A GUNMAN reportedly tried to shoot a Danish writer and prominent critic of Islam on his doorstep yesterday, but missed and fled after a scuffle with his intended victim.
Lars Hedegaard, who heads a group that claims media freedom is under threat from Islam, claimed he was shaken but not injured in the attack at his Copenhagen home. Police said they were searching for a “foreign” man aged 20-25.
Mr Hedegaard, 70, said the gunman got into the building by ringing the doorbell and saying he was delivering a package. When he opened his front door, the man pulled out a gun and fired a shot which narrowly missed his head.
“The bullet flew past my right ear, after which I attacked him and punched him in the face, which made him lose the gun,” Mr Hedegaard said. He said the gunman then fled.
Mr Hedegaard heads the Free Press Society in Denmark and the International Free Press Society. He is also among the publishers of a weekly anti-Islam newsletter.
In 2011, he was convicted of hate speech and fined 5,000 kroner for insulting and degrading statements about Muslims.
Denmark’s premier Helle Thorning-Schmidt condemned what she called a “despicable” act. “It is even worse if the attack is rooted in an attempt to prevent Lars Hedegaard to use his freedom of expression,” she said.
Hedegaard has expressed support for anti-Islamic agitators, including Swedish artist Lars Vilks and Dutch MP Geert Wilders.
Several Scandinavian writers, artists and journalists have been exposed to threats and violence from extremists since the 2005 publication of Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad triggered uproar in Muslim countries.