International Free Press Society’s Mohammed Cartoon Fundraiser Succeeds Despite Cyber Attack

International Free Press Society’s Mohammed Cartoon Fundraiser Succeeds Despite Cyber Attack

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, DC – April 13, 2009: Just one day after world media reported that the International Free Press Society (IFPS) was raising funds to support its free speech activities by selling prints of the most famous of the Danish Mohammed cartoons, the IFPS website suffered a massive cyber-attack. In the wake of the attack, which began at 6:30 am on Thursday, April 9, 2009, the IFPS created an alternate website which is now in place at http://internationalfreepresssociety.wordpress.com.  The main site will be restored in the near future at http://www.internationalfreepresssociety.org .  Prints of the controversial cartoon can be ordered online at http://freepresssociety.blogspot.com .

Sales for the print of “Turban Bomb,” signed and numbered by the Danish artist Kurt Westergaard, continue uninterrupted and indeed, have exceeded expectations, as orders have been processed via more traditional means and email marketing was expanded.

turbanbomb3

The IFPS was founded in January, 2009 to defend individuals and organizations under assault for exercising their right to free speech. For taking on this mission, the IFPS is under ongoing cyber-attacks. This aggression only serves to underscore the urgency with which free people must come together to defend free speech.

While the website was offline, the IFPS main office at the Danish Free Press Society in Copenhagen, Denmark received an unexpected increase of email, phone and fax orders for the prints of the controversial and historic Westergaard “Turban Bomb” cartoon, as well as calls of concern about the website outage from across Europe and North American. Information on how to purchase the original signed prints is provided at the temporary website and below. Demand for the cartoon have greatly exceeded expectations, with over 300 orders submitted during the website outage and in the immediate days before.  IFPS  anticipates that the limited edition of 1000 signed and numbered prints will sell out shortly.

The International Free Press Society provides original research, advocacy and support for authors and artists under attack, and daily news updates on  individual cases of repression of free speech particularly in Europe, Canada, and the United States, as well as in India, Africa and Asia. In February, March and April, IFPS helped sponsor speaking tours of major U.S. cities including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Miami for Geert Wilders, Dutch Parliamentarian and producer of the controversial film FITNA.

According to Lars Hedegaard, President of the International Free Press Society, people from around the world appear eager to show public support for artists’ and authors’ right to free expression by purchasing copies of the Westergaard signed print. “Orders are coming in from all over the world. Hong Kong, Canada, the US, Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, Norway, Finland, France – you name it.”
Hedegaard took the temporary outage in stride. “This was an attack against IFPS as an organization, and against our mission to support freedom of expression worldwide. Happily, it had the effect of increasing support for our activities as the word spread that we were being threatened. We encourage everyone to visit our temporary website at http://internationalfreepresssociety.wordpress.com and soon the restored one at www.internationalfreepresssociety.org , and to help support artists like Kurt Westergaard by purchasing a signed copy of his cartoon. We have also started a new Phase 2 viral online fundraising campaign, so that bloggers and website owners who want to support free expression can provide links at their own websites to order a print.”

Diana West, Vice President of the International Free Press Society, added: “In addition to increasing demand for the cartoon prints, this crude cyber-assault on free speech has boosted people’s awareness of the urgency of the IFPS mission.”

Kurt Westergaard, creator of the controversial cartoon, stated “The contemptible attempts to close us down will not succeed. The enemies of free speech will soon realize that their hacker attack on the IFPS website has only made us all the more determined to get our messages out. I take great comfort from the fact that so many people have already bought my cartoon. It’s good to know that freedom of expression has defenders all over the world.”

ABOUT THE “TURBAN BOMB” CARTOON BY KURT WESTERGAARD

Remember the Danish cartoon crisis? Riots and mayhem, trade boycotts, burnt-down embassies, more than 100 killed in violent demonstrations, death threats against artists and editors. All of it the result of the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten’s decision to publish 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed on 30 September 2005.

One cartoon in particular stood out as the focus of world-wide Islamic rage and has since acquired the status as the iconic image of our age: Kurt Westergaard’s drawing of the prophet with a bomb in his turban.

This is the picture that won Kurt Westergaard world fame but also meant that he has been forced to live under constant police protection ever since its publication. Despite contracts on his head and determined efforts by Islamists to kill him, Kurt Westergaard has never recanted and never apologized for being a free artist.

Now you can own your exclusive reproduction of this icon, which has never been offered for sale before.

In collaboration with the artist, the Free Press Society in Denmark and the International Free Press Society have printed up a limited edition of 1000 copies.

Each copy is individually numbered and signed by Kurt Westergaard.

The picture is printed in durable colors on fine paper 42 by 21.5 centimeters, suitable for framing. It will be delivered in a solid cardboard tube.

It can be yours for US $ 250 (188 Euros), postage and handing included, but exclusive of customs dues or VAT where applicable.

The proceeds from this offer will go towards the International Free Press Society’s continuous campaign for free speech.  Proceeds will support research, public education and legal efforts for individuals and organizations under assault for exercising their right to free expression; and to support efforts to ban hate speech laws and pass laws protecting freedom of expression.
To pay online through Paypal, go to : http://freepresssociety.blogspot.com/

To pay via bank transfer:

Please go to your bank and ask for a “bank to bank transfer”.

