Long-time readers are familiar with Michael Stürzenberger, the German anti-jihad activist and member of Die Freiheit. Mr. Stürzenberger has been up on charges before for his political views in Germany, but now he has been tried, convicted, and sentenced in Austria. One of his “crimes” was to quote Voltaire on the topic of Islam.
Below is the report on the case from Michael Mannheimer’s blog. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:
Austria: Stürzenberger Sentenced to Prison and Fine
Today, in Graz, Austria, German Islam critic Michael Stürzenberger was tried for “hate speech and denigration of religious doctrines.” The decision: Four months probation and a fine of €960. Since he asked for three days to consider, the decision is not yet legally binding.
If Voltaire were alive today, it would have been no different for him than for Stürzenberger. He would have been sentenced to prison because of his criticism of Islam. In a speech in Austria, Stürzenberger quoted the former terrorist imam, Nassim Ben Iman (who had turned his back on Islam) by saying: Islam is a religion that legitimizes killing. And paraphrased him: Every Muslim is a potential terrorist.
Well, anyone who knows the Koran knows that this is required by the Koran. And that brought him yesterday’s conviction. Even though the facts are clear: Anyone who refuses the battle against “infidels” is not seen by the Koran as a complete Muslim. In Graz, the gutmenschen (plaintiffs were the Greens) won a victory. But it is a pyrrhic one. For they have now created a martyr from the Islam-critical milieu. Not just anyone, but one of the best-known and most informed Islam-critics in Germany and Europe. Islam-criticism will show a strong growth. And the Red-Greens will find their Waterloo.
— Michael Mannheimer November 18, 2015
The Koran teaches fear, hatred, contempt for others. Murder as a legitimate means of spreading and maintaining this devil’s doctrine. It denigrates women, divides people into classes and demands blood and more blood.
That a camel driver creates an uproar in his one-horse town; that he wants to make his fellow citizens believe that he had a talk with the Archangel Gabriel; that he brags he was carried away to Heaven and received there a part of this indigestible book, whose every page makes healthy human reason quiver; that to create respect for this book, he subjects his land to fire and sword; that he strangles fathers, abducts daughters; that he offers those defeated the choice of death or accepting his faith.
That, of a certainty, is something no one can excuse, unless he was born a Turk or superstition has extinguished any natural light of his understanding.
The trial is reported in the Tiroler Tageszeitung:
PEGIDA Speaker Stürzenberger Convicted of Hate Speech
Graz — In the Graz provincial criminal court, Michael Stürzenberger — a political activist and member of a small rightist party — had to answer for hate speech and denigration of religious doctrines. He had appeared at a PEGIDA “walk” as a guest speaker in Graz in the spring, and is said to have characterized all Muslims as potential terrorists.
The 51-year-old appeared at the PEGIDA demonstration in Graz’s Freedom Square on Palm Sunday. State’s Attorney Johannes Winklhofer accused him of having said literally: “Every Muslim is a potential terrorist.” Further , according to the complaint, he called the Koran “the worst book in the world.”
“I am innocent, because I only state facts”
Stürzenberger, who is also he head of the minor party Die Freiheit, defended himself against the charges: “I am innocent because I am only passing on facts.” He emphasized that his goal was an intensive explanation of Islam. “We have nothing against Muslims as people. We also want to enlighten moderate Muslims,” was his justification. “Why didn’t you say that?” asked Judge Julin Riffl.
The state’s attorney probed especially the statement that all Muslims are potential terrorists. He confronted the accused with the photo of an execution where Muslims too are among the victims. “Do those look like terrorists to you?,” he asked, and pointed at the bodies. “Those are Sunnis and Shi’ites — they mutually kill each other,” answered Stürzenberger.
“You see the people who were executed as potential terrorists?” The defendant did not concede. “Radical Islam is criticized too little — in Austria too. But you spoke of all Muslims. What I am accusing you of is hate speech. If you had differentiated at that time, we would not be sitting here,” Winklhofer emphasized. The defendant wanted to justify that he had differentiated, but the judge said curtly: “‘Every one’ is not differentiating. ‘Every one is ‘every one’.”
The defense attorney raised the question of whether there were even 150 people on Freiheitplatz. PEGIDA figures were 107 to 110. A “broad public” as the charge mentions, only begins at 150. In his opinion, “substantial investigation” was lacking without these exact figures from the police.
Four Months Probation and Fine
In the afternoon, Michael Stürzenberger was sentenced to four months probation and a fine of €960 for hate speech and denigration of religious doctrines. The verdict is not finalized, since Stürzenberger asked for three days to consider and the state’s attorney gave no explanation.
For links to previous posts about Michael Stürzenberger and Die Freiheit in Munich, see the Michael Stürzenberger Archives.
For links to previous articles by or about Michael Mannheimer, see the Michael Mannheimer Archives.