Wednesday, 23 April 2014

New Swedish Law Criminalizes Anti-immigration Internet Speech

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You’re free in Sweden to be critical of immigration, those in power, or people identifying as “LBGT” — at least within the confines of your mind. But dare express those views, even on the Internet, and you can now be more easily prosecuted under a new law taking full effect after Christmas.

We recently learned about how anti-immigration Internet commenters in Sweden were tracked down and persecuted. As journalist Pamela Geller wrote:

One of Sweden’s biggest newspapers, Expressen, used criminal hackers to break into Disqus and get the email addresses and identities of commenters online, and to reveal the persons behind the nicknames or anonymous user IDs. The newspaper sent a reporter and a cameraman to one person’s home and asked them about things they had written on different websites. Expressen published the names and photos of some people, which led to at least one person losing his job.

But Sweden’s new law adds another layer of hate-speech prohibition to the social ostracism. As Fria Tider (Free Times) reported (translated electronically from Swedish and then edited for grammar and word usage) in a piece entitledNew Law Makes it Easier to Prosecute Those Who Offend Immigrants or Those in Power,” “The crime of ‘insult’ will be prosecuted — but only for giving offense to immigrants, LGBTQ persons or authorities ... [under a] common insult to the public prosecution.” The law has been pushed by Swedish parliamentarian Andreas Norlén, who said, during what Fria Tider described as “an unchallenged debate on the issue in parliament,” “I do not think it takes very many prosecutions before a signal is transmitted in the community that the Internet is not a lawless country — the sheriff is back in town.”

And unchallenged is precisely how Swedish authorities — and many other Western governments — want their leftist agenda to be, with immigration in particular enjoying sanctified status in Sweden. As CBN reported earlier this month in a piece entitled “Soviet Sweden? Model Nation Sliding to Third World”:

Sweden’s leftist establishment and media believe a cornerstone of their perfect society is multiculturalism — large-scale immigration from some of the poorest, most backward nations on Earth — and Swedes who disagree with that plan risk being labeled racist, fascist, even Nazi. “Immigration is the starting point and the finishing point. It's the most important point to prove you're friendly toward foreigners, you're friendly toward immigration," Danish journalist Mikael Jalving, author of the book Absolut Sweden, said.

And if it can be “proven” that you don’t support immigration, “you’re out of the game,” says Jalving.

What does this mean? Journalist Ingrid Carlqvist explains that you become a pariah, stating, “If they point at you and say you are a racist, then you will have no job, no career, you might lose your family. You will have no future.”

This is despite the fact, say critics, that wide-scale Third World immigration is threatening Sweden’s future. As CBN also reported:

Sweden's immigration model is failing miserably ... test scores in Swedish schools are plummeting ... [and] crime in some areas has skyrocketed. Immigrants burned the Stockholm suburb of Husby for over a week last year.

Many Jews now live in fear of attacks by Muslim immigrants and are leaving.

Amun Abdullahi, a journalist for Swedish radio, left last year and returned to her native Somalia after she was attacked in the Swedish media over her news report about radical Muslim immigrants in Sweden.

She told Swedish television that Mogadishu was safer than immigrant areas in Stockholm.

Frontpage Mag’s Daniel Greenfield, quoting from JihadWatch.org, provides even more perspective:

“Sweden’s population grew from 9 million to 9.5 million in the years 2004-2012, mainly due to immigration from ‘countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.’ 16 percent of all newborns have mothers born in non-Western countries. Employment rate among immigrants: 54 percent.”

Sweden now has the second highest number of rapes in the world, after South Africa, which at 53.2 per 100,000 is six times higher than the United States.

Note that 77 percent of these rapes are perpetrated by “foreigners,” most of whom are Muslim, while their victims primarily are native Swedes. And these figures may very well be artificially low estimates, as the government would prefer to make the headlines go away.

And Western governments have long aimed to make politically incorrect criticism go away with tyrannical hate-speech laws. For example, LifeSiteNews.com reports, “Chapter 15, Section 8 of Sweden’s criminal code prohibits the expression of ‘disrespect’ towards favoured minority groups. The law carries a penalty of up to four years of imprisonment. It requires no evidence of incitement to violence and lacks any objective standard for identifying ‘disrespect.’” Quoting the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Lifesite mentions that Pope John Paul II himself “dissented from popularly held views on homosexual behavior, abortion, and divorce”; this means that under Western hate-speech laws, the pope could conceivably have been arrested for espousing Catholic teaching.

In reality, of course, a pope’s status and clout offer protection (at least for now). But a Swedish pastor named Åke Green was not so lucky, as he was convicted and sentenced under hate-speech law in 2004 after giving a sermon on homosexuality. And while his story has a not-too-unhappy ending — Sweden’s Supreme Court reluctantly acquitted Green in 2005 — wasn’t it, as Andreas Norlén said, a signal “transmitted in the community” that the thought-police “sheriff is back in town”?

Moreover, other stories don’t end happily. For instance, Canadian Mark Harding was convicted and punished under federal hate-speech laws in 1998 for distributing pamphlets critical of Islam, and countryman Hugh Owens was punished three years later for taking out a newspaper ad that included four Bible verses critical of homosexual behavior.

As for Sweden’s new law, it’s designed to target näthatare, which, I understand, translates into “net haters.” Yet as The New Republic’s Benjamin Birnbaum points out in “Sweden's Free-Speech Charade,” hate is whatever the Swedish thought police say it is — at the particular moment in question. Here’s one example he provides:

In January 2002 ... a district court sentenced neo-Nazi Fredrik Sandberg to six months in prison for publishing a Third-Reich-era pamphlet ("The Jewish Question"). But four years later, the official who initiated that case (Swedish Chancellor of Justice Göran Lambertz) discontinued an investigation into the Stockholm Central Mosque regarding its distribution of tapes that encouraged Muslims to kill Jews, described therein as “the brothers of apes and pigs.” His legal justification? “[Such statements] should be judged differently — and therefore be regarded as permissible — because they were used by one side in an ongoing and far-reaching conflict where calls to arms and insults are part of the everyday climate in the rhetoric that surrounds this conflict.”

So what is an aspiring hater to conclude? If you’re going to hate, make sure it’s habitual? Or is it something else? It appears, critics might say, that some haters are more equal than others.

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