After almost six years, the European Court of Human Rights has finally handed down a decision on the case “E.S v ECHR” — that is, the appeal by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff of the verdict by the Austrian supreme court in the “hate speech” case against her. As most of you already know, Elisabeth’s “crime” was to utter these words concerning the marriage of Mohammed to Aisha (who was nine years old when the marriage was consummated): “What do you call it if not ‘pedophilia’?”
For readers who are not already familiar with her case, here is a brief timeline of what happened prior to the appeal to the ECHR:
|October 2010||Elisabeth was indicted in Vienna, Austria, for statements she made in one of her seminars on the ideology and effect of Islam.|
|February 2011||Elisabeth was convicted of “hate speech” in an Austrian court. In order to obtain a conviction, the trial judge was forced to introduce a new charge, “denigrating the teaching of a legally recognized religion” — during the trial itself.|
|December 2011||The verdict was upheld by the appellate court, which noted that her statements constituted “an excess of opinion” punishable under Austrian law.|
|December 2013||The verdict was upheld by the Austrian supreme court, which noted that under the European Convention of Human Rights, freedom of religion overrides freedom of expression. Elisabeth notes that criticism of Christianity comes under the rubric of art, while criticism of Islam is criminal. She said: “There is no political freedom without religious freedom, inclusive of the right to criticize religion.”
Yesterday the ECHR ruled against Elisabeth, justifying its decision by the need to safeguard religious peace. Here’s the press release she sent out this morning:
On Thursday, 25 October the ECHR ruled that my conviction by an Austrian court for discussing the marriage between Prophet Mohammed and a six year old girl, Aisha, did not infringe my rights of freedom of speech.
I was not extended the courtesy of being told of this ruling. Like many others, I had to read it in the media.
The ECHR found there had been no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and that the right to free expression needed to be balanced with the rights of others to have their religious feelings protected, and that the verdict had served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.
In other words, my right to speak freely is less important than protecting the religious feelings of others.
This should ring warning bells for my fellow citizens across the continent. We should all be extremely concerned that the rights of Muslims in Europe NOT to be offended are greater than my own rights, as a native European Christian woman, to speak freely.
I am proud to be the woman who has raised this alarm.
I am also optimistic. Since giving my seminars in Austria in 2009, we have come a very long way.
Ten years ago the press labeled me a “confused doom-monger” and I was compared to Osama Bin Laden. Now Islam is being discussed in every sphere of life and people are waking up to the reality of a culture so opposed to our own.
The cultural and political threat posed by Islam to Western societies is now widely recognized and discussed. It is fair to say European society, as well as the political realm, is undergoing an enlightenment, as it is more awake than ever to the need to defend our own Judeo-Christian culture.
I believe my seminars in 2009 and subsequent work have contributed to strong push back against an Islamic culture which is so at odds with our own. And note with interest that only one sentence out of twelve hours of seminars on Islam was a prosecutable offense. I assume the remaining content is now officially sanctioned by our Establishment masters.
It is obvious to me that public education and discourse on the subject of Islam can have a fundamental and far-reaching impact, even if our state or supra-national authorities try to stifle or silence it, in order to appease a culture so foreign to our own.
This fight continues. My voice will not and cannot be silenced.
(To support ESW please go to en.savefreespeech.org)
According to KGS of Tundra Tabloids, Finland’s liberal MSM flagship Helsingin Sanomat headlined the decision: “European Court of Human Rights: Invoking Prophet Muhammad as pedophile does not fall within the scope of freedom of expression.” It compared Elisabeth’s case with that of Jussi Halla-aho.
For previous posts on the “hate speech” prosecution of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, see Elisabeth’s Voice: The Archives.