Saturday, December 05, 2009

Fighting a Hate Speech Charge in Austria

Regular Gates of Vienna readers are familiar with Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, who recently gave a series of exemplary Counterjihad presentations at the OSCE Human Dimension roundtable in Vienna a few weeks ago.

OSCE Warsaw

Those who speak out prominently against Islamization sooner or later face the wrath of the dhimmi establishment. Anyone who sticks his head up over the parapet risks having it shot off.

And so it is for Elisabeth. She dared to speak the truth about Islam. Now, like Geert Wilders and hundreds of other Europeans, she has run afoul of her country’s hate speech laws, and faces prosecution for what she said.

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was interviewed today by S.M. Steinitz for profil (Austria’s equivalent to Time or Der Spiegel). Many thanks to Jihad Watch for publicizing Elisabeth’s case:

“I Am Against Dialogue”

A criminal complaint is being filed against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff for “hate speech” under Austrian law, essentially the same thing that Susanne Winter was convicted of early this year.

Elisabeth gave a presentation about Islam at an FPÖ-organized seminar, and said some of the usual things that anti-jihad advocates say when they talk about Islam. A left-wing magazine, which had planted someone in the audience, caused charges to be brought against her at the same time as they publicized it in their magazine.

Elisabeth held the controversial Islam Seminar at the FPÖ-political academy. Charges of defamation of a religious group have been filed against the daughter of a diplomat. This is her only interview in which she explains her views.

Mrs. Sabaditsch-Wolff, are you afraid of Muslims?

No, I am afraid of political Islam, which is massively gaining influence in Europe. That is what I am against.

What is your goal?

I want to preserve Europe and its democratic and secular values.

What bothers you about the Islamic way of life?

Islamic doctrine discriminates against women and non-Muslims. Islamic law, or shariah, cannot be reconciled with democratic principles and universal human rights.

Do you see the need for that?

There are powerful groups who are working towards the Islamization of Europe. That is a fact. What can we gain from closing our eyes and ignoring this? Even Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi says: “There are signs that Allah will grant victory to Islam in Europe without swords, without guns, without conquest. We don’t need terrorists, we don’t need homicide bombers. The 50+ million Muslims [in Europe] will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.” A head of state confirms what our politicians deny. What else has to happen until we finally get it?

There are people who see the growth of Islam in Europe as an opportunity for a completely re-engineered pluralistic society.

The vision of a pluralistic society does not withstand a reality check. Show me one example where this has been a success. Wherever Muslims have been given the opportunity for self-organization they have established parallel societies. See Berlin-Kreuzberg, see Lyon. See also Great Britain, where parts of shariah have been implemented.

Do you really think that Austrian culture is endangered?
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I see signs of an erosion of our way of life. In large cities massive changes are evident in the streets. There are discussions about a ban on teaching the Turkish sieges of Vienna; St. Nicholas is banned from visiting children in [public] kindergartens.

And you want to change that.

Yes, very much. But why is that so bad? In Bhutan, the king is applauded because he allows only a certain number of foreigners into the country. He prescribes a certain dress code and mandatory cultural events. Bhutan is a small country that wants to retain its cultural identity in a globalized world. Austria is also a small country with similar challenges. Why is the one country commended and the other berated?

According to NEWS, you defamed Islam. That is why NEWS has filed charges citing defamation of religion. Your reply?

One can report anyone to the authorities. I am not guilty of defamation. And even if some consider my words harsh, I definitely did not make them in a public forum since the seminars were held before a group of people who registered beforehand.

You are accused of making the following statements, among others: “Muslims rape children because of their religion”, or “Mohammed enjoyed contact with children.” Why the polemics?

This is a clever strategy. You and all the others who are now crying wolf are locked in a choice of words. As a result you are able to maneuver yourselves away from the main point. It is a fact that Mohammed married a six-year-old at the age of 56. To this day men in Islamic countries view this as legitimizing marriage to a minor, thereby causing rape and life-long trauma. This is the problem we need to address, and not how circumscribe this bitter reality.

Are you afraid that these customs will become part of Europe?

