Laws against blasphemy must be stricken from the books and the very concept of blasphemy as a criminal offense must be expunged from the minds of men
By Lars Hedegaard
President of the Danish Free Press Society
Dear organizers, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting a representative of Denmark's Free Press Society to give a keynote speech to this distinguished audience.
Perhaps I am not mistaken if I assume that the fact the a Dane has been chosen may have something to do with my country's recent experience regarding the benefits and limitations of free speech.
Last week, on September the 30th, exactly a year had passed since the by now famous newspaper Jyllands-Posten published its equally famous – or is it infamous? – Muhammed cartoons.
To mark this anniversary – which was top news all over the Danish press – an editor from the weekly Weekendavisen asked a few people to write up a so-called democracy canon. To those of you not immediately familiar with the concept, a canon in this sense can be defined as a body of works that may be accepted as axiomatic and universally binding in a field of study. So to create a democracy canon means to select those works that may be deemed indispensable if one wants to understand how democracy and free speech came about in Denmark. A democracy canon is so to speak a list of sacred books – not in a religious sense, of course.
One of the organizations asked to suggest a democracy canon was the Free Press Society. So we had an occasion to review 250 years or so of Danish history in order to pick 10-15 indispensable works by people who had paved the way for the democratic system we enjoy today.
It turned out to be a learning experience.
The Fragility of Freedom: The Danish Example
First of all I was struck by how fragile the entire democratic edifice appears to be and how little it would take to demolish it. As has actually happened several times over the course of the first 150 years of our democratizing process that lasted from approximately 1770 until 1915.
It is true that Denmark got its free constitution in 1849 thus abolishing 190 years of royal absolutism. It is also true that this constitution established the principle of free speech – or rather the abolition of censorship. But this was really only the beginning of a development that lasted well into the twentieth century and which was in danger of being reversed or derailed at several junctures.
Women and poor people didn't get the vote until 1915.
The principle of parliamentarianism, i.e. the rule that the government must enjoy the confidence of the majority in the lower house of parliament, was not established until 1901, and it was not enshrined into the constitution until 1953.
As a matter of fact, Denmark was essentially a dictatorship for much of the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century. We had democratic elections all right, but the king insisted on appointing cabinets that were not responsive to parliament and which ruled by emergency legislation. A special constabulary – or gendarmerie – was created to suppress a much feared rising by the peasantry – which, however, did not materialize.
As late as in 1920, King Christian X fired a democratically constituted government and appointed a cabinet of so-called disinterested experts in order to carry through policies contrary to the will of parliament. It turned out to be a grievous error on the part of the King, and it took him a couple of decades to regain his popular standing.
Students of Danish history will undoubtedly have been presented with the contention that Denmark is a country of peaceful, smooth, benevolent and gradual transformations. A country blessed by good will and moderation all around.
This picture needs to be modified.
For about 150 years, it was a dangerous business indeed to speak one's mind if it happened to contravene the opinions and interests of various ruling elites – the royal court, the big landowners, the nobility, the state bureaucracy, the religious hierarchy and later the capitalist class.
Outspoken intellectuals, politicians and popular leaders were banished from the realm, jailed, forbidden from publishing anything for the rest of their lives, even driven to suicide in some cases. In 1820 a rebellious and outspoken Copenhagen intellectual, Dr. Jacob Jacobsen Dampe, was condemned to death for having advocated the abolition of the absolutist system and for trying to set up a democratic organization to overthrow it. The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
After organizing a workers' rally in Copenhagen in 1872, the top leaders of the new socialist movement were jailed for years. Subsequently, two of them were bribed by the police to leave the country and emigrate to the United States.
During the second half of the nineteenth century, any a editor or journalist worth his salt would expect to spend some of his professional life in prison.
And when Europeans rightly stress the difference between mainstream Christianity and certain strains of Islam, we would do well not to forget the despicable behavior of many Christian churchmen who did everything in their power to suppress free speech throughout much of the nineteenth century.
I am not saying this because I want to argue that Christianity is no better than Islam – for I do believe that Christianity has turned out to be more commensurate with free institutions than that significant other religion. I am simply making the point that no organized religion is benevolent in and of itself. Without popular vigilance and political, cultural and institutional modification, any religion may well degenerate into an insufferable tyranny.
