The self-proclaimed Austrian “anti-jihad” and “anti-sharia activist” Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff appeared on June 21, 2013 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, at an event co-sponsored by the Center for Security Policy (CSP) and the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). In introducing the event, CSP’s Christine Brim called people like Sabaditsch-Wolff the “defenders of freedom” in a “struggle…to preserve free speech” and “equality under the law.” Sabaditsch-Wolff’s subsequent presentation of her courageous struggles in no way belied Brim’s introduction.
Sabaditsch-Wolff discussed her own well-publicized ordeals and subsequent activism stemming from criticizing Islam, a faith described by her as a “religion of peace” that “is not really peaceful to those who speak the truth.” Daughter of a diplomat, she had already developed reservations about Islam during her childhood stay in Iran right before the 1978-1979 revolution. During her diplomatic tenure, postings to Kuwait encompassing the 1990 Iraq invasion and to Libya where she saw her landlord on September 11, 2001, blame the Jews for Al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks that day only increased these concerns.
The controversy surrounding Sabaditsch-Wolff began with her comments before an October 2009 Vienna seminar of the rightwing Austrian Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs or FPÖ). Discussing canonical accounts of Islam’s mid-50s prophet Muhammad consummating a marriage with a nine-year old Aisha, Sabaditsch-Wolff asked “what do you call” this “if not pedophilia?” Subsequently, Sabaditsch-Wolff received hate speech charges under Section 283 of the Austrian Criminal Code.
The trial found insufficient evidence for the Section 283 charge. Yet the judge’s initiative brought a Section 188 charge against the denigration of recognized religions, resulting in a 480 Euro fine on February 15, 2011, later upheld. Thus Sabaditsch-Wolff concluded that under Europe’s various speech restrictions “you may not call a spade a spade” with respect to Islam.
This ordeal made Sabaditsch-Wolff devote herself to opposing Islamic totalitarianism, with her main “playground” the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This 1975-founded non-treaty organization “many people have never heard of” contains 57 states, including the United States and Canada, formulating various legally non-binding agreements in the areas of security, economics, and human rights. Here Sabaditsch-Wolff focuses on the OSCE’s Human Dimension covering human rights, in particular the Warsaw-based Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
Sabaditsch-Wolff described the OSCE as a “significant source” for developing hate speech laws in OSCE countries and the world. Thus Sabaditsch-Wolff proclaimed that “we don’t want to forfeit this game” at ODIHR against “Islamists” and “far left institutions…directly opposed to free speech.” To suppress criticism of Islam, these groups condemn “Islamophobia,” a “term not legally defined.”
Speaking of her own experience, Sabaditsch-Wolff declared, “How dare someone accuse me of a concept that does not exist?”
Read the rest at FrontPage Mag.
For previous posts on the “hate speech” prosecution of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, see Elisabeth’s Voice: The Archives.