Author and debater Lars Hedegaard announced today that he is stepping down after nine years as the head of Trykkefrihedsselskabet, the Free Press Society.

"A captain shouldn't abandon a sinking ship," Hedegaard told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. "But Trykkefrihedsselskabet is not taking on water. On the contrary, it is sailing strong, leaving many accomplishments in its wake while many more wait on the horizon."

Hedegaard, 71, is a controversial Islam critic and had to go underground last year following a failed assassination attempt when an unknown person posing as a postman tried to shoot him outside Hedegaard's home.

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