Freedom was not handed to the Danes on a silver platter by a benevolent king, church or elite. Brave pioneers had to fight for every concession – often at a high personal cost.
I believe the same applies to almost every country now living under democratic constitutions, free speech and the rule of law.
The Practicality of Free Speech and the Muhammed Cartoons
I made another observation reviewing recent Danish history, and I hope you will bear with me. There is a point to this history lesson.
It is that free speech is not an abstract or lofty principle. The issue of free speech always arises as an urgent societal question because people feel the need to address and rectify concrete injustice, social oppression and political disenfranchisement.
And it is for that same reason that free speech is more often than not fiercely resisted by the beneficiaries of the old order. If people wanted an abstract right to speak out but had nothing very important to say, there would be no problem.
Free speech is considered a problem when critics of the existing order accuse the nobles stealing from the state coffers. When they hint that the king is a bumbling idiot totally unfit to govern the country. When women demand equal treatment, equal pay and equal rights. When non-believers or non-conformists demand that the power of the official church hierarchy be curbed. When the workers demand higher pay, the right to strike and to organize trade unions. When the poor demand the right to vote.
The mighty do not fear free speech as an abstract idea but as the beginning of the end of their privileges.
And by the way, when the majority of the Danes continue to believe that Jyllands-Posten was right to publish the Muhammed cartoons a year ago, it is not because of some perverse predilection for offending Muslims or because they want to say something bad just because it is fun to try.
Those of you who have studied what actually happened in Denmark prior to the publication of the cartoons will know that there was a concrete reason for the paper to test the limits of free speech.
I will not here go into all the details. Suffice it to say that for a couple of years there had been some serious attempts by Muslims to limit freedom of expression in the country.
A Jewish lecturer at Copenhagen University had been abducted in the middle of Copenhagen and savagely beaten by a gang of Arabs because he had recited from the Koran as part of his course at the university. Nothing similar had happened since the university was founded in 1479.
A well known writer could not find an artist who dared to illustrate a popular book he was writing on Muhammed.
A fundamentalist mob threatened a group of Sufi-leaning immigrants to cancel a concert claiming that music is un-Islamic.
And there were other incidents.
If your do not put your foot down under such circumstances, where will it end? When will you have acquiesced in so many infringements on free speech that you no longer have it?
Finally, it struck me that free speech and its concomitant – democratization – cannot be separated from cultural, political and economic progress.
I will even go as far as to say that in the final analysis, economic progress hinges on free speech.
The Blessings of Blasphemy
Laws against blasphemy have no place in a free society. There is absolutely no convincing reason why religious feelings, beliefs or opinions should enjoy a greater degree of legal protection than any other feelings, beliefs or opinions.
Unfortunately, Danish criminal law still forbids blasphemy although this statute has not been used for many decades. My organization, The Free Press Society, would dearly like to see it abolished and I hope that we may succeed some day.
So long as blasphemy laws are not stricken from the books – and so long as the very concept of blasphemy as a criminal offense is not expunged from the minds of men – there will always be the possibility that new ideas may be labeled contrary to the will of God or injurious to the feelings of the true believers.
In a climate where novel thoughts or ideas may be suppressed because they contradict religious, political or any other orthodoxy, it is doubtful that intellectual, technical, scientific and therefore economic progress can be sustained.
A few weeks ago, The Economist and the German news magazine Der Spiegel both carried special sections on the growing economic importance of China and India. Within a few decades, these demographic superpowers will also dwarf Europe and the US as economic powers.
The statistics look rather convincing and there can be no doubt that when it comes to a quite a range of consumer products and even services, the Asian powers will conquer vastly bigger shares of the world market.
But will they usurp the West's old position as the world's economic workshop?
As far as China is concerned, I am not convinced because I do not believe that you can continue to generate new ideas – even purely technical ideas – without a free and unfettered exchange of all kinds of ideas – including ridiculous, false, blasphemous, disgusting or outrageous ideas.
It should be remembered that practically any intellectual, scientific or artistic breakthrough has been labeled blasphemous and in contravention of God's plan. And if not Gods' plan, then the party's or somebody else's plan.
Frankly, I do not believe that China can become the world's economic leader as long as its rulers try to curb the free exchange of ideas, e.g. by censuring what the Chinese may read on the internet.
