The final installment of my three-part series on the “hate speech” case against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff has been published at FrontPage Mag. All three parts will be posted here tomorrow as a single article.
Below are excerpts from Part 3:
By the time the verdict was handed down, it had become obvious that the court was absolutely determined that Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff must be found guilty of something. The playing of the tapes — which showed that many of the recorded statements that had been used against Elisabeth had in fact been uttered privately — made the prosecution realize that the original charge would never hold up. To attain the desired outcome, the judge added a second charge of her own devising. A juridical move of this sort would have been unimaginable (and illegal) in the United States and many other countries, but it is quite legal in Austria.
The charge on which Elisabeth was eventually convicted was ludicrous on the face of it. Not only did she never say that Muhammad’s actions constituted “pedophilia”, but Muhammad’s actions — which were undisputed by the court — included having sex with a nine-year-old girl. If she had said what she was accused of, it would have been nothing more than the simple truth, and unexceptional from the standpoint of any normal person.
But the folks who run the Austrian system of “justice” are not normal people. They concocted the absurd rationalization that remaining married to the little girl past the age of 18 meant that Muhammad did not exclusively target children with his sexual attentions; hence he was not a “pedophile” by the strict psychiatric definition. Thus Elisabeth was wrong, even though she did not say it, and even though no ordinary citizen would disagree with her if she had said it.
Interestingly enough, this farrago of justice was made possible by the recognition of Islam as a state religion in 1912 through the law Islamgesetz, which had as its primary purpose the full integration of Bosnia-Herzegovina into the Austrian Empire. When Austria lost Bosnia in 1918, the law became irrelevant, but it has remained on the books until this day.
What might the long-term consequences of the verdict? As Henrik Ræder Clausen wrote at the time:
Fortunately law is logical, and thus one can rightfully deduce some consequences from the verdict:
1. It can constitute a criminal offence to use a label wrongly, even if that usage is in line with how it is applied by the general public. 2. The judge takes it as proven that Muhammad had a lasting sexual relationship with a minor. Strangely, she considers it an illegal denigration to apply the label ‘paedophilia’ to this behaviour. 3. As the law is only concerned with “Religious teachings”, rather than “Founders of religion”, “Behaviour of religious persons” or similar things, this verdict must imply that the life and conduct of Muhammad — including his sexual conduct — constitute an integral part of the “Religious teachings” in Islam. This interpretation is in line with Qur’an 33:21 and fundamentalist readings of Islam. 4. Under Austrian law, Islam has a remarkable degree of protection from criticism, and this verdict extents this protection to Muhammad, who is now protected from criticism. Other religions, say Buddhism, do not enjoy a similar protection of their teachings or founders.
Read the rest at FrontPage Mag.