There are groups who have this goal. In every Islamic system you find that human rights of young girls are in grave danger. Look at Saudi Arabia. Look at the former socialist South Yemen. When Khomeini came to power he lowered the minimum age for girls to get married to nine years.

You are being accused of Islamophobia. Does this bother you?

A phobia is an irrational fear. My worries are not irrational, but justified. One of these days our politicians will have to recognize this fact. People like me are not right-wing xenophobes.

But what are you?

We are people defending the principles of freedom and equality in a secular society. I criticize political Islam and its political manifestations. No democratic country can take this right away from anyone.

Why do critics of Islam nearly always use polemics?

And what [if not polemics] did the article in NEWS use? There are comments about my body, there is ridicule about how I eat. Sexist attacks below the belt against women making unpopular statements are a manifestation of a male-dominated system. There are many critics of Islam. However, it’s always women like Brigitte Bardot or Oriana Fallaci who are attacked below the belt.

Leading politicians have sharply criticized your seminars. Are they all members of a male-dominated system?

These politicians do not know the contents of my seminars. All they know are out-of-context quotes from an article in a glossy magazine. I also find the reaction of these politicians strange. They get away with much worse.

For instance?

SPÖ secretary general Laura Rudas, who calls for a public ban of the headscarf. I would not do something like that.

On the other hand, you are being compared to Susanne Winter (FPÖ). She was convicted of defamation because she accused the prophet Mohammed of pedophilia.

I do not want to be compared to Susanne Winter. There are no similarities between us. She is an active politician, she acts in a public forum. I do not.

You hold your seminars for the FPÖ-Political Academy.

But I am not politically active. I am also not a member of FPÖ. What I do is offer seminars on the topic of Islam and I can be booked. The FPÖ academy did just that. I do not want to comment on Susanne Winter’s statements. But in my opinion she does not know much about Islam.

In what way are you qualified to hold these seminars?

I have an M.A. in Diplomatic and Strategic Studies. I spent part of my childhood in Islamic countries, worked and lived there. I have personally experienced life in Islamic societies and I see evidence of a trend towards the Islamization of Europe.

How do you view yourself?

I am a mother and a feminist. I want my daughter and my niece to grow up in freedom and dignity. I want the same for all Austrian citizens, and that includes Austrian Muslims.

In your seminar you do not distinguish between Muslims and Islamists.

Oh yes, I do. I do that because I know how much Muslims worldwide are suffering under the Islamic yoke. I say that in all my seminars, only NEWS did not bother to quote that. Why do think so many Muslims try to escape from Islamic countries like Iran and Afghanistan? Because life there is unbearable.

So you want to liberate Muslims from Islam?

Muslims have to liberate themselves; from this static and tenacious Islam that is hellbent on following norms from the seventh century. The result is that wherever there are Islamic societies there is no progress, but steps backwards, especially in the realm of human rights and democracy.

But isn’t the referendum on the minaret ban in Switzerland also a step backwards?

The result of the referendum is the best proof that politicians should finally take the Islamization of Europe seriously.

What do you think about the reaction from the Islamic world regarding the referendum?

The Islamic world leads in discrimination against religious minorities. Christians are persecuted and discriminated against in all Islamic countries. You have to remember that the Christian culture is not one that immigrated or is foreign; it is indigenous. There is a complete ban on building churches in Turkey. And now Erdogan speaks of discrimination against Muslims in Switzerland? Where are Muslims being discriminated against in Switzerland? The European elite allows the Islamic countries to walk all over themselves, all the while bowing down to them.

Are you in favor of a ban on minarets in Austria?

I will not answer that. Instead, I will quote the now so agitated Turkish prime minister who once said, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”

Do you feel misunderstood?

Above all, I believe that my rights are being curtailed. Currently I do not notice that I have freedom of speech or opinion.

Haven’t you yourself strained this right?

No, I don’t believe I did. Above all, I did not speak publicly. What is all the commotion about?

But now it has become public.

I only say out loud what others are thinking. But these concerns are not taken seriously.

Are you against a dialogue with the Islamic world?

