ABC 3340: Denmark’s anti-Muslim politician Rasmus Paludan and the free speech debate


Jacob Mchangama is a free speech expert at a Copenhagen think tank called Justitia. He told me that Paludan’s speech should be protected even if it offends people.

“I think in many ways it’s the best form of equality before the law, and a sign of integration,” Mchangama says, “that you can sort of laugh off or at least dismiss thoughts that you find offensive to you or religion and say ‘You know what? They have the right to say this, but that right is also what gives me the right to go to my Mosque and practice my faith, to hand out Korans in the street if I want to. And no one can come after me’.”

Mchangama says his free speech views are rooted in the “Cartoon controversy” that originated in Denmark in 2005.

“I’m very much a child of the cartoon crisis,” Mchangama told me.

In the “cartoon crisis,” a Danish newspaper standing for free speech defied Islam’s ban against depicting its prophet Mohamed. That set off a global wave of deadly attacks by Muslims against Christiansand a violent, deadly attack a decade later in France on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.


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