Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff: Thoughts Before Trial

Tomorrow morning, Tuesday December 20th, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff will learn the results of her appeal to Austria’s highest court.

As described in this space a few weeks ago (See Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), Elisabeth was charged last year with “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion” for asserting that “Mohammed had a thing for little girls.” In February of this year she was convicted, and will have to pay a fine of up to €480. If she refuses to pay the fine, she may spend a maximum of two months in jail.

The court did not contest the truth of Mohammed’s marriage to a six-year-old, nor the fact that the Prophet of Islam had consummated the marriage when his bride was nine. The judge could hardly disagree with these facts, since they are confirmed by authoritative scholars in all branches of Islam.

No, Elisabeth was convicted despite the truth of what she said. She was found guilty because her words were deemed offensive to Muslims. As we all know by now, the truth is no defense when Muslims are offended. Anyone who offends a Muslim in Modern Multicultural Austria now risks criminal prosecution.

On Tuesday she will learn whether the judge in the higher court is a man of integrity. Common sense would tell him that the case against Elisabeth was a farrago of justice, and should be thrown out on the merits. But common sense is sorely lacking these days in Europe.

Elisabeth has been pondering the legal nightmare she has been trapped in for the last two years, and sends the following meditation on the day before she learns the verdict in her appeal:

Thoughts Before Trial

Tis the season to be… What?

For some people it may well be the season to be jolly. For me, it is the season to be hopeful.

Once again I am in the midst of preparing for what may well be a watershed concerning freedom of speech and opinion within the European Union. The trial’s outcome could shape the limits on permissible speech under secular law. My conviction earlier this year implicitly used religious law — in this case, Sharia law — in its arguments.

This is how low our Western societies and their political and legal representatives have stooped in recent years: one wonders whether religious law actually trumps secular law. Am I, a concerned citizen, allowed to voice my alarm that Mohammed’s actions vis-à-vis his child-bride Aisha — marriage at the age of six, consummation at the age of nine — are emulated by devout Muslims here in Austria, in Europe, in the Western world, who, according to the teachings of the Koran, are to follow their prophet’s every example?

Here are some of the points that my lawyer and I will raise on Tuesday:

I. The court of first instance (lower court) ruled that while it accepted that Mohammed had sex with Aisha when he was 56 and she was nine years old, the judge decided that what I said, namely the above, was untrue. The judge’s findings, however, are incorrect, as we know. The problem with this reasoning with respect to §188, denigration of religious teachings, is as follows: one cannot hold someone [Mohammed] in contempt if the referenced actions are objectively contemptuous, and factually accurate. I could not have held Mohammed in contempt, since I spoke the truth.

II. The lower court also decided that I had intentionally called Mohammed’s behavior “pedophilia” to denigrate Islam and cause offense. This is ridiculous and false. When I was grilled by the judge, I told her that I believe the truth could never be denigrating, and that what I said was covered by my right to freedom of speech. Thus, §188 cannot be applied. The truth cannot be denigrating.

III. The lower court spoke of my use of the word “pedophilia”, one that I used incorrectly to describe Mohammed’s behavior. Because the audience in my seminars was composed of “ordinary” people, there is no need for the use or knowledge of the clinical definition of the term. Thus, the audience knew what I was referring to when I used the term “pedophilia”, namely that an adult, Mohammed, had sex with an underage person, Aisha.

IV. The lower court explained that child marriage was common not only in Islam (note: it is still common!), but also in European royal courts. This is completely false: When children were married to each other, they did not have sex; they were married to secure the royal dynasty.

V. The lower court also convicted me for saying the Mohammed had “a lot of women”, which is another truthful statement.

VI. With respect to freedom of speech:

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Article 10 — Freedom of expression

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
  2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Everyone is guaranteed this right. Referring to paragraph 1, it is permitted without any restrictions to impart truthful fact. Referring to paragraph 2, it is important to note that freedom of speech can be restricted by the state if deemed “necessary” within a democratic society. In other words, the burden of proof lies with the state.