On the other hand, when free speech is introduced in China, I have no doubt that the West will be in for some serious competition indeed. China may then well emerge as the world's hegemonic power. But as it will be a democratic power where people may freely speak their minds, its rise to economic preeminence will not spell the end of civilization as we know it.
Carsten Niebuhr and Islamic Civilization
Permit me to call your attention to one telling example of what may happen to a once flourishing civilization if that civilization does not allow – indeed treasure – free speech.
I am talking about the Islamic civilization.
In the year 1761 – i.e. nine years before free speech was first made law in Denmark – a scientific expedition financed by the king of Denmark set out from Copenhagen on a voyage that lasted until 1767 and took its participants to Egypt, what is now Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Turkey. The objective was to study all aspects of these lands, their culture, history and peoples. Unfortunately, almost all of the participants died during the journey. Only one survived, the German Carsten Niebuhr, who has left us with an extremely valuable description of what is now called the Levant and the Middle East. In fact, his feat and observations are so highly regarded that a whole department at Copenhagen University is named after him, the Carsten Niebuhr Department.
So I have no hesitation quoting some of his observations.
The overall impression of the countries visited is one of deep backwardness compared to conditions in Europe. Although Niebuhr was certainly not ill disposed towards the people he met and did not betray any condescending attitude towards their way of life, religion or culture, one gets the sense that the entire area was very primitive and underdeveloped. It lacked law and order and was dominated by a primitive political system, a backward economy and a rather barbarian culture.
Another very distinct feature of the societies Niebuhr and his companions visited was the dominant air of fatalism – people's sense that there was no need to do anything other than the daily business of just surviving because everything had been predestined by God anyway.
A number of observations testify to this general backwardness.
When in 1761 Niebuhr came to Alexandria, that ancient center of learning, a Turkish merchant asked him for permission to look through his so-called astrolobe – a sort of astronomical telescope – and was much surprised to see a tower in the city upside down. This led to a rumor that the Danish expedition had come to Alexandria to turn the entire city upside down, and it was even talked about in the governor's house (Niebuhr, Vol. 1, p. 86).
When one of Carsten Niebuhr's companions successfully predicted a solar eclipse on 18 October 1762, everybody thought that he must be a great medical doctor and came running to him with all sorts of ailments (Niebuhr, Vol. 1, p. 301).
The emir in the city of Luhayyah in Yemen was given a watch by his European guests but did not know what it was used for, and a local Christian merchant had to come by every day to wind it up (Niebuhr, Vol. 1, p. 346).
The Yemenites thought that the expedition's botanist went out to study flowers and plants in order to collect some substance used to produce gold (Niebuhr, Vol. 1, pp. 392f).
Most Arabs believed that Europe must be to the south of Yemen because the ships carrying Europeans always came from that direction. This was, of course, before the construction of the Suez Canal. Even learned men encountered by the expedition had never seen a map (Niebuhr, Vol. 1, p. 436).
About Mesopotamia, Carsten Niebuhr had this to say: "The great and fertile provinces of Basra and Baghdad do not have many products to offer foreigners apart from dates, rice, salt, wheat, cattle and horses. Their two capitals, however, are so excellently located – so to speak in the middle between India, Persia and Turkey – that their trade is still considerable. ... But whereas during the time of the caliphs, the sciences were highly rewarded here, they are now held in low regard, perhaps even lower than in Cairo and Yemen. In Baghdad I believe that I have met fewer people who could read and write. In Cairo there is at least still a store where the Muhammedans can buy old books. In Baghdad one will not find that sort of thing. If one collects books here, and is neither prepared to copy them oneself nor to let others copy them, one must wait till somebody dies and his books and clothes are carried to the bazar, where they are offered for sale by a crier. A European who wants to buy Arabian, Turkish or Persian manuscripts will find no better opportunity than in Constantinople for here at least there is a sort of bookstore where Christians – at least Oriental Christians – can buy books" (Niebuhr, Vol. 2, p. 305)
Finally, when contemplating the desert around the Syrian town of Aleppo, Niebuhr observed that it had at one time been covered by villages and fertile fields. However, "Under the Muhammedan and especially Turkish administration the most beautiful areas have been turned into wastelands. This despotic government does not protect the inhabitants bordering the desert provinces against the Arabs, Kurds or Turkomen, who live under tents and wander about with their cattle and who like to reap what they have not sown. The pashas, who rarely stay long in a province, do not wish to forfeit any of their income but are more interested in gathering riches. ... Unconcerned whether the peasant is robbed of his grain or his cattle, they let the taxes be collected with all possible severity; little by little the peasants leave their ancestral dwellings where they can no longer secure their livelihood; the fields are no longer plowed but abandoned to wandering bands of people and thus the limits of the desert are expanding more and more" (Niebuhr, Vol. 2, p. 457).
