Unfit to Print

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.


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The other day I took note here of a recent New York Times feature in which several prominent figures from the worlds of law and religion were invited to answer the question: Is religious freedom in America under threat?  I focused on one of the responses, entitled “A Campaign Against Patriotic Muslims,” in which Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, maintained that when it came to his coreligionists, the answer was a definite yes.  Al-Marayati painted a picture of an America awash in “anti-Islam groups” and “Muslim haters” who make life difficult for American Muslims, whom he depicted as overwhelmingly peaceful, freedom-loving, and terrorism-hating.  It didn’t seem to matter to the Times that Al-Marayati himself is a longtime associate of and apologist for terrorists.

Another participant in the same Times feature was Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor.  Like Al-Marayati, Feldman claimed to be concerned about a plague of Islam-hatred in America.  Feldman complained about legislative proposals in Oklahoma and Tennessee that would “ban Islamic law from the courts — a measure that the American separation of church and state makes completely unnecessary.”  Feldman concluded: “It would be nice to say these proposed laws are un-American. But they are sadly reminiscent of our history of targeting vulnerable religious minorities out of bigotry and political expediency. We can only look forward to a day when anti-Islamic sentiment seems as archaic as these other old hatreds do today.”

It’s interesting to note that while the New York Times was giving Al-Marayati and Feldman a platform from which to preach about the supposed persecution of Muslims in America, a woman named Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was actually being persecuted, and prosecuted, in Austria – not for being an adherent of Islam but for speaking the truth about it.  Most readers of Front Page will know about Sabaditsch-Wolff, whose whole saga has been covered here, from her frank, fact-based statements about Islam at a 1997 seminar to her conviction last February on the charge of “denigration of the religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion” to her appeal to a higher court, which last week affirmed the February verdict and ordered her to pay a €480 fine or spend two months in jail.  Sabaditsch-Wolff, who refuses to pay the fine, quite rightly called it “a black day for Austria.”

Most readers of Front Page will also know exactly what got Sabaditsch-Wolff in trouble with the Austrian judiciary: she said that the founder of Islam “married” his wife Aisha when she was six and consummated the “marriage” when she was nine, and that this made him, by definition, a pedophile.  This, of course, is a plain statement of fact – and, according to the court, if Sabaditsch-Wolff had just indicated that Muhammed had had intercourse with a child, she supposedly wouldn’t have been convicted.  But the appeals court didn’t like the way she put it – she said that Muhammed had a thing for small children, or words to that effect, which added to the statement of fact something that the court viewed as an unacceptable expression of opinion about the facts.  In other words, it would appear to be illegal in Austria now to express disapproval of the sexual molestation of children, provided the child molester in question is the prophet of a certain religion.

The court underscored, moreover, that while Austrians’ freedom of expression is guaranteed by the European Court of Human Rights, that right is bound up with the obligation not to be insulting – which is another way of saying that there’s no real freedom of expression at all.

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  • kafir

    Don't hire muslims. Don't shop in their stores. Don't shop in stores that hire them. Don't shop in stores that advirtise on their shows. It's all very easy. It's not hate either. It's safety. Just like not all snarling dogs have rabies. But how can you tell? You can't. muslims will stick up for muslims regardless of what they do. Look at the terrorists supporters at the terrorist supporting hamas linked cair (if you can stomach that visual). They stick up for all muslims, including bin laden, maj. hassan, the aids infected yessirimarat, et al. As an infidel, I can't tell the difference between a peaceful or pious muslim. Can you? I just avoid them as I would any rabid dog.

    • Trickle_Up_Poverty

      I will boycott them and speak against their religion of hatred every chance that I get. I'll also stand with Israel.

      Genesis 16:12 fortells the destiny of muslims as told regarding the descendants of Ishmael:

      "He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”

      Actually everything that is going on in the world today was foretold in the Bible…where different descendants of Abraham would travel and live, who would have a perpetual hatred of the Children of Israel, who would eventually go to war against Israel and be destroyed by God. It is all there…it really explains a LOT.

