BREAKING NEWS – DENMARK ATTACKED: There has been another series of terrorist attack, this time in Denmark. The first attack was on an event called “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression” where a cartoonist who drew pictures of Mohammed was speaking. The second attack, a few hours later, was on a Jewish synagogue. One person is confirmed killed, and another’s condition is unknown after they were shot in the head. Our thoughts are with those who have been injured and family of those who have been killed.

Following the events in France in January, the Online Hate Prevention Institutereleased a significant report looking at the line between freedom of speech and hate speech. We concluded that cartoons of Mohammed should is general be protected by freedom of speech principles, but that some cartoons of Mohammed crossed over into hate speech and should be banned, for example when they use Mohammed to represent all Muslims and do so in a way that negatively stereotypes Muslims.

The report also discussed the problem of rising antisemitism in Europe. It highlighted how Jews were targeted just for being Jews. This happened in France in January, and now again in Denmark. It follows a pattern which, as our report highlights, which shows a link between antisemitic indoctrination and extremism. A focus on tackling antisemitism may therefore help to identify and stop such extremism, and ultimately such attacks in the future.

Condemning the attacks in Denmark, OHPI’s CEO, Dr Andre Oboler, stated, “We must stand up to such extremism, but we must do so by ensuring such attacks have no impact on the way we conduct our lives. We must not let terrorism control our actions. We must not be cowered and give in to self censor for no reason other than fear, but neither should we give a free pass to hate speech which in other circumstances we would condemn. We must not abandon our values, but we must do more to understand those values and how they should be applied.”

The OHPI report “Je Suis Humain: Responsible free speech in the shadow of the Charlie Hebdo murders” is freely available at: http://ohpi.org.au/jesuishumain/Please help us share it, the message it carries is unfortunately once again highly relevant today.