Transfer amount: US $ 250
Bank name: Danske Bank

Bank address:
Holmens Kanal 2-12
1092 København K
Denmark

Account owner: Trykkefrihedsselskabet

Bank number: 1551
Account number: 1032801
IBAN DK9430000001032801
Swift DABADKKK

Message: Indicate payer’s name, email address and postal address with payment

Turley in Washington Post: The Free World Bars Free Speech

Jonathan Turley, Law Professor at George Washington University, in a great editorial published today in the Washington Post.

The Free World Bars Free Speech

By Jonathan Turley
Sunday, April 12, 2009; B03

For years, the Western world has listened aghast to stories out of Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations of citizens being imprisoned or executed for questioning or offending Islam. Even the most seemingly minor infractions elicit draconian punishments. Late last year, two Afghan journalists were sentenced to prison for blasphemy because they translated the Koran into a Farsi dialect that Afghans can read. In Jordan, a poet was arrested for incorporating Koranic verses into his work. And last week, an Egyptian court banned a magazine for running a similar poem.

But now an equally troubling trend is developing in the West. Ever since 2006, when Muslims worldwide rioted over newspaper cartoons picturing the prophet Muhammad, Western countries, too, have been prosecuting more individuals for criticizing religion. The “Free World,” it appears, may be losing faith in free speech.

Among the new blasphemers is legendary French actress Brigitte Bardot, who was convicted last June of “inciting religious hatred” for a letter she wrote in 2006 to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, saying that Muslims were ruining France. It was her fourth criminal citation for expressing intolerant views of Muslims and homosexuals. Other Western countries, including Canada and Britain, are also cracking down on religious critics.

Emblematic of the assault is the effort to pass an international ban on religious defamation supported by United Nations General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. Brockmann is a suspended Roman Catholic priest who served as Nicaragua’s foreign minister in the 1980s under the Sandinista regime, the socialist government that had a penchant for crushing civil liberties before it was tossed out of power in 1990. Since then, Brockmann has literally embraced such free-speech-loving figures as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom he wrapped in a bear hug at the U.N. last year….

Read it all here…

IFPS resolution for the abolition of all hate speech and blasphemy laws

The International Free Press Society

A resolution for the abolition of all hate speech and blasphemy laws

The introduction and increasing application of laws against “hate speech” and “blasphemy” by national and supranational authorities throughout the Western world constitute a clear and present threat to freedom of expression.

While represented as protective laws to enforce civility, hate speech and blasphemy laws have become instruments in the hands of bureaucratic, political and juridical elites that enable them to punish citizens for expressing opinions and ideas the elites do not approve of. Such instruments, which ultimately prevent citizens from writing, publishing, and voicing ideas and opinions outside the established orthodoxy, undermine democracy itself.

Under these circumstances, citizens have only one recourse: to demand the total abolition of all hate speech and blasphemy laws.

The International Free Press Society will commit all the resources at its disposal to this fight.

March 8, 2009

Lars Hedegaard, President

Diana West, Vice President

Paul Belien, Vice President

Christine Brim, Secretary

Bjorn Larsen, Treasurer

Ned May, Outreach Coordinator

IFPS endorses joint NGO statement on danger of UN “defamation of religions” measures

The following statement has been endorsed by the International Free Press Society and the Danish Free Press Society.  The statement was introduced by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Freedom House, UN Watch and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty to urge all states to reject UN resolutions “combating defamation of religion” – a concept which has no validity in international law.

Joint NGO Statement on Danger of U.N. “Defamation of Religions” Campaign

We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations,

Deeply concerned by the pervasive and mounting campaign by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to produce U.N. resolutions, declarations, and world conferences that propagate the concept of “defamation of religions,” a concept having no basis in domestic or international law, and which would alter the very meaning of human rights, which protect individuals from harm, but not beliefs from critical inquiry;

Deeply concerned by the attempt to misuse the U.N. to legitimize blasphemy laws, thereby restricting freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press;

Deeply concerned that “defamation of religions” resolutions may be used in certain countries to silence and intimidate human rights activists, religious dissenters, and other independent voices;

Alarmed by the resolution on “defamation of religions” recently tabled at the current 10th session of the UN Human Rights Council;

Alarmed by the draft resolution on freedom of expression circulated by Egypt, whose amendments seek to restrict, not promote, protections for free speech;

Alarmed by the recently-announced initiative of the U.N. “Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards” to amend the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) by adding a protocol on “defamation of religions”;

Alarmed by provisions in the latest draft outcome document of the Durban Review Conference that, through coded language and veiled references, endorse and encourage these subversive and anti-democratic initiatives;

1. Call upon all governments to oppose the “defamation of religions” resolution currently tabled at the UN Human Rights Council, and the objectionable provisions of the freedom of expression resolution;

2. Call upon all governments to resist the efforts of the “Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards” to alter the ICERD;

3. Call upon all governments not to accept or legitimize a Durban Review Conference outcome that directly or indirectly supports the “defamation of religions” campaign at the expense of basic freedoms and individual human rights.

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