The case of the part-time pedophile
Well, that’s what Perry Mason would have called it. But 21st century Europe is a long way from Erle Stanley Gardner. On Tuesday, in a story headlined “Austrian Court Upholds Islam’s Blasphemy Rules”, Nina Shea reported:
Today, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a young Viennese mother, was convicted under section 283 of the Austrian penal code of vilifying religious teachings for her negative commentary on Islam in a lecture before a political-party gathering in Vienna; she was fined 480 Euros. Sabaditsch-Wolff, a diplomat’s daughter, had lived and worked for several years in various Middle Eastern Muslim countries, and at the lecture in question spoke critically of the treatment of women and the practice of jihad in Iran, Libya, and other places that she had lived in.
Frau Sabaditsch-Wolff’s case came up while I was off with various health issues, but I said a few words about it when I was in Ottawa. This was Austria’s contribution to the hottest trend on the Continent — heresy trials. Officially, Mrs Sabaditsch-Wolff and Geert Wilders and Lars Hedegaard are in the dock as heretics against post-Christian Europe’s new religion of “multiculturalism”. But that’s just a transitional stage. As I wrote of the Wilders trial:
The good news is that the Openbaar Ministerie is doing such a grand job with its pilot program of apostasy prosecutions you’ll barely notice when sharia is formally adopted.
Elisabeth’s case attracted less attention than most of the others. In a follow-up, Nina Shea speculated as to why that might be:
This is probably due to the fact that she is an ordinary person and not an acclaimed writer, politician, or celebrity (think Mark Steyn, Geert Wilders, and Brigitte Bardot) — the most prominent examples of the growing ranks of Western Europeans and Canadians who have faced legal problems for criticizing Islamic teachings.
I think it’s also that Austria does not resonate in the imagination as a beacon of individual liberty in the way that the anglophone democracies and certain Continental countries do — or did. Nevertheless, this is a very dark decision. If Lars Hedegaard was acquitted on a technicality, Mrs Sabaditsch-Wolff was convicted on one. See if you can follow the judge’s “thinking”:
The integration of Muslims is surely a question of particular public interest — you are allowed to be critical — but not incitement of hatred…
The language used in the seminars were not inciting hatred, but the utterances regarding muhammad and paedophilia were punishable.
“Paedophilia” is factually incorrect, since paedophilia is a sexual preference which solely or mainly is directed towards children. Nevertheless, it does not apply to Mohammad. He was still married to Aisha when she was 18. It is a “denigration of religious teachings” and are found guilty and sentenced to 120 days, which approaches the minimum of €480.
So, although Mohammed deflowered Aisha when she was nine, it is “factually incorrect” to call him a pedophile because he was still hot for her when she was in her late teens? As a point of law, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish — and you’re gonna finish on top! Does this judicial ruling apply to all Austrians partial to a piece of underage totty? For example, Wolfgang Priklopil:
The Austrian girl who was kidnapped at the age of ten and imprisoned for eight years in a dungeon-like basement room by a pedophile predator who committed suicide when she escaped last week…
Whoa, whoa, hold up there. How can you say Herr Priklopil was a “pedophile” when he was still having sex with her when she was 18? And so were all his friends:…
Read the rest at Mark Steyn’s place.
As a recap, here is the video recorded in Ottawa last October of an interview with Mark Steyn about Elisabeth’s case:
Previous posts about the hate speech case against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff:
Hat tip: Lexington.