Denmark’s Salman Rushdie
“The Left now seems to have reverence for fanatics.”

Lars Hedegaard


Dennis Prager

EDITOR’S NOTEThis is an edited version of an interview that took place on Dennis Prager’s nationally syndicated radio show. The entire unedited interview may be heard at

DENNIS PRAGER: Are you in Copenhagen as we speak?

LARS HEDEGAARD: I can’t really tell you where I am at the moment.

PRAGER: Can you tell me what country?

HEDEGAARD: I’m in Europe somewhere.

PRAGER: The reason you can’t tell me is that there was an attempt to murder you just a few weeks ago. A man came to your door, speaking perfect Danish. Tell us what happened.

HEDEGAARD: There was a buzz on my door phone, and a man said he had a package for me, in accent-free Danish. He was, I’m certain, an immigrant from some Arab country or possibly Pakistan. I went down to get the package, and as soon as I opened the front door he pulled out a gun and shot at my head. He missed, and there was a struggle between us. I tried to hit him in the face, which made him lose the gun. He then recovered it and tried to cock it for a second shot, and he didn’t manage to do that, and we fought some more, and then he grabbed the gun and ran off. That’s what happened.

PRAGER: You were nearly murdered. What did you write and what are you fighting for?

HEDEGAARD: I don’t know exactly what motivated the attack. I’ve been writing on Islam, Islamic history, and Islamic ideology for about ten years. I haven’t done anything differently recently except that we started our new newspaper, the weekly Dispatch International, on the third of January. It’s a Swedish-language newspaper, but we have an online edition in English.

I’ve been wondering, of course, why someone wanted to shoot me, and I cannot think of anything that I’ve done differently recently than what I have been doing these last couple of years. I’ve been called a hate speaker, and I’m not a hate speaker. I’ve been called a racist, and I’m not a racist. I’m just a normal historian and a journalist. It’s my job to describe what’s going on in the world, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do to the best of my abilities.

PRAGER: Correct me if I’m wrong: You are a man of the Left.


PRAGER: Where are the attacks on you [for] being racist coming from? What part of the ideological spectrum?

HEDEGAARD: I would say almost exclusively from the Left. (Of course, also from Muslims. Not all Muslims, but some.) I seem to be very unpopular with my old friends. I think the problem is that I know what it’s all about to be left-wing; I used to be a leading Marxist in this country. But I’ve held to the opinion that we first of all have to fight for free speech and freedom and equality between the sexes and the rule of law; and also, that we should not bow before religious fanatics of any type, regardless of where they come from. This seems to me what was the essence of being left-wing back in the days. No longer.

The Left now seems to have reverence for fanatics — as long as they are Muslim. Of course, they can criticize Christianity all they want. But when somebody threatens with violence — if you criticize me, I’ll come and kill you — then all of a sudden they become soft. They become understanding; they talk about tolerance; we have to show respect. I don’t want to show respect for people who say that men are worth more than women, that women can be killed if they are adulterers, that apostates from Islam should be killed, that people should be stoned, etc. I mean, I don’t like that. I want to fight that. I want to describe it. And I don’t think the Left does.

PRAGER: I think it comes with greater credibility to many when you say this, as a man of the Left, than when I say this. I share every moral sentiment you have just stated, and I am considered, in America, conservative.