Free press advocates call discriminated student a “media whore”

A student who was denied entry to a free speech debate because of his name has asked for 13,425 kroner in compensation

Free press advocates Trykkefrihedsselskabet say they won’t pay any compensation to a 20-year-old student after denying him entry to a debate about free speech last month.

Jihad Taha is demanding 13,425 kroner and an apology for being denied entry to the debate and, in exchange, has promised not to take the case to court.

But Trykkefrihedsselskabet  board member Torben Mark Pedersen has stated that Taha should not expect to get an øre.

“We reject outright his demand,” Pedersen told Politiken newspaper. “It is comic that Jihad is now trying to make money out of the case. He is presenting himself as a greedy media whore.”

The conference was put on after the failed assassination attempt of Trykkefrihedsselskabet founder Lars Hedegaard, a renowned critic of Islam who thinks the assassin, who remains on the run, was attempting to silence him.

Taha had bought a ticket to the event but was informed by Trykkefrihedsselskabet via email that he wouldn’t be allowed to attend due to “security concerns”.

Pedersen explained that he was alerted by Taha’s first name, Jihad, as it is an Arabic term that is often used to mean ‘holy war’. He was also concerned about a Che Guevara quote on Taha’s Facebook profile which he though sounded very “warrior-like”.

Despite this, Pedersen argues that Taha was not discriminated against because of his ethnicity as other individuals with Arabic and Middle-Eastern backgrounds were allowed in.

“We think it’s funny. There is no case. He has not been discriminated against in the eyes of the law. He has no earthly chance of winning a court case. Experts may have said he could win if he had been excluded because of his ethnic background, but that wasn’t the reason,” Pedersen told Politiken.

“He wants the money because he was so busy that he couldn’t work the next day, but that’s only because he was so busy being in all the media. He wants money from Trykkefrihedsselskabet to pay for his media cravings. He can forget all about it.”

Taha replied by saying that he would have given the money to charity.

“If Trykkefrihedsselskabet had agreed to my demand for compensation I would have given the money to the [children’s charity] Red Barnet Ungdom. Except for the 50 kroner I paid to Trykkefrihedsselskabet  to sign up to their event," Taha wrote on Facebook. "I would keep that because I never got it back.”




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