 3 is ‘culturist’ but I don’t think it is. Religion is an aspect of culture but it does not define the culture. Culture is made up of much more than the God people worship. Its everything about the way people do things. It’s the music, the art, the social systems, the architecture and so on.
The two become more difficult to distinguish in cultures where Islam is taken to the extreme and dominates (or bans) many aspects of culture but it cannot be said to be culture alone even in those situation.

I think it’s perfectly legitimate to criticise a religion and I personally think Islam is a backwards and primitive ideology as are all those based on ancient scriptures purported to be the words so a mythical being.

However to generalise about all those people who follow a religion is wrong. To say “Muslim men are all rapist” is an offensive generalisation, its wrong (not racist but wrong).

But to say, according to XYZ statistics there is a much higher percentage of recorded violence and rape within groups that follow XYZ religion however is perfectly ok as long as it’s true. If such things are true they should be highlighted and hopefully fixed.
MikeTS - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Lord_ash2000:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier) As far as I understand it ‘race’ is used to define different groups of people based on similar sets of minor genetic variations, mainly skin colour and facial shape.


Then it's strange that the CPS link does not agree with you
see
http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/rrpbcrbook.html#a02

It says Jews are a race. But anyone can become Jewish and there are black-skinned ones and blue-eyed blond ones.
elsewhere on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeTS:
> It says Jews are a race. But anyone can become Jewish and there are black-skinned ones and blue-eyed blond ones.

Jews are in law a race partly due to an unusually explicit maternal line element in the genetics.

Muslims are probably a race in law because there's the genetic element they are predominately born to a Asian parents in the UK.

Race in law is not defined by a logical science or apartheid like pseudo science of eye or skin colour, it's wishy-washyly defined by attitudes in society.
In reply to Coel Hellier: Denmark has lots of rather harsh laws which arguably contravene the rights of Danish citizens and of non-citizens. It's also shown a willingness at times to disregard EU-wide laws that they've ratified. I don't know if it is anymore or less sensible than anywhere else.

Of course we're reading a translation here so I don't know how it works in Danish, but it seems like if she had just said "Some Muslim men..." instead of "Muslim men..." she would have been making a statement of fact, not what could be read as sweeping generalisation.
johncoxmysteriously - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

>Does that mean the entire population of the UK need to be prosecuted.

RTFT, man. To repeat myself, no, it doesn't, because the link we are linking to defines features which aggravate offences, rather than defining offences themselves. Unless someone knows different, I don't believe even blatantly racist observations such as 'green people are thick' are prosecutable by themselves.

jcm
tom_in_edinburgh - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
>
> >Does that mean the entire population of the UK need to be prosecuted.
>
> RTFT, man. To repeat myself, no, it doesn't, because the link we are linking to defines features which aggravate offences,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetorical_question
dsh - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to MikeTS:
> (In reply to Lord_ash2000)
> [...]
>
>
> It says Jews are a race. But anyone can become Jewish and there are black-skinned ones and blue-eyed blond ones.

But Jews have been murdered in the millions due to perceived racial inferiority.

Nic on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I'm struggling to think of anything which hasn't been described as racist by at least one person on the Guardian 'Comment Is Free' section.

I always enjoy Gary Younge's articles...I'm eagerly awaiting his treatise on "Snow - racist or what?"
Coel Hellier - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> it seems like if she had just said "Some Muslim men..." instead of "Muslim men..." she would have
> been making a statement of fact, not what could be read as sweeping generalisation.

"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."

It seems to me that if she was saying that Islamic codes allow these things and thus that those following these codes point to them as justification, then she is not being "racist", she is making a legitimate critique of the belief system.
In reply to Coel Hellier: Sure, but she's being a lot clearer in her explanation than in her original polemic. At least in English "Muslim men" is very vague, it could be read as meaning some..., a few... or all...

Without interviewing the deciding judge it is hard to know whether it was (to my mind) a bad decision made with good intentions, or alternatively a rigorously mechanistic interpretation of Danish law (which I suspect none of us here know anything about), but it seems silly to not see this in the context of the current deep divisions in Denmark over Islam, immigration, a powerful populist right and the shock waves that went through all of Scandinavia particularly strongly after Breivik.
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Lord_ash2000 - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to elsewhere:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
> [...]
>
> Race in law is not defined by a logical science or apartheid like pseudo science of eye or skin colour, it's wishy-washyly defined by attitudes in society.

I agree and I think it should be cleared up. When you get down to it there is only one race of humans, homo sapiens. There were others like Neanderthals etc but we're the only ones left.

What we call race is just some way of grouping people together based on what they look like and where abouts they are born. If we're still going to bother with this notion maybe there are some genetic markers or something you can use to define one race from another.

But I think race is a defunct concept, what does it matter? Defining one group from another can cause nothing but conflict between them. Now the world is integrating more in a few hundred years we'll more or less all be a light brown mix and its probably for the better.
Ramblin dave - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to elsewhere:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
> [...]
>
> Race in law is not defined by a logical science or apartheid like pseudo science of eye or skin colour, it's wishy-washyly defined by attitudes in society.

But this sort of makes sense, because racism is a social attitude as well.

As I understand it, there's absolutely no scientific basis for the idea of genetically distinct and discrete "races", so any any notion of race at all is going to be primarily socially defined.
RCC - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> As I understand it, there's absolutely no scientific basis for the idea of genetically distinct and discrete "races", so any any notion of race at all is going to be primarily socially defined.


Race is not a genetic concept, it is a phenotypic one. If there exists within a species a group whose members are identifiable based on a set of shared characteristics, but with very little genetic differentiation then you can call that group a race. It is almost implicit in the term that such differences are largely superficial. In other words, races might not be socially defined, but racism (almost by definition) must be.

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