I have spent so much time on Carsten Niebuhr because his expedition is widely considered the very first modern, truly scientific expedition into these parts of the world.
There is another reason, which is especially important in view of the explanations for the relative backwardness of most of the Muslim world that are routinely marshaled these days: The Oriental underdevelopment observed by Niebuhr cannot be explained by something done by outsiders, such as European imperialists. The first modern European army came to Egypt in 1798, when Napoleon landed in the Delta.
So the Orient's economic, political, cultural and philosophical backwardness – which is striking compared to the civilization that flourished in these parts five to six hundred years prior to Niebuhr's visit – must have endogenous causes. It must have to do with some fatal flaw in the culture itself.
There can be no "natural" or "ethnic" explanation. The very areas we have talked about here – Egypt, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Persia, Syria – used to be the very centre of culture and economic power during the time of the ancient empires. Nor has the population changed except that is has given up its old religions – Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism etc. – in order to embrace Islam. One might of course say that the Turks are a new people in the area, but I would certainly not be prepared to deduce that the reason Turkey is behind Europe in relative prosperity and scientific achievements has anything to do with the racial or genetic makeup of its people.
One argument that is constantly being cited against the idea that Islam itself produces backwardness is the fact that in the Middle Ages, the Islamic world was scientifically and technically – to some extent even philosophically – ahead of Europe. There is broad agreement among historians that this relative superiority lasted until the beginning of the 16th century and that is was lost a couple of hundred years before the Danish expedition set foot on Oriental soil.
But that only begs the question what endogenous factor can account for the downfall. To throw some light over this mystery, let us shift focus and discuss what had been happening in Europe.
The Scientific Revolution
The Renaissance that began to unfold approximately 350 years before the Danish king sent out his Arabian expedition had not implied any serious rebellion against the old authorities when it came to understanding the material world. The authorities were still Aristotle, the Bible and pronouncements by Catholic church authorities. This changed with the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century whose fundamental principles were primarily formulated by the Italian Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), the Englishman Francis Bacon (1561-1626) and the Frenchman René Descartes (1596-1650).
What these scientific pioneers had in common was that they started by doubting the established authorities and instead asked by what method one could obtain certain knowledge about the natural world. Galileo strove to separate science from religion. Francis Bacon introduced the so-called inductive method and Descartes introduced the deductive method. All three were of the opinion that scientific knowledge would lead to the possibility of man's control over nature.
Of course the high point of this entire development was the scientific breakthrough of Isaac Newton (1642-1727) and his new picture of the world.
It is important to stress three crucial aspects of the Scientific Revolution, which is still going on:
First, from a historical perspective is not primarily the concrete results that matter. Far more important are the methods by which scientific investigations are carried out. For example, the first results of Galileo's experiments were as wrong as the theories he was trying disprove. But if one's methods are right, one will sooner or later by experimentation, trial and error reach correct results. It follows from the European way of doing things that mistakes are not to be considered as sins that have to be punished by the guardians of the true faith. Mistakes, false theories and erroneous claims are necessary stepping stones for human progress.
Secondly, the Scientific Revolution necessitated a clash with religion, which cannot be permitted to play any role in the formulation of scientific hypotheses. (As will be noticed here, this separation of religion from science is a battle that has to be fought constantly. Even in the Western world. Just think of the new obscurantist, "creationist" theories, now dressed up as "intelligent design").
And thirdly, sustained and continuous scientific progress or advancement in human understanding cannot take place outside a climate of free speech. This means that people must have an unlimited right to advance even crazy theories and theories that turn out to be plainly wrong. They must also be permitted to offend, ridicule and blaspheme.
It is characteristic of every known totalitarian system – in the modern world primarily varieties of Fascism, Communism and Islamism – that they will not permit people to make mistakes or deviate from a truth they consider god-given. But it should not be forgotten that every major new theory that has advanced human knowledge has at one point been considered ridiculous, subversive or even blasphemous.
