Our Rosetta Stone project for LTC (ret.) Allen West has highlighted his role in the FDI event at CPAC last month. However, as regular readers will recall, the Austrian anti-jihad activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was also a featured speaker at that event.
While she was in Washington D.C., Elisabeth was interviewed by Sarah Morrison for The Jewish State, and the result was published on February 26. Some excerpts are below:
Activist takes on radical Islam
Sabaditsch-Wolff: ‘It remains to be seen whether the truth is a defense’
Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff may not be a household name, but she is now a high-profile personality in the growing movement against radical Islam’s steadying foothold in Europe.
A mother and an activist, Sabaditsch-Wolff was launched into the heart of the anti-Jihad movement, and she is currently on trial after a November 2009 article written by an undercover journalist at one of her seminars categorized her as a cold woman who spreads vitriolic rhetoric against Islam. However, Sabaditsch-Wolff insists that all she is doing is telling the truth, and she fully expects to stand trial on charges of hate speech.
“We’re going to reply to the charges and we will do that in full detail,” Sabaditsch-Wolff told The Jewish State in an interview Feb. 19. “It remains to be seen whether the truth is a defense. I don’t think it will be.”
If her case makes it to trial, it will be the first challenge to Austrian laws that ban hate speech against officially recognized religions, of which Islam is one. According to Austrian law, if a religion is recognized by the country, it is protected against hate speech unless the tenets of the religion go against the Austrian constitution. Christianity and Judaism have both been challenged and cleared in Austria, but Islam has not been challenged since it was incorporated under this law in 1912. While she did not intend to bring any case to court, now that the opportunity has fallen in her lap, she plans to run with it.
“We have been wanting to get there, let’s put it that way,” Sabaditsch-Wolff said.
Sabaditsch-Wolff spent a large portion of her life in Muslim countries — her father was an Austrian diplomat in Iran when the Iranian Revolution broke out in 1979. As a 6-year-old girl, she did not have a strong grasp on the Islamic doctrine around her, but she said that the fear she felt around her scared her the most.
“We had liberty before, during the shah, and all of a sudden, it changed,” Sabaditsch-Wolff said. “All of a sudden, [there were] hundreds of thousands of black-clad women. As a 6-year-old, you just get so scared, and this fear stays with you, it does not go away.” All diplomatic dependents were expelled the night Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, and Sabaditsch-Wolff returned to Austria with her parents and sister, an ordeal in itself in an airport packed with people trying to escape.
“You have to understand the tension that was in the air,” Sabaditsch-Wolff said.
Her family stayed in Austria for several years before moving to Chicago, where she completed most of her schooling and improved her English. Her family returned to Austria toward the end of her high school education, and she finished schooling in Austria. Soon after, however, Sabaditsch-Wolff found herself back in the Middle East, this time in Kuwait, at a summer job stamping passports for the Austrian embassy. It was there that she saw another country turned on its head, when Saddam Hussein invaded in August of 1990.
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When she returned to Austria after her year in Libya, she finished her schooling and taught English for several years. However, her mind kept turning to her experiences in Iran, Kuwait, and Libya, and she found a book called “Gabriel’s Whisperings,” written by an Indian atheist, which used only Islamic doctrine to explain Islam. In this book, Sabaditsch-Wolff read about the treatment of women, which filled in the gaps that she had for so many years between her experiences in the Middle East and North Africa and what was going on around her.
“It scared me, shocked me, and infuriated me,” Sabaditsch-Wolff said. “That finally gave me the answers as to what I’ve been feeling and seeing for a long time. That feeling of hopelessness and loneliness, this feeling of being alone in this fight, it gave me a lot of strength.”
For now, however, Sabaditsch-Wolff is concentrating on her trial, her message, and the support of her husband and her 5-year-old daughter.
“She’s actually at the right age [that] she would be forced to undergo FGM (female genital mutilation). That thought alone gives me such strength, such motivation, that I have to do this,” Sabaditsch-Wolff said. “I would not be able to look in her face in a couple of years, like I wanted to ask my grandparents, what did you do during the 1930s? Didn’t you know? Didn’t you see? Didn’t you read? And I never, ever, want my daughter to ask me that. I want her to be proud of me.”
Read the rest at The Jewish State.