  • StephenD

    I always thought the “Free Press” was an institution recognized to be in service to the citizenry; a sort of fail safe and a watch-dog to ensure the Government doesn’t overstep it bounds by keeping their eyes and ears open and telling us THE TRUTH. I really don’t care if particular editors or journalists choose to be a dhimmi but to put us at risk for their foolishness is criminal. They have an obligation (albeit unwritten) to report the facts. They may opine but are still supposed to present the facts. At least, that’s how I thought it was supposed to work. What happened?

    • fiddler

      It's time to require of them that they tell the truth; or boycott them. The NYT should be picketted and repudiated. People need to demand that this "newspaper" return to the fundamental place the press was granted freedoms for.

      What can the people do? Occupy the NYT??

      • intrcptr2

        Well, New Year's Eve is Sat night…

  • Don Kosloff

    From the article:
    Feldman complained about legislative proposals in Oklahoma and Tennessee that would “ban Islamic law from the courts — a measure that the American separation of church and state makes completely unnecessary.” Feldman concluded: “It would be nice to say these proposed laws are un-American. But they are sadly reminiscent of our history of targeting vulnerable religious minorities out of bigotry and political expediency. We can only look forward to a day when anti-Islamic sentiment seems as archaic as these other old hatreds do today.”

    That is a classic example of "doublethink" as described by George Orwell in "1984"

    • tanstaafl

      I'm agreeing with you.

  • Trickle_Up_Poverty

    When countries run by muslims allow Christian churches to be established and thrive, ONLY THEN should muzzies be allowed to build mosques in the United States. There is NOT ONE Christian church in Saudi Arabia, and Christians are being murdered every day in other muslim nations.

    Religion of peace? What a crock..

    • Bamaguje

      And Saudi Arabia builds and funds mosques/Islamic schools in the United States and much of the Western world.

  • Stuart Parsons

    One is forced to conclude that those who demand equal consideration for Islam and Muslims have not read the Quran, studied the Sunna and Sharia or read the biographies of Muhammad by Ishaq, Tabari and Kathir. It is amazing how many educated people will make 'erudite' obsevation about that of which they have little knowledge.

  • Bashy Quraishy

    I have experienced Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff many times in various European forums, where she spoke on behalf of Pax-Europe, an extreme Islamophobic organisation. Last time, I met her was in Vienna during an OSCE conference on 28th Oct 2011. After my intervention on anti-Islam discourse in the media and political establishment, I even went over to her to have a sober discussion. My God, the lady is a one woman show of Islam hatred, homemade ignorance and zealous crusading mission. I am used to shouting and screaming racists and anti-Islam haters but this woman was in a class of her own. She was not willing to have a cool minded exchange of opinions but wanted me to agree with her.
    Austrian court has sentenced her for racist propaganda and hate speech and in no way restrict her rights. May be Americans should distinguish between genuine criticism and hate speech. In Austria denial of holocaust is also a crime and so is, anti-Semitic statements. Would FrontPage’s support Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s position if she was using the same hate speech language against my Jewish brothers and sisters? I definitely hope not! We should fight against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all kinds of hatred with full force because we live on the same planet and share one future.

    Bashy Quraishy
    Secretary General – EMISCO -European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion – Strasbourg/Copenhagen
    Chair-Jewish Muslim Co-operation Platform – Brussels

    • Steve

      If she said Moses had a thing for little girls – despite being demonstrably false – FPM would defend her right to say it.

      We've experienced a great many catholic priests having a thing for children, but no one was prosecuted for pointing that out. Instead they were lauded for speaking the truth.

      We experience repeatedly anti-Christian acts, such as art (?) depicting a cross in urine. There is no law against it.

      Free speech means the right to denigrate any faith. And it means claiming that speaking factual truths about a faith, i.e., Mohammed's pedophilia, is to denigrate it – such as you are apparently doing – even when the opposite is true. If what Mohammed did was wrong, then his actions denigrate the faith inherently.