I. The lower court accused me of excessively assessing Mohammed’s behavior. Even if the lower court’s opinion is correct, namely that the charge of pedophilia was used to denigrate and that this opinion is excessively harsh because Mohammed was “only” married to a minor, my lawyer and I say the following: Entering a marriage with a six-year-old is perverse according to today’s understanding. Even if it is “just” a marriage (and not a consummation), then simply the act of marriage makes him an object of contempt.

II. The right to freedom of speech (Art. 10 Human Rights Convention) and the right to religious freedom are equal before the law. The guarantees as found in Article 9 must not be understood as a protective shield against criticism and different opinions. The opinions I voiced during my seminars did not interfere with the right of Muslims to freedom of conscience, religion, and thought.

If one were to understand my opinions to be impairing the religious peace, the consequence would be that the state would have to accept child marriages that are also consummated, otherwise the state could be accused of impairing the religious peace of the Islamic faith community. This is the result of Article 9, where “subject to certain restrictions” that are “in accordance with law” and “necessary in a democratic society” is deemed to mean the necessity for tolerance and respect for different beliefs, i.e. the tolerance of the belief that child marriage is permissible.

There are certain reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the outcome of Tuesday’s hearing. I can assure all of you that I will not waver in my stance: I am not guilty, I cannot be guilty of speaking the truth, even if the truth is unpalatable to some people. And nothing but a full acquittal will be acceptable. I will not give up, and I will never give in to sharia law.

Please continue with your prayers and support. This is not about me; this is about all of us. In order for Western Civilization to survive, we must fight for our basic, God-given rights, the most important of which is freedom of speech.

May freedom prevail!

 — Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

A team from the European branch of the International Civil Liberties Alliance will be live-blogging Elisabeth’s trial tomorrow. Her case will be heard very early in the morning American time — at about 3am to 5am EST — but if you are up that early (or late), check in with Save Free Speech or Tundra Tabloids for real-time reports in English.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • randy

    How many catholic priests are having sex with kids worldwide? 20,000 dutch victims alone.

    • paulipoldie

      And this relates to the post how?

      • Ken


    • aspacia

      They committed crimes in spite of their faith.

      • WordsPerMinute

        aspacia by the current interpretation of European law you have just committed a crime punishable by euro480 or 2 months jail because you spoke denigrating things against another faith.

        • aspacia

          Not really, I spoke positively about Catholicism and negatively about the pedophile priests.

          Regardless, I do not like the pc bs in the USA and Europe.

    • Western Canadian

      That figure is, like the rest of your sickening and hate filled rants, a bare faced lie.

      • aspacia

        Do a quick Google for the stats. It is not nearly 20,000 Dutch, but it is significant.

  • Eagle in NYC

    How perverse that Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff has to defend herself in a court of law for telling the truth. A truth from the very scriptures of the religion in question. This is a chilling blow to freedom of speech regardless of the outcome of the trial because now people have to second guess as to what their possible legal exposure may be when they read from the Koran. This is worse than Kafka's "The Trial" because we know the enemy and the charge, but the charge is speaking the truth.

  • Eagle in NYC

    Hey Randy, maybe the Catholic Church should not have succumbed to the liberal pressure to allow gay priests into the church? Who didn't see THAT problem coming? And the Boy Scouts have been pressured into accepting gay scoutmasters, so when will THAT scandal hit the front pages? "Gee, who could have guessed that putting the NAMBLA lobby into pup tents with pre-pubescent boys would cause the raping of young boys? I'm shocked! SHOCKED!"

    • Derek B.

      Are you saying that the problem with the Catholic Church lies with "openly gay" priests? You are wrongly equating pedophilia with homosexuality.

      • Western Canadian

        The attacks on young males were not of a nature that would be called pedophile….. It was adult homosexuals attacking and abusing post puberty boys, which is merely homosexual rape. Get over yourself.

        • randy

          Look at the abuse of native boys and girls in the residential schools. The catholic Pediphile church should be shut down in canada.

          • aspacia

            Michael Coren would disagree.

  • zsqpwxxeh

    Coming Soon to a Theater Near You (I believe the premiere will be in Dearborn, MI).

  • Frank-Michael Rost

    Liebe Elisabeth,
    meine Gedanken und mein Herz sind bei dir!
    Im Angesicht des absolut Bösen kann es keine Neutralität geben. Du kämpfst stellvertretend für uns alle! Ich wünsche dir viel Kraft und Gottes Beistand!

    Frank-Michael Rost

    “Man kann das ganze Volk eine Zeit lang täuschen und man kann einen Teil des Volkes die ganze Zeit täuschen, aber man kann nicht das ganze Volk die ganze Zeit täuschen.” Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

    • aspacia

      Dear Elizabeth,
      my thoughts and my heart are with you!
      In the face of absolute evil, there can be no neutrality. You fight on behalf of us all! I wish you much strength and God's help!

      Frank-Michael Rost

      "You can fool all the people for a while and you can fool some of the people all the time, but you can not fool all the people all the time." Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

  • aspacia

    Trial results: http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2011/02/trial-o

    Final report, 5:43am EST:

    On the count of “incitement to hatred”: Not guilty.

    On the count of “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion”: Guilty.

    The judgment against the defendant is a €480 fine.

    • IamLegion

      I do believe that she did mean to be disparaging – what right-minded human being would NOT find such behavior disgusting? But the fact is that what she said was true, & therefore, in the classic saying, "The law is an ass" & needs to be amended.

      • aspacia

        I find her behavior courageous, and your attitude cowardly. Regardless of how offensive certain words may be, as long as the language is not a call to violence, then it is condoned in the USA. Years ago, right after WWII, NAZIS filed for a parade permit in a primarily Jewish neighborhood. They were initially denied, but the ACLU stepped in, and the NAZIS were given the permit and conducted a nonviolent parade promoting NAZISM.

        I dislike all racist, intolerant groups, and really hate promoters of fundamentalist Islam. A person openly criticizing Islam is targeted for death, hence, I find her courageous and you to be a coward.

  • Ron Carnine

    There is a big difference to what happened in the Catholic Church and what happens in Islam. There was sexual abuse in the Catholic Clergy, however it is in spite to the teachings of that Church and Christianity not because of it. In the Catholic Church and Western society such behavior is criminal whereas in Islam it is accepted. I find it interesting that in the prophets of the OT, they were usually given less rights than the average believer where in Islam, Mohammed is made the exception to the 4 wives rule and is given official sanction to have more wives that the average Muslim. The prophet Mohammed, by his example, makes child marriage and sexual abuse of a nine yr. old child official not criminal. To point these things out is freedom of speech and freedom of religion. As a pastor, it is my duty to point out the falseness of Islam, and to fail to do so is a violation of my oath to God and my responsibility to God's people and to society as a whole. To officially ban such comment will result in disobedience to the law of man, in order for me to obey the law of God.. Those of us who disagree with Islam and teach others of its murderous official positions (doctrines) do not teach others to hate Muslims, who have been (mostly) victims of a theocratic tradition in a religion that does not recognize separation of church and state. This separation means that there is not federally recognized denomination and the laws of the church are not the laws of the state. Not so in Islam where the state enforces the dictates of the "church" which leads to the criminal status of, for example, women who report their relatives who rape them. To not speak out against this and the many other criminal teachings of the religion of Islam makes one a coward who does not fulfill their responsibilities to society whether this is done by legislators, educators, pastors or person who dedicate their lives to speak of the evil in the religion of Islam,

  • http://iaslm-esoxped.blogspot.com/ WordsPerMinute

    I think we are getting side-tracked on hypocrisy. Focus like a laser on your freedoms and laws. Take my advice and defend your pieces of paper and everything else will fall into place. Good gosh people you've had 1,000 years to refine your laws and now is going up in smoke. Remember that when Islam bows to Mecca their a$$es are aimed at the west ready to gas you good.