I am against a dialogue with political Islam. I am, however, in favor of a broad discussion about human rights and personal freedoms.

You criticize Islam as discriminating. What do mean by that?

Just one example: In Islam non-Muslims are called kuffar, non-believers. These infidels are all defamed and not considered equal. This is offensive. Where are the protests?

What are your negative experiences in Islamic countries?

People in these countries are continuously restricted. This leads to aggressions and reporting people to the authorities and other absurd situations. For example, a (Coptic) member of the Austrian embassy in Kuwait was verbally abused at the post office because he was mailing Christmas letters. It was Ramadan and he must not eat or drink publicly. He said, surprised, “But I am not eating!” “Oh yes, you are. You are licking off the adhesive part of the stamp.” This is daily routine in an Islamic society.

Can you really use a single occurrence as an example?

I can tell you hundreds of similar single occurrences. This story is not a single case, but a social program.

Will you continue with your seminars?

Yes. There are requests coming in from all over Austria. I will continue to defend my right to freedom of speech. I will not be gagged.

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, 38, is the daughter of a retired diplomat. She spent parts of her childhood during the Khomeini Revolution in Iran. She later spent time in Iraq and Kuwait. In 1990, she and other Austrians were held hostage during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. She was employed at the Austrian embassies in Kuwait and Libya. From 1995-7 she was a member of the cabinet of the then-vice-chancellor, Wolfgang Schüssel. Sabaditsch-Wolff represents the Citizens’ Movement Pax Europa on an international level.

11 comments:

Mystery Meat said...

She is a great lady who gets it. She is worthy of our support.

Fjordman said...

Her answers were very clever and she made it difficult for them to attack her. Hit them on the discrimination angle. It's where they are must vulnerable. From what I read here Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff appears to have a smart strategy. The Koran itself is full of passages promoting hate against non-Muslims. If we had invented a new religion and written similar texts today we would have been jailed.

One detail, though. Although we should consult the sources I am almost certain that Muhammad was 51 and Aisha was six when they married, and he was 54 and she was eight or nine when they consummated the marriage. It's just a detail, but it is a very important one in the context.

ANTI-ISLAMIST said...

She might be a *great lady*, still she seems to cut a sorry figure with remarks like the following:

"SPÖ secretary general Laura Rudas, who calls for a public ban of the headscarf. I would not do something like that"

"I do not want to be compared to Susanne Winter"

"I do not want to comment on Susanne Winter’s statements.
But in my opinion she does not know much about Islam."

Grandiosity and pettiness most often walk hand in hand.

Elisabeth said...

Anti-Islamist,

did you consider that I might have chosen my words carefully? That I might have followed a strategy with what I said?

And I certainly do NOT want to be compared to Susanne Winter. What do you know about her? Did you read the court reports? She did not do us any good. And she definitely does not know much about Islam. Trust me on that.

Fjordman, regarding the Mohammed and Aisha thing... I had to weigh my words carefully here. Susanne Winter was convicted for saying words to this effect, after all.

Henrik R Clausen said...

The Muhammad-Aisha marriage has been discussed in great detail at Answering Islam.

She was certainly a child (9, prepubescent) when Muhammad consummated the marriage. His age would have been 52 or 53 at that time, given that he died at the age of 63.

I think a slight uncertainty remains, but 49/50 at the time of bethrotal and 52/53 at the time of consummation should be safe bets.

Incidentically, the bethrotal took place at the time of the Satanic Verses incident.

Frank Kitman said...

"Anti-islamist" seems a bit clueless when it comes to both Winter and the headscarf ban. First of all, there are certain articles and friends of Winter, with which very few would like to be associated. Secondly a headscarf ban is a double edged sword. It gives the young muslim girls a sense of freedom at an early age, but it also hides the islamisation of european cities. This last aspect of the headscarf ban, will make socialdemocrats flip-flop on the issue in the coming years. They have already realised that islamisation is bad publicity, and figure that they can hold on to power, if the consequences of their policies are less obvious.
- By all means ban imams who does not sign a human rights contracts, and ban hizbut tahrir and any organisation with similar subversive aspirations, but don´t hide the oppression and decline cosmetically.
I would like to praise elisabeth for her good responses to questions carefully planned to put her on the defensive. I find it an examplary case of what horowitz calls myth-inversion
good job

4Symbols said...