    • Don Kosloff

      All heat and no light. Could you shed some light on the topic by providing some examples of her "hate speech". What do you think of Voltaire's position on the freedom of speech?

    • Ted G

      Mr Quraishy,
      Are you saying that you support "Sharia law"? Now think carefully before you answer please, because based on islams own religious beliefs/requirements you must accept it all or nothing. You do not get to choose which parts of the Sharia you can ignore and those which you can accept.
      And If you do accept sharia, then I have no choice then to believe you to be my mortal enemy who at any time and given the opportunity will "slay me wherever you find me".
      Considering that this is what islam demands of its followers, do I not have the right to be proactive in my own defense against any of its adherents?!?
      Now considering myself to be a civilized man who will not simply go out and murder people just because of their religion (like many muslim clerics demand and many muslims actually do) my only option is to scream loudly and often that islam is a false religion/cult that needs to be ridiculed, insulted and denigrated at every turn.
      I mean really dude, this is a serious albeit long winded question!

    • Western Canadian

      Now why would it be a safe bet to conclude that bq (more like bs) just posted a work of complete and utter fiction? Not to mention hatred, bigotry slander etc.

  • Ghostwriter

    Well,Mr. Quraishy. Where were your kind words when Leon Klinghoffer was murdered aboard the "Achille Lauro?" Where were your condemnation of Muslims celebrating the deaths of innocent Americans on 9/11? You and people like you have NEVER once cared about how Americans feel. You continue to blame America for all the Muslim world's problems but you never take any responsibility for them yourself.
    You and those like you think of Americans as insects,to be exterminated whenever you feel like it. We are NOT. We are people like you,but we don't want to pushed around and bullied into silence the way you want us to be. Maybe if your people spent more time condemning people like Usama Bin Laden and ACTUALLY MEANING it,then most Americans would be on board with you,but you're not.

    Mr. Quraishy,your words drip with insincerity. You've never condemned a SINGLE terrorist act against Americans and when we bring it up,we're labeled "Islamophobes" for doing so. Do me a favor,sir,and learn about Americans. But,I'm afraid you seem to have little interest in doing so.

  • oldtimer

    Harvard law professor! This is what is being taught to your children and you are paying plenty for it. Wake up people.
    This is why most people don't get newspapers anymore, good for nothing except picking up your pet's doodoo.

    • Atikva

      Right, but they have only switched from newspaper to TV – so they get the same lies, biases, and brainwashing. We have got to stop watching TV (so-called) "news" channels.

  • radicalconservative

    Bashy Quraishy, your religion is a pack of evil lies and murderous mayhem.

  • Texasron

    Bashy Quraishy, why do Muslims kill people from other religions? Why do Sunni Muslims kill Shiites? Why doesn't Saudi Arabis allow churches to be built or bibles from enterring their country? Are they afraid that religions based on love may overcome one built on death?

  • tanstaafl

    Mr. Quraishy – Islam has killed 270 million unbelievers in the 1400 years of its history. Can you forgive us for being a little suspicious of your intentions?

  • Fran Thaler

    Rather than just preaching to the choir — why not try to organize even a small group
    of picketers outside the NY Times Building — or in the NY Times building lobby —
    to demand the NY Times carry the story — and even print an editorial in defense
    of free speech rights — stop suppressing "inconvenient" truths. Ask where is the story in
    PUBLIC– call a press conference. Sometimes all it takes is a few brave voices.

    Fran Thaler

  • Fearless

    Elisabeth got into trouble for using slightly inaccurate language. The court agreed that Muhammad consummated his marriage when Aisha was nine years old. What got her in trouble was saying that "Muhammad had a thing for little girls". The court said that statement was "inflammatory" and could not be inferred from the agreed fact of Mo's early consummation of marriage. She could have picked better language to use and avoided a lot of drama.

  • fiddler

    And people conclude that if something wasn't reported, it either didn't happen or wasn't important enough to print. There needs to be a watchdog group especially assigned to them. Perhaps the UN-Gray Lady should be its name.