Jerry Gordon at the New English Review recently interviewed Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff about her upcoming trial in Vienna on “hate speech” charges. If you are new to Elisabeth’s case, Jerry’s introduction is a good summary of the background on it.
I’ve included the introduction and excerpted part of the interview below. At the bottom of this post is a list of previous articles about Elisabeth’s case.
An Interview with Austrian Free Speech Advocate Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
by Jerry Gordon
Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese housewife is going before a Kafkaesque Tribunal on November the 23rd for doing something which is legal under our US Constitution, criticizing a religion. That is one of the express purposes of the First Amendment which protects the freedom of speech in America. She had been suborned by a glossy weekly publication NEWS in Austria that sent a journalist into several lectures she gave about Islam, the Sunnah and Sharia, secretly recording them. Then lawyers for the left liberal publication gave the transcripts to the Viennese public prosecutors office as evidence of hate speech against one of the officially recognized religions under Austrian law, Islam. On September 15th charges were filed by the Austrian State against her and a trial before a single female Judge convened to be heard on November 23rd. The burden of proof in that proceeding rests solely on how Sabaditsch-Wolff and her talented counsel present her case. What the Austrian publication NEWS, the cabal of leftist allies of Austrian Muslims, and the Vienna Public Prosecutors Office realize is that they will be facing a formidable opponent, who will do her best to put Islam on trial in the proceeding. Sabaditsch-Wolff is not an ordinary Viennese housewife. She is the daughter of an Austrian diplomat who spent time in several Muslim countries, including Iran, Kuwait and Libya. She learned firsthand as a child of six the horrors of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran when Ayatollah Khomeini deposed the Shah’s regime. She was in Kuwait when Saddam Hussein invaded in 1990 and was evacuated to safety. She returned to Kuwait in the late 1990’s and learned what Sharia and Islamic doctrine mean in a Muslim country. She was in Libya on 9/11 and encountered evidence of Islamic anti-Semitism. Her travels with her diplomatic family also took them to Chicago for a consular posting during which time she learned the principles of our US Constitution and precious First Amendment free speech rights as a teenager. Her motivation for being the ‘local hero’ in Austria is as much protection of her six year old daughter’s future as it is arousing her fellow countrymen to understand the threat to their future from accommodation of Islamic doctrine and Sharia.
We were fortunate to have interviewed Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff just prior to her November 23rd trial.
|JG:||I am Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor for the New English Review and we have with us today an important fighter for human rights in the world, Ms. Elisabeth Sabaditsch- Wolff.|
|JG:||You are the second Austrian who has been charged with hate speech for criticism of the Qur’an and Islam. Minister of Parliament Dr. Susanne Winter was convicted by a Graz court in January 2009 of hate speech against Islam, received a suspended sentence of three months and was fined the equivalent of $30,000 in Euros. Dutch M.P. Geert Wilders’ trial on similar charges in the Netherlands has been halted because of witness tampering by one of the judges in the Amsterdam tribunal. Now you, an Austrian housewife and leader of the Act for America Chapter in Austria, are the subject of an unprecedented legal action. My question for you is why is your hate speech trial different from that of M.P. Winter and extremely dangerous?|
|ESW:||My trial is different from the simple point of view that I am a housewife and I am not a member of parliament or a politician. That’s basically all there is to it. I’m a private citizen who is concerned about Islam and the contents of the Qur’an, the Sunnah and Hadith. That is the main difference between Geert Wilders, Susanne Winter and me.|
|JG:||Are these politicized trials in Austria based on existing hate speech law regarding criticism of a religious belief, in this case Islam?|
|ESW:||Yes, they are based on existing hate speech laws. These laws have been in existence, as far as I know, since the post- Nazi era. They belong to a set of hate laws against officially recognized religions, basically regarding religious teachings and the other laws banning anything on National Socialism. Hate speech laws are absolutely dangerous because I am being prosecuted for the thoughts that I have. For conclusions that I have come to based on my readings.|
|JG:||What triggered this trial brought by the Vienna Public Prosecutors Office?|
|ESW:||The trigger was a series of seminars that I gave last fall, a three part series on the doctrines of Islam and Sharia. The Islamization of Europe has come about as a result of the teachings of Islam. In addition, Eurabia is one aspect I covered. A young Austrian journalist from a very liberal left wing weekly glossy magazine was apparently asked to infiltrate and attend the seminars, record them without my knowledge and my consent. The magazine had the lectures transcribed and then had their lawyer go to the public prosecutors office and hand over the transcripts Then the public prosecutor decided to follow up and bring the case. Now in less than two weeks I will have to stand trial.|
|JG:||Who brought the charges against you and what was their motivation?|
|ESW:||Well, the charges against me were first brought by this magazine called “NEWS” (all capital letters). Because they handed it over to the public prosecutor’s office it’s now the State versus Sabaditsch-Wolff. Their motivation? That is an interesting question because I don’t really know. I can only suspect that motivation was to try and halt Freedom Party leader Heinz Christian- Strache and cause problems for him. What they didn’t realize is that they got the wrong person with me. I don’t take this personally. Their motivation was probably also a concern about Islam. The leftist liberals as you probably are aware are very pro Islam so it’s a combination of a couple of factors I suspect.|
|JG:||What are the alleged charges regarding your supposed hate speech against Islam?|
|ESW:||Well the charges are very foggy. I’m being charged for a collection of statements I made in a fully sourced seminar, actually all three seminars were fully sourced. The charges as ridiculous as my saying that I am against Sharia Law in Austria and gender apartheid. It’s just ridiculous. We will have to see what happens on November 23rd and how the prosecutor will react to my defense.|
|JG:||You have a court date on November 23rd in Vienna. What kind of a tribunal will hear this matter?|
|ESW:||Well, the tribunal is just the judge. A lady incidentally and she will then decide based on whether or not she finds my response regarding the Qur’an, the Sunnah and you know all my other proofs acceptable. It’s up to her to decide whether or not she will accept that proof. If she doesn’t it remains to be seen what happens. If she does, it will be even more interesting because then it is actually the state that has to decide on the content of the Qur’an, whether or not it is compatible with Austrian law.|
|JG:||Who will be representing you?|
|ESW:||I have one of the best lawyers in Austria. His specialty is not only media law, because as you know the allegations were brought to the attention of the prosecutor’s office by a very successful weekly magazine. However, he is also an expert on the UN Human Rights Convention so he knows exactly what it means to defend somebody who is being charged for a crime against freedom of speech. So he’s the best.|
|JG:||Will you be allowed to have expert witnesses and who have you considered testifying on your behalf?|
|ESW:||I don’t know if I will have to have expert witnesses. We will certainly be asking the courts to allow expert witnesses. Following Geert Wilders line of defense we will be asking Professor Hans Jansen of the Netherlands and Wafa Sultan to testify on my behalf. I might also add that I have asked Robert Spencer to come to Vienna to sit next to me and help me in case I need Qur’anic Sura quotes. He has indicated he would be willing to come to Vienna as well.|
Read the rest at the New English Review.
Previous posts about the hate speech case against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff: