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Islam critic escapes murder attempt

A prominent Danish critic of Islam has escaped an attempt to shoot him dead on his own doorstep.

The gunman missed and fled after a scuffle, said writer Lars Hedegaard, who heads a group that claims press freedom is under threat from Islam.

Police in Copenhagen were searching for the suspect, whom they described as a "foreign" man aged 20-25.

Mr Hedegaard, 70, said the gunman rang the bell of his apartment on the pretext of delivering a package, and when he opened the front door, the man pulled out a gun and fired a shot that narrowly missed him.

"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 heads the Free Press Society in Denmark and its international offshoot, 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 (£600) for making a series of insulting and degrading statements about Muslims.

Mr Hedegaard has expressed support for a range of outspoken Islam critics in Europe, 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 Mohammed triggered an uproar in Muslim countries.

Many Muslims believe the prophet should not be depicted at all - even in a flattering way - because it might encourage idolatry

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