What is the respone from the OSCE with regards to this attempt to subvert one of its own democratic forums, if there is a prosecusion Elizabeth should implicate the office of the OSCE - they should be made to stand with her or be hung by their own values.

Henrik R Clausen said...

OSCE recently repeated their call for removing all defamation laws in their participant countries. They are very concerned acout laws on 'defamation of religion' and 'extremism', and call upon governments to stand for freedom on the matter. Press release December 2008, many similar statements exist.

We can invoke OSCE for support.

4Symbols said...

Hypothetically speaking could a defendant in such a case implicate individuals as co-defendents not only from Austria but every member state of the E.U.

antiislamist said...

Age of Aisha.
Muhammad said that he had dreamed of Aisha before demanding her from her father, and his own brother in Islam, Abu Bakr, claiming special 'prophets rights' when Abu Bakr was reluctant to give her to him.
Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 235: Narrated 'Aisha:

That the Prophet said to her, "You have been shown to me twice in my dreams. I saw you pictured on a piece of silk and someone said to me, 'This is your wife.' When I uncovered the picture, I saw that it was yours. I said, 'If this is from Allah, it will be done."
Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 18: Narrated 'Ursa:

The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for 'Aisha's hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said "But I am your brother! "The Prophet said, "You are my brother in Allah's religion and His Book, but she (Aisha) is lawful for me to marry."
Marriage to a female already offered to another was illegal in Arab law. Abu Bakr had already arranged for Aisha to marry Djubayr Mutim.
Muhammad married 'A'isha in Mecca when she was a child of six and lived with her in Medina when she was nine or ten. She was the only virgin that he married. Her father, Abu Bakr, married her to him and the apostle gave her four hundred dirhams.
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasulullah (The Life of Muhammad) translated by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, p. 792]

The Prophet married Aisha in Mecca three years before the Hijrah, after the death of Khadija. At the time she was six.
The History of Al-Tabari: The Last Years of the Prophet, translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala [State University of New York Press, Albany 1990], Volume IX, pp. 129-130.
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After the permanent committee for the scientific research and fatwahs (religious decrees) reviewed the question forwarded by the grand scholar of the committee with reference number 1809 issued on 3/5/1453 and 7/5/1421 (Islamic calendar)
http://www.islamic-fatwa.net/fatawa/index.php

Question: It has become widespread these days, and especially during weddings, the habit of mufa'khathat of the children. What is the opinion of scholars, knowing full well that the prophet, the peace of Allah be upon him, also practiced the "thighing" of Aisha -the mother of believers - may Allah be pleased with her ?

Answer: After studying the issue, the committee has answered as follows: As for the prophet, his thighing his fiancée Aisha when she was six years of age and not able to consummate the relationship was due to her small age. That is why the Prophet used to place his male member between her thighs and massage it, as the prophet had control of his male member not like other men.
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antiislamist said...

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Susanne Winter, a right-wing politician with the FPÖ party running for a city council seat in the city of Graz, blasted Muslims on Sunday, saying that "in today's system" the Prophet Muhammad would be considered a "child molester," apparently referring to his marriage to a six-year-old child. In an interview with the daily Österreich published on Monday, Winter continued the onslaught saying that child abuse is "widespread" among Muslim men and that Graz is facing a "tsunami of Muslim immigration." In 20 or 30years, she warned, half of Austria's population would be Muslim.

Her comments have resulted in a storm of protest in Austria, with politicians and commentators of all stripes taking Winter and her party to task. Austrian prosecutors are also looking into the possibility of filing charges against the 50-year-old politician for incitement. Her comments, said Omar Al-Rawi, head of integration for an Austrian association of Muslims, showed "a lack of respect" and they "had no basis in fact." He told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that such Islam bashing has reached a point in Austria that "one wants to puke." (DerSpiegel)
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First Winter, then Wilders, the anybody, who must puke over Islam and its submitters.