I reported last week on the case of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, the Austrian anti-jihad activist who is facing a “hate speech” charge for one of her recent presentations on Islam.
Two days ago, on December 9th, Elisabeth was conducting another presentation in the same series of seminars. On this occasion she was interrupted and verbally attacked by Muslims in the audience who objected to what she had to say. Below is her report:
On Wednesday night I gave my presentation on Islam at another seminar, part 2 of the series in the province of Burgenland. The meeting was held in Pinkafeld, a small town about 90 minutes south of Vienna.
In November there were approximately 50 attendees at Seminar 1. This time the number was a bit lower; however, among them was a group of young Bosnian girls who appeared fully integrated, and would not even have been recognizable as Muslims if they hadn’t acted up they way they eventually did.
I began with a preamble of sorts, explaining the nature and goals of these seminars, focusing on the right to freedom of speech. In addition I emphasized that this seminar does not focus on Muslims themselves, but rather on political Islam and its manifestations. Furthermore, I stated that this seminar concentrates on criticism of Islam; if someone wants to hear the positive side of Islam, he or she is free to ask the Islamic faith community for a seminar.
Alas, these words — and my frequent repetitions that Muslims per se were not being addressed — did not deter the group of Bosnians from interrupting me to tell the audience that they felt victimized and feared that they too would one day be sent back to Bosnia (alluding to their thinking that I advocated the expulsion of Muslims from Austria) to face the wrath of the evil Serbs.
They simply did not want to listen nor understand that this seminar’s intention is to explain the nature of political Islam. Instead, they attacked me personally.
There’s no need to go into detail, since it followed the usual pattern. Cell phones were used to call in an Austrian lady who rudely interrupted me and confronted me verbally, saying that Christmas is celebrated in Egypt and that she would report me to the authorities for racism and xenophobia. (I had been showing pictures of last year’s Christmas displays in a German shopping center which had featured Islamic and Arabic scenes instead of Christian ones).
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In any case, the rest of the audience started to complain about the rudeness of these women. A verbal brawl ensued while I remained completely silent, waiting for everyone to calm down. Thank goodness the FPÖ had sent a security expert who managed to calm these women down, so that I was able to finish and take a break. The audience was visibly annoyed and rallied by my side.
During the break the Bosnian women continued the discussion outside the seminar room. They calmed down enough to continue listening to the remainder of my presentation — until, that is, I presented Eurabia, which caused them to get up collectively and leave the room (once more interrupting me).
One more observation: it was interesting to note that it was both the Muslim women who felt victimized as well as the “fundamentalist” Christians who were the ones causing the commotion, though the Christians to a lesser degree. They frequently interrupted saying that “all this can also be found in Christianity”.
I used the following two arguments that effectively “killed” unqualified dissent:
1. When the Bosnians and others complained that all I talked about were the negative aspects, I replied that I have not so far seen them or any other Muslim groups protesting FGM or other non-Muslim or Muslim behavior unacceptable in the West. 2. When members of the audience complained that my seminar was polemic or one-sided or should include this or that, I replied that they were free to hold their own seminars.
Both of these arguments were met with silence.
All in all, I was able to keep my composure, since by now I am able to deal with these people. Of course it is unnerving, but I will not be intimidated.
Their actions provided ample evidence of what my seminar was all about: freedom of speech, and these groups’ understanding of what this freedom means.
Photo © Snaphanen.