On the day following the appeals court decision upholding the verdict against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, the Austrian opinion writer Andreas Unterberger had something to say about the current state of “justice” in Austria. His op-ed makes a connection between Elisabeth’s situation and a recent incident of oppression targeting Christians in Saudi Arabia.
Many thanks to JLH for the translation:
Two Events in One Day and a Strange Connection
by Andreas Unterberger
December 21, 2011
In Vienna, Islam expert Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s conviction for denigration of religious doctrines was upheld by the higher court. In Saudi Arabia, 42 Ethiopian Christians were thrown into jail because they had prayed. The two instances do not have so little to do with each other as it appears at first glance.
A diseased form of justice is limiting freedom of expression in Austria in a completely novel way. All of a sudden, true statements about Islam — that the “prophet” Mohammed had sexual relations with a nine year-old-girl, which in the eyes of most Austrians is child abuse — are being punished by law. And the prosecutor’s office — which has absolutely no time to review the great scandals of this land — has for this trial performed eager and intensive preparations.
Much worse defamations of Christianity and its founder, on the other hand, have been regularly met with no punishment. Mostly under the pretext of artistic freedom. And with that, a large proportion of local cultural journalists have complacently covered Christians with scorn.
The arrest of Christians in Saudi Arabia on the same day because of a mere prayer demonstrates what intolerance predominates on the side whose honor our justice system is so heroically defending. And it is this very country which has been allowed to establish an inter-religious dialogue center in Vienna. With Foreign Minister Spindelegger leading the way. This means of course that Saudi Arabia in the eyes of the foreign ministry is the most important Islamic land. Only with the Saudis does one conduct such a dialogue.
And the purpose of this institution? It is supposed to further religious freedom, said the Saudi foreign minister at the ribbon-cutting. Apparently the motto is: chutzpah triumphs.
Yesterday’s two events show what this religious freedom signifies. Christians are convicted. In Saudi Arabia as in Austria. In neither case do we hear a word of protest or concern from Christian politicians of this land. If in fact there are any such politicians.
In this sense full of bitterness: Merry Christmas (so long as this wish too does not count as an insult to Islam, in which case of course, I would withdraw it immediately).