Canada IFPS: Would you say that you were surprised from what you would expect from prestigious university?
IFPS president Lars Hedegaard about Yale: We’re talking about an elite university, where I think people pay 50 000 a year tuition. One would have expected that, they would have studied michelle de maintenon, they might have studied Spinoza, they might have studied Milton “Aeropagitica, 1644″, Hume, Mill. All the foundational documents of our civilzation, they didn’t seem to know anything about anything. Singularly illinformed and singularly stupid, I would say”
IFPS Canada had the opportunity to spend the day yesterday with several extraordinary men, one of whom, was Kurt Westergaard, the creator of the infamous ‘Moetoon’.
In this interview, I speak at a private house, which is why there is a fair amount of background noise as we prepared dinner after a day of interviews in Toronto, with Kurt, as well as Lars Hedegaard, the creator and president of the Danish Free Press Society, now the International Free Press Society.
Kurt I must say, is a man who history has handed a tough role, and a role which he did not ask for, but accepts with grace, dignity, and a rare humility. I do not get the impression that it was Mr. Westergaards ambition to become a martyr for free speech and to live in a bunker as he does now, or in hiding as he did for years. But he has unflinchingly defended free speech and has not once turned away from his values for the illusion of safety.
Below, is a conversation with Kurt and Lars and their views on freedom of speech, and their recent experience at Yale, a once great institution of western education.
Gates of Vienna has posted a portion of the interview with Rabbi Jon Hausman, one of those who had invited Kurt Westergaard to speak at Yale. The Baron has this to say:
Kurt Westergaard’s visit to Yale on Thursday provoked plenty of Muslim outrage. The Iconoclast at the New English Review covered the occasion, and interviewed Rabbi Jon Hausman about what happened:Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard appeared at the Master’s House at Yale’s Branford College (Yale has a system of residential colleges akin to that of Oxford and Cambridge Universities) October 1st. Accompanying him in the International Free Press Society contingent were Lars Hedegaard, Paul Belien, and Bjorn Larsen and, by invitation, Rabbi Jon Hausman.Security was tight at Yale allegedly because of the appearance of the controversial Danish Cartoonist who penned the Mohammed cartoon-the one with Mohammed attired in a Turban shaped like a bomb. After all, Yale didn’t want its students threatened with violence by the appearance of 73 year old Westergaard attired in his ‘rouge et noir’ costume.[…]The Yale Daily News report on the Westergaard visit, “Cartoonist’s visit causes stir, focused on the protests of Muslim Students and Alumni never revealing what Westergaard said at the Branford College Master’s House event, eschewing why Master Stephen Smith brought Westergaard to the New Haven Campus, Freedom of Speech:“We are here protesting what we think is a despicable act,” Syed said.Ghani also called for Smith’s resignation, saying that inviting Westergaard to speak ran contrary to a master’s mission of protecting the students.“A master is entrusted with protecting the well-being of all Yale students and yet Smith gave a warm reception to a man racist toward members of the Yale community,” she said.But Smith defended the decision to invite Westergaard to speak on campus and called it “a teachable moment.”“At Yale, if we stand for anything, we stand for the free expression of ideas,” Smith said.Alumni voiced their opinions from afar, as well. Alumni Sharyar Aziz ‘74, a member of the Yale President’s Council on International Activities, said he thought that having Westergaard on campus could give the wrong impression about Yale’s attitude toward the Muslim world.“I’m all for freedom of speech,” he said. “But I’m deeply concerned that somehow an institution that has been so sensitive and so caring and so wonderful about the Muslim community in general and stuff that they’ve done in the Middle East, that somehow this event creates an adverse environment or adverse opinion of Yale’s sensitivities.”
Read it all here.