The pioneers of the European Scientific Revolution did not evade their share of condemnation, even though many of its leading lights considered themselves devout Christians who had absolutely no intention of undermining church doctrine. This was certainly the case with Galileo and Newton. René Descartes even worked hard to prove God's existence.
The scientists' good intentions towards the established church were not reciprocated. In 1616 – 73 years after his death – the Catholic church condemned Copernicus' heliocentric world picture as heretical. In 1633 the church basically crushed Mediterranean science by forcing Galileo to retract his contention that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Not that it made any difference in the real world – except that the Catholic Church drove serious science out of Italy and the Mediterranean lands and thereby handed the scientific and soon after the economic, political and philosophical lead to countries in Northern and Western Europe.
Of course, criticism of established church doctrine also came from within the church in the shape of Martin Luther, Huldrich Zwingli and Jean Calvin. But it should be remembered that their clash with religious orthodoxy was not unequivocal. While heaping invective on the pope and his tyrannical rule, Luther and Calvin also rejected and condemned the heliocentric picture of the world. And Calvin even asked: "Who dares to place Copernicus' authority above that of the Holy Ghost?"
The West and the Rest
What distinguishes Europe – and later European societies across the seas – from the Islamic World is the fact that religious orthodoxy could not survive the onslaught of free thought and free expression. By the time Carsten Niebuhr and his colleagues set out for Arabia in 1761, no educated man in Europe doubted that the world was heliocentric. Nor did any educated man question the value of reason and experiment as methods to obtain true knowledge of nature and man's place in it.
There is no simple and direct link between the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution that took hold in England around the time of Niebuhr's Arabian journey. But it is hard to imagine this burst of economic and productive energy without the confidence in man's ability to effect changes in the world that was inspired by the previous scientific breakthroughs. And of course, the entire Industrial Revolution with its canals, railways, factories, developed capitalism, division of labor, competition, expansion of international trade, international investments, extraction of natural resources etc. was unthinkable without the philosophical underpinning provided by the Enlightenment philosophers. Primarily by the Scotsman Adam Smith, whose best known book The Wealth of Nations was published nine years after Carsten Niebuhr's return, i.e. in the year 1776 – the year that has been called the Annus Mirabilis of the Enlightenment.
At the same time as the Arabs were afraid that Niebuhr and his companions were planning to turn their cities upside down by means of a strange looking glass, the Scotsman James Watt was busy developing the steam engine. James Hargreaves' revolutionary spinning machine, the Spinning Jenny, was patented in 1770.
These technical advances – and the economic progress they gave rise to – led to the development of the modern class system of capitalists and wage earners, which in turn paved the way for the breakthrough of political freedom, democracy, equality before the law, emancipation of the poor and downtrodden (including women), the elimination of traditional modes of government and sources of authority and not least for the abolition of slavery in the Western World.
Let me emphasize that this entire development could not have taken place without critics who insisted on their right to free speech and more precisely without the hard-won freedom to criticize religion, including the right to express opinions that someone would find blasphemous. Let us recall – once again – that every major step of social progress – the abolition of royal absolutism and the prerogatives of the nobility and the religious hierarchy, the freeing of the peasants, voting rights for workers, equality for women, the abolition of slavery and apartheid, prohibition against beating servants and children etc. – has invariably been opposed by reactionaries and holy men as offensive to the god-given order. So there is no progress in human society without a relentless struggle against the very concept of blasphemy.
For this reason I simply cannot understand why a man like Denmark's former foreign minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen and a group of leading capitalists, a great number of well known authors, artists and men of the media would demean themselves by condemning Jyllands-Posten's publication of the Muhammed cartoons. Their despicable stand shows that they have understood absolutely nothing of what the Western world stands for or of the background of its success.
Naively they believe that we can compromise with reactionaries and religious fanatics and still sustain our progressive economy. They do not understand that if Westerners have to clear their statements with the sheiks of Al-Azhar or the mullahs of Teheran or some European fatwa council or the pope in Rome or some bishops in Copenhagen, that will be the end of our civilization.
Public Opinion's Pernicious Influence
But when we talk of people or forces that try to put limitations on free speech, we should not only look to society's traditional power-holders – be they religious or secular.
