Friday, August 26, 2011

ESW: Europe is Changing

Last night our Austrian correspondent Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was one of the podium speakers at a panel discussion organized under the auspices of Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party). The topic of discussion was “Europe is changing: Are there possibilities for a consensus with Islam(ism) or will there be a decline of our society and values?”

The other panelists on the podium were:

  • Prof. Dr. Jeroen Bons, Professor at the University of Utrecht
  • Dr. Ralf Stein, Jurist
  • Christian Höbart, MP and FPÖ youth leader
  • Prof. Dr. Herbert Eisenstein, Arabist and scholar of Islam at the University of Vienna; member of the FPÖ

A video of Elisabeth’s remarks is below the jump, followed by a transcript. As you will discover from her talk, the fact that she was convicted of “denigrating the religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion” has not silenced Elisabeth’s voice, nor stopped her from speaking out in public on the dangers of Islamization in Austria.

Many thanks to Kitman for subtitling and uploading this video:


Tonight we are talking about a changing Europe
and I will keep short because I am convinced
that we have a lot to talk about
but I will now present my most important points
First of all I want to say that I completely agree
That Europe is changing
a change that I personally, in view of the future,
do not agree with.
Europe is changing, European society is changing
from a free society to one that is based on Sharia law.
You will ask how I come to this conclusion with the 500,000 Muslims
who have lived in Austria for more than 10 years
but it doesn’t need 500,000 Muslims
even 50,000 or 100,000 are sufficient
to mount the pressure that we are all feeling and seeing.
We live in a democracy with the principle of separation of church and state.
The teachings of Islam, however, do not recognize this separation
Quite on the contrary. And different to Christianity and Judaism.
This Islamic concept is called Din wa daula,
the unity of church and state,
of politics and religion in Islam.
Its teachings include a complete system for world, state, economy and society,
and this system is based on solely on the Quran and the Sunna,
the way of the prophet, which includes everything he ever said or did.
Sharia, for those of you who do not know this yet,
is the Islamic law,
and what is so insidious about this Islamic law is that it concerns not only Muslims,
because in that case I would have very few concerns about this Islamic law,
but that Sharia concerns Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
In this way any interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims are regulated and encoded.
And I will not submit to Sharia,
Because only the Austrian laws, and not Sharia, are relevant.
Islam is not religion that is private.
If it were, I would not be sitting here,
and I would have absolutely no problems with Islam
However, the problem that we have with Islam
is that its values are entering our society,
and not in the way of parliamentary discourse,
but with outside pressure.
I will describe this pressure in more detail during the second round.
I will give you examples,
and I hope to answer my critics with the help of these examples
who keep insisting that
there is no Islamization.
Islam as such excludes any tolerance and compromise
This is found in its teachings.
There is no tolerance, and Islam’s principle of tolerance
Is completely different from the one we know.
This means that essentially we have to learn a new language.
Tolerance in Islam is not the tolerance we know.
There is no religious and theoretical pluralism,
and this is contrary to our Western way of life.
Any questioning or criticism of Islam itself
is considered Islamophobia,
and, as you are aware from my situation and that of Susanne Winter,
is criminally prosecuted, not only in Austria.
We are all aware that this is also happening in the Netherlands with Geert Wilders.
We know that this has happened in Finland with a member of parliament,
Jussi Halla-aho,
and that this is the case in many countries, that criticizing Islam is demonized.
Many people are wishing … people who perhaps do not yet know
so much about Islam, would wish
for a sort of reformation in Islam.
Many people are calling for an Islamic Martin Luther.
and generally this would be a good idea, that one would say,
let’s take out those verses from the Quran
that today are no longer applicable.
That in this case not much will remain from the Quran is a different story,
but this is not my problem
I must disappoint you now unfortunately, because as of now there
definitely be no Islamic Martin Luther,
because of a concept called the “Gates of Ijtihad”.
I assume my colleague Mr. Eisenstein could tell you a lot about the “Gates of Ijtihad”,
Which have been closed since the 10th century.
You will ask what Ijtihad means;
I will explain this briefly,
and then you will understand that there will not be
an Islamic Martin Luther.
Ijtihad means including reasoning, i.e.
human deliberation, in answering
questions of Islamic jurisprudence by scholars.
This means that there are no new findings
and I am saying this in an unscientific way, and I ask for your correction is I am wrong,
I am not an Islamic scholar,
but since the Gates of Ijtihad are closed,
there are no new findings to be found,
and that scholars teach on the basis of what has already been found.
Can one say this in this unscholarly way?
Because these Gates of Ijtihad are closed, and have been since the 10th century,
As long as these gates are closed, there will be no reformation.
I deeply regret this. I really wish for it.
It is very important that you are aware of this concept.
Finally I will tell you about three important points
that I want to be taken care of.
What needs to be done?
The most important point regarding Austria
is the Law on Islam of 1912, which must finally be applied by politics and politicians.
We have a law, everybody refers to it,
Politicians, non-politicians,
but in my opinion, a law — again non-scientifically postulated —
is a toothless one if we do not apply it.
The Law on Islam is applied only when we finally know,
we sitting here tonight, the public authorities, politicians:
What are the teachings of Islam which are binding for Muslims
Are these teachings compatible with our laws?
This means: are they in line with our legal system?
Until this very day
the Austrian authorities, since 1912,
do not officially know the contents of Islam
This must change
This is also a call on the politicians
to finally become active.
What I would wish for in Europe
is for Islam-critics to no longer be defamed and vilified,
because if we no longer tolerate criticism,
then we are killing open discourse.
And this open discourse is crucial for democracy [to function]
If we have no open discourse, we can just pack up democracy.
We must be able to discuss the contents of a religion
If we refrain from that — I repeat myself here — there is no democracy.
And finally, let me return to the Gates of Ijtihad.
The Gates of Ijtihad must be reopened.
I cannot do that, neither can any of you, but Muslims must do that themselves.
Since I am not a Muslim, I have no right to do that.
I invite all Muslims to open the Gates of Ijtihad right now.
Thank you very much.

For previous posts on the “hate speech” prosecution of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, see Elisabeth’s Voice: The Archives.


Expelliarmus13 said...

I'm really wondering what the rest had to say. Did they defend Islam/Islamisation of Europe, did the others agree with her?