February 14, 2015: Jihadi attacks freedom of expression event in Denmark

On February 14, 2015 a Danish-born ISIS jihadi killed two and wounded five over the Muhammad cartoons in Copenhagen.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – Freedom of expression is a beautiful thing won after centuries of struggle: it is too bad terrorists haven’t got the message.

As I type this Today in Terrorism piece Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, and several other cities across the land are beset with a dog’s breakfast of protesters. Some are trying to get vaccine mandates overturned, some just hate Prime Minister Trudeau, some seem to be supporting previous US President Trump. And still others – I’m not sure what they stand for to be honest!

At its heart, any protest is an exercise in freedom of speech. It is enshrined in many laws and constitutions, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is a right that has been gained at great cost. No, it does not allow you to get violent and demonstrators have to eventually dissipate to allow people freedom of movement – another important part of a democratic society and also in the Charter – but it is still an important characteristic of Western society.

NOW do you support my right to speak? (Photo: By Véronic Gagnon – Own work, CC BY 4.0)

One group that wants nothing to do with freedoms of any kind – speech, belief, whatever – is that we call Islamist terrorists. After all, THEY have a monopoly on what is right and wrong, capiche?

On this day in 2015

A Danish-born jihadi who had expressed allegiance to Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi opened fire at an event called “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression” at a Copenhagen centre killing one civilian and wounding three Danish police officers. The same man fled, killing a man outside a synagogue and wounding two more police after midnight before he was shot dead.

I was on my bed and I heard gunshots. And my heart raced.

19-year old visitor from London

The event featured Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist known for stretching the boundaries of free speech and religious sensitivity. He was behind the 2007 ‘Muhammad cartoon controversy‘ which many Muslims saw as blasphemous.

OK, I know faith means a lot to people. But killing over a caricature? Muhammad wept.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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