Equally dangerous – in many respects far more dangerous – is the pernicious effect of so-called popular opinion. That which everybody is expected to think. And if they don't think it – then at least what they are expected to say if they want to be regarded as part of the civilized, cultured and politically correct consensus.
Rulings classes, kings, nobles, priests, bureaucrats and party bosses have often conspired to suppress the freedom of expression. But at least they do so openly and their motives are plain.
They may indeed be evil, but as Søren Kierkegaard said: "I do not complain because the times are evil but because they are contemptible."
Evil is what others do to you. Contemptible is what you do to yourself – such as refraining from saying what ought to be said for fear of being ostracized.
What is called public opinion should not be confused with what people really think. It is not the sum of all private opinions, which can be determined through democratic elections or opinion polls. Public opinion is what is being propagated by the press and by society's leading institutions.
And this public opinion is powerful. So powerful that one cannot rule against it even if one is backed by the silent majority. Those who can shout the loudest determine the course. Thus public opinion is not the general opinion but only one opinion among several possible opinions.
It gains its power by having morality on its side. This means that the propagators or custodians of public opinion need never give reasons for their points of view. They only need to portray the opinions of others as outrageous, immoral, reactionary or something even worse. And often the guardians of public opinion are incapable of realizing that their way of looking at society and the world is but a partisan set of beliefs or opinions – one among many others. But the belief that one represents public opinion often makes one blind and deaf towards other ways of understanding the world.
Today freedom of expression is almost universally defended at least in the West. But to test its limits in the real world by saying things that go against public opinion is quite another matter. It may totally destroy you as a public persona. Far better to defend free speech as a general concept with some buts added. Yes, free speech is a good idea and we all support it, but one should not say things that offend others, things that fly in the face of good taste and proper manners.
Such as the Muhammed cartoons.
An opinion climate such as I have just described is conducive to the idea that people who go against public opinion do so because they are immoral or simply evil. Or as Jean Baudrillard has put it: "political consensus has driven evil out of our societies to the extent that we have lost our political 'immune defenses'. ... The abolition of evil has become an obsession with us. This really amounts to a Totalitarianism of the Good, or to put is less dramatically: behind our quest for universal consensus lies a totalitarian will. That is a problem because you end up by not being able to identify evil" (quoted in Gade Jensen 2006, p. 15).
Timur Kuran has analyzed what happens when we hide or falsify our opinions. From a rational point of view it is often stupid to be honest. It may be more advantageous for the individual to keep one's opinion to oneself as a private truth and to say publicly what everybody else is saying (Kuran 1995).
The upshot may be that public opinion will become a collection of lies. This was the situation which Hans Christian Andersen described in his story about The Emperor's New Clothes, and which Vaclav Havel identified during Communism's rule in Czechoslovakia: A situation where citizens are forced or enticed to reproduce opinions which nobody believes in.
Unless we are constantly aware of the danger, the tyranny of public opinion may well become the bane of free speech and thereby of the very concept of freedom.
Let me conclude by offering this observation:
In the era of globalization, freedom must either advance or it must give way to the forces of darkness. And to those who cannot believe that a civilization as mighty as the Western and European civilization can simply collapse and humanity regress to some state of semi-barbarity – who cannot imagine that we can loose our technical accomplishments, our knowledge, our science, our humanism, that we can go back to hunger, illness and early death – just look at what happened to the Roman Empire.
And the first harbinger of imminent collapse will be the curtailment of free speech.
Gade Jensen, Henrik (2006): "Tidsånd og ytringsfrihed: Altid ryggen fri og hånden klar til stening", pp. 9-25 in Nørgaard, Lone and Wulff, Tabita (eds.): Storm over Europa: Islam – fred eller trussel? Copenhagen, Holkenfeldt
Kuran, Timur (1995): Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press
Niebuhr, Carsten (no date; ca. 2003-2004): Rejsebeskrivelse fra Arabien og andre omkringliggende lande (translated from German by Hans Christian Fink), Vols. 1-3. Copenhagen, Vandkunsten
This text was delivered as a keynote speech to a conference on "Freedom and Prejudice" jointly organized by Bahcesehir University, Istanbul, and Kent State University, Ohio, USA in Istanbul, October 5-6, 2006
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