On Tuesday, January 18th, 2011, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff faced the court in Vienna for a second time. Rather than the hoped-for verdict, the trial was adjourned until February 15th.
On the first day of the trial last November, Elisabeth’s lawyer, Dr. Rami, had insisted on playing the incriminating tapes that had been recorded without permission during her seminar. However, due to technical reasons the court was unable to play the tapes, and the task was postponed until the most recent court session this past Tuesday.
Instead of playing the entire four hours of tape, Dr. Rami decided after the first 45 minutes that the court had heard enough to prove that there was no incitement to hatred or anything else. Rather, it was very clear that the tone and setting of the seminar was one of sober respect.
It was thus a complete surprise when the judge — not the prosecutor! — proceeded to inform Elisabeth and her lawyer that the charge of “denigrating religious symbols of a recognized religious group” were being added to the existing charges. Her lawyer immediately demanded a postponement so that the defense could prepare a new strategy.
Although the charge of “incitement to hatred” carries a higher sentence, it is more difficult to prove. The added charge, however, has now made a conviction — and thus the need for an appeal — more likely. While we know that Elisabeth will fight the charges with all possible means, we do have to consider the possibility that she may be convicted, and must prepare accordingly. This necessitates a second appeal for funds.
We are asking our readers for help. Not just financial help — many of our people may be tapped out by now — but also help in spreading the word. Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, like Geert Wilders, Lars Hedegaard, and all the other members of the Roster of the Silenced, are canaries in the Western coalmine. Where they walk today, hundreds and thousands of the rest of us must follow tomorrow.
Unless enough people can be awakened to what is happening in Europe, an iron curtain of silence will inevitably descend on the entire Western world.
Elisabeth needs your help to fight these charges and to make sure that the truth remains the truth. With that in mind, we are re-activating the Elisabeth’s Voice campaign. All of your donations will once again go to a special fund set up specifically for her defense, and will only be disbursed for legal fees, translations, and relevant books and other documentation needed to prepare the defense. Visit the Save Free Speech website to donate via PayPal, or see the bottom of this post for information about bank transfers.
Please give generously. The outcome of this trial will affect us, our children, and our grandchildren. We must speak up now for the values we believe in. There will be no second chance.
A new wrinkle in Elisabeth’s case appeared on Tuesday evening, when the Austrian newspapers reported that she could be heard on the seminar tape saying that “Euro-Islam is s***”. This was a blatant falsehood — the tape clearly indicates that she said no such thing.
The story is that APA (Austria Press Agency) sent a young man to follow the proceedings, and he “misheard” Elisabeth say “Euro-Islam is s**”, when in fact she said “Euro-Islam is wishful thinking”. The phrases in German are Euro-Islam ist Scheiße versus Euro-Islam ist Wunschdenken, so there is obviously no possibility that the reporter confused two similar-sounding words — this was a malicious misquote.
Elisabeth’s counsel has initiated a libel suit against all newspapers that printed the falsehood. This also adds to her legal costs, but when she wins the suit, she will recoup them in the damage award.
Below is a letter to Die Presse from Dr. Maria Stückler about the newspapers’ libel against Elisabeth. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:
The Trial concerning the Islam Seminar: “The Muslim lies”
I was at the trial of Mrs. Sabaditsch-Wolff, but did not hear the statement : “Euro-Islam is s***.” Rather, I remember [the statement] “Euro-Islam is wishful thinking”. And the statement, “Islam is crap” only served to demonstrate how poor the situation for freedom of expression already is in Austria (as in all of Europe).
I also did not hear “the Muslim lies,” but I did hear “we are being lied to 24 hours a day,” and indeed with reference to and explanation of the principle of taqiyya, that is, legitimized lying to infidels. Countless statements attest that the representatives of Islam practice this principle: [saying] for instance, that the Koran forbids the beating of women, but in truth it commands men to do it — even on mere suspicion. Or that stoning has nothing to do with sharia, but everything to do with patriarchy, but Mohammed himself practiced it and Iran, for instance, still uses this punishment today. Or that Islam guarantees religious freedom, while in reality it provides the death penalty for apostasy. Or that Islam is peace and tolerance, but sharia declares the perpetual duty of holy war and massively discriminates against subjugated non-Muslims. Prof. Bassam Tibi (himself a Muslim) on the Christian-Islamic dialogue: “Blessed are the Deceived.”
It is not Mrs. Sabaditsch-Wolff who alleges Mohammed’s pedophilia, but the basic Islamic texts themselves: At the age of over 50, he married a nine year-old girl. And the Koran, too, in its regulations governing divorce, assumes as fact the marriage of pre-pubescent girls. Up to now, Islamic legal scholars from Morocco to Indonesia (including the NU as the largest Muslim organization in the country) have justified child marriages by reference to the example of Mohammed and to the Koran. In numerous Islamic countries, the law does not even recognize a minimum age. So if this statement represents a “derogation of religious teachings,” then one can only say: “It is Islam and its Prophet themselves that are derogating Islam and its Prophet.” Nothing demonstrates more clearly than this the relationship of Islam and common sense.
When the media spread untrue claims about critics of Islam, that then apparently falls under the category of freedom of the press. If someone states uncomfortable truths about Islam, however, it can happen that that person is accused by the media of hateful incitement.
The media should not forget that freedom of expression is the basis of freedom of the press, so much more so, as — according to “EU Framework Decision against Racism and Xenophobia” — truth is not a mitigating factor.
And the human rights organizations should not forget that without freedom of expression, all other human rights are obsolete. It is high time for them to begin fighting against the hate-speech laws, which have entered the EU by the back door.
And the politicians should be reminded that human rights are not a political instrument which they can manipulate at will. Rather, they should respect them, and not criminalize them.
Dr. Maria Stückler
Here is the webpage for donations to Elisabeth’s Voice.
For international payments:
Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich
Made out to: Public Notary Mag. Martin Scheichenbauer, Hemmaweg 5, A-9342 Gurk
Previous posts about the hate speech case against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff: