The International Free Press Society sponsored a conference today in Copenhagen. Below is the speech that was given during the event by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff (photo © Snaphanen).
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I stand here before you in the city of Copenhagen in the year 2010. This is widely considered to be an enlightened country in the heart of an enlightened continent.
Our basic freedoms have long been guaranteed — first by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as passed by the United Nations in 1948, and then buttressed by the Council of Europe in 1950 through the European Convention of Human Rights, which was later affirmed by the European Union. Our individual countries have additionally codified the same basic rights in their own constitutions.
These rights include the freedom of individual conscience, the right to assemble peaceably, and the right to practice our religion freely, or to have no religion at all. And, perhaps most importantly of all, they include the right to voice our opinions freely and to publish them without hindrance.
Yet freedom of speech is under attack today here in Denmark, as it is in my own country Austria, and indeed all across Europe. Today, in 21st century Western Europe, our right to free speech is being shut down quietly and systematically with an effectiveness that the commissars in the old Soviet Union could only dream of.
A milestone in this ominous totalitarian trend will be reached tomorrow, 28 November 2010, when the member states of the European Union are required to implement an innocuous-sounding legal provision known as the “Framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia”, or, more fully, the “Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law.” According to the final article of the Framework Decision, “Member States shall take the necessary measures to comply with the provisions of this Framework Decision by 28 November 2010.”
Why does this matter to the cause of free speech in Europe?
If you read the full text of the Framework Decision (which may be found in the legislative section of the EU’s website), you will learn that “Each Member State shall take the measures necessary… to ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable.” Such “intentional conduct” includes “conduct which is a pretext for directing acts against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin.”
Based on what has recently happened to Geert Wilders and me — and earlier to Gregorius Nekschot, Jussi Halla-aho, and numerous others — we can all guess who will be punished under this provision of the Framework Decision: those who criticize Islam.
Even worse, a complaint made by a member state does not have to be “dependent on a report or an accusation made by a victim of the conduct”, nor does the alleged offender have to be “physically present in its territory”.
In other words, if the dhimmi Austrian government objects to a cartoon published by Kurt Westergaard here in Denmark, Mr. Westergaard may be extradited by the Austrian Ministry of Justice to answer to hate speech charges in Austria. The European Arrest Warrant guarantees that the Danish government cannot legally interfere with such an extradition, and the 800-strong “European Gendarmerie Force” would be available to fetch Mr. Westergaard out of his bed and bring him to Vienna — with impunity.
As of tomorrow, the above scenario becomes a real possibility. It is not a paranoid fantasy. These legal provisions are detailed in the EU’s public documents, and they will enjoy the full force of law in all EU member states as of midnight tonight.
The death throes of free speech in Europe begin tomorrow morning.
As most of you already know, nearly a year ago I was made aware that “hate speech” charges might be filed against me — I had “denigrated religious teachings” by giving one of my public lectures on Islam.
The possibility of my prosecution was not communicated to me directly, but through articles in the press.
It was not until last month that a court date was set for my case. Once again, I had to discover this fact in the press — in NEWS, the same left-wing newspaper that brought the original complaint against me. I was not officially notified of my hearing date until several days later.
The evidence used against me this past week was a transcript of a tape of my lecture, provided to the court by the same socialist newspaper. It included words that were not spoken by me, and words that were not spoken in public, which therefore were not a violation of the law.
But my case is not really about the law. It is a political trial, and like the trials of Geert Wilders and Jussi Halla-aho, it is intended to silence someone who speaks out against the barbaric nature of sharia law.
Above all else, it is intended to discourage anyone who might consider following in my footsteps. The oligarchs who rule Europe are determined to prevent any frank discussion among their citizens of Islam and its legal doctrines.
These are the methods of a totalitarian state.
They are more successful than those of the Nazis and the Fascists and the Communists because they are accomplished quietly and peacefully, with no need for concentration camps or gulags or mass graves or the shot in the back of the neck in the middle of the night.
They are surgical strikes executed via our legal systems, and they are quite effective. Between the summary punishment carried out against Theo Van Gogh and the Framework Decision applied though our courts, there is no room left for us to maneuver.
We are systematically being silenced.
I admire the provisions of the First Amendment that all Americans enjoy as their birthright. Its free speech provisions will make the imposition of sharia that much more difficult in the United States.
But here in Europe we are not so well-protected. Our constitutions and the rules imposed upon us by the EU allow certain exceptions to the right to speak freely, and those little rips in the fabric of our rights are enough to tear the entire structure to pieces.
We desperately need our own version of the First Amendment. We need leaders who are wise and courageous enough to compose and implement legal instruments that affirm the same fundamental rights that are guaranteed to all citizens by the United States Constitution.
We do not yet have any leaders of this caliber. But they are beginning to appear on the scene, and one day they will be the real leaders of our individual European nations, replacing the internationalist totalitarian usurpers who oppress us today.
Our nations will be governed by their own people, by those who truly represent them. Their leaders will be true patriots, people like Jimmie Åkesson and Kent Ekeroth in Sweden, or Oskar Freysinger in Switzerland, or Geert Wilders and Martin Bosma in the Netherlands, or Filip Dewinter and Frank Vanhecke in Flanders.
We are going to reclaim our continent and our nations. We will take our countries back from those thieves who sneaked them away from us while were lulled into somnolence by our wealth and our pleasant diversions.
This will not be an easy task. Our path will be strewn with obstacles and great dangers. But we must travel it nonetheless, because if we do not, European civilization — the heart of Western Civilization — will be destroyed.
What were formerly our nations will become regions with indistinct boundaries, populated mainly by people of foreign cultures and administered by corrupt totalitarian bureaucrats. The natives — the original inhabitants, our children, the descendants of those who created the greatest civilization the world has ever known — will be reduced to curators and costumed actors in a quaint theme park.
Call it “Euro World”. Authentic cuisine, ethnic dancers, and fireworks at ten o’clock.
This is what we will face if we give up our cherished freedoms. If lose our freedom of speech, then we are lost forever.
I am not a victim. I intend to stand up for what is right. I will defend what needs to be defended. Above everything else, I will exercise my God-given right to speak freely about what is happening. Freedom of speech is the single most important freedom we possess.
I am doing this for my daughter, and for her children, for those who will have to live in the world we are now preparing for them. I am doing what our grandparents should perhaps have done during the 1930s, when their own freedoms were under threat.
This is our time. This cup will not pass from us.
I am reminded of a passage in J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.
It is an exchange between Frodo the hobbit and Gandalf the wizard, and it concerns the perilous quest on which Frodo and his friends have been sent.
Frodo says: “I wish it need not have happened in my time.”
Gandalf responds: “So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
It is time for us to decide what to do with the time that is given us.
If I were to speak these same words tomorrow morning, I might be subject to arrest. I could be charged under the provisions of the Framework Decision, and extradited to the country that charged me using a European Arrest Warrant, escorted by the European Gendarmerie.
This is not an imaginary scenario; it is a very real possibility.
It is true that only a few people are likely to undergo such an ordeal. But it only takes a few people.
How many people have to endure what Mr. Wilders and I are enduring before everyone else gets the message?
How many examples have to be set before the rest of the European population understands the new rules, and is cowed into submission?
And we must remember to whom they will be submitting in the end. They will be submitting to our successors in Europe. They will be submitting to our replacements.
We must remember that the word for submission in Arabic is Islam.
When there are enough Muslims living in Europe — and it doesn’t have to be a majority of the population, just somewhere around fifteen or twenty percent — we will be living under Islamic law, and not the laws that presently govern us.
We will no longer enjoy what constitutional rights remain to us now. Our rights will be completely prescribed and delimited by sharia. Women will become the virtual chattel of men. Christians and Jews will be driven out or forced to convert to Islam. Atheists and homosexuals will be killed.
The European Union would consider these words to be “hate speech”. Under the Framework Decision, they would be classified as “racism and xenophobia”, and I could be prosecuted for saying them.
But they are in fact the simple truth.
Anyone can verify them by studying history. Anyone who chooses can read the Koran and the hadith and the Sunna of the Prophet.
Widely available official treatises on Islamic law confirm that my description is not “hate speech”, but a plain and accurate reading of the tenets of Islamic law.
It has become obvious that to tell the truth about Islam is now considered “incitement to religious hatred”.
It is now clear that non-Muslims who reveal the tenets of sharia law to the public are “denigrating religious teachings”.
If we meekly accept these rules, then we are acquiescing in the imposition of sharia law in our own nations. And I, for one, will not sit silently while this happens.
I don’t want my daughter to live under sharia.
Our time is short. If you and I do not envision an Islamic future for ourselves, then we must speak out now.
If we wish to preserve the right to speak and publish freely, then we must exercise it now.
I wish this need not have happened in my time. But it has.
We must make full use of the time that remains to us.
Previous posts about the hate speech case against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff: