Icelanders are planning to gather peaceably at Grand Hotel next Thursday, at the same time and place that Robert Spencer will be holding a lecture about the supposed dangers of Islam.
The event in question, “Protect Human Rights”, is meant to serve as a counterbalance against Spencer’s lecture, as he is fairly well known for what the Southern Law Poverty Centre, amongst others, have called hate speech against Muslims, to such an extent that he was even denied entry to the UK in 2013 on the grounds that his presence “is not conducive to the public good”, as the Home Office put it at the time.
Although the Protect Human Rights event was only kicked off this morning, it is already fast approaching an equal number of pledged attendees as Spencer’s lecture. Sema Erla Serdar, one of the organisers of the event, told The Grapevine that she finds it “tragic to see individuals in Iceland forming a group whose sole purpose is to incite hatred of Muslims and foreigners in particular.”
Sema adds that the purpose of the Protect Human Rights event is strictly peaceful.
“By having this solidarity meeting at the same time [as Spencer’s lecture], we want to send a clear message that Icelanders will defend human rights,” she says. “We are a democratic country where freedom of religion, human rights and a ban on discrimination is defended in our constitution and laws. We are a nation of human rights, freedom and justice. It isn’t Muslims who threaten our peace, security and public good in Iceland – it’s men like Robert Spencer.”