Editor’s note: The following is the second installment of a series of articles following activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s battle against her own government, as they proceed to prosecute her for disseminating the truth about Islam. To read Part I, click here.
Just before Christmas, an article about Elisabeth appeared in Wienerin, a glossy Austrian magazine similar to Vanity Fair. Some translated excerpts:
She is said to have incited hate against Muslims, and is before the court on a charge of incitement. But even a conviction will not silence Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. S. M. Steinitz accompanied the new figurehead of the Islam critics to Copenhagen. And witnessed how Sabaditsch-Wolff made her trial a manifesto — and gained in political influence.
The prosecutor apparently did not consider it necessary to prepare for the trial. No, he said, he had no questions for the defendant. The tape recording of her comments, the basis for the charge against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, 39, he had only heard “in excerpts.” On this tape, covertly recorded by a reporter in the fall of 2009, can be heard how Sabaditsch-Wolff — during her seminar “The Fundamentals of Islam” — says to a participant, among other things, “Cardinals rape in spite of their religion. Muslims rape because of their religion.” Sponsor of the seminar: the Freedom Education Institute. A charge was laid after a report appeared in the weekly magazine, NEWS.
A year later in Room 31of the Vienna Regional Court: the prosecutor seems confident of success, almost bored. Even the onlookers do not doubt that a verdict will be reached quickly: Sabaditsch-Wolff — guilty of incitement and denigration of religious doctrines. Like Susanne Winter, the FPÖ representative who was convicted two years ago because of her comments about the founder of Islam. (“In today’s system, this Muhammad is a child molester.”)
But it was different this time.
The charge of incitement is the high point of her career as a provocateur thus far. Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff devotes up to ten hours a day to her campaign, prepares speeches and seminars, confers by e-mail and skype with allies all over the world. A look at her life history could offer an answer to the Why: As the daughter of an Austrian diplomat, she experienced, at age six, the takeover of the ayatollahs in Iran. “These shouting figures in their black robes, the palpable fear of the religious police in the streets — all that unsettled me greatly.” Years later, she was working in the Austrian embassy in Kuwait when Iraqi troops marched in. The embassy employees became hostages of Saddam, and were allowed to leave the country only after weeks of diplomatic negotiations. Sabaditsch-Wolff treated the trauma of her captivity in the book “I Was Saddam’s Hostage.”
Later she returned to Kuwait, then worked in Libya after that. “Life in Islamic countries is terrible,” she maintains. “… And the Muslims are the first victims of this ideology. They should be freed from their religion.” Does she really believe that Islamization is threatening Europe? “It is already fully underway. And if we do nothing, Europe will go under.”
Copenhagen, a few days later. Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, invited by the Free Press Society to a conference in the Danish parliament on the topic “Freedom of Expression,” was introduced as a “martyr for freedom of speech.” The guest list reads like the Who’s Who of European rightist parties: Jimmie Åkesson, head of the Sweden Democrats, who this year managed to enter the Swedish parliament with a controversial ad (burka-wearing women with baby carriages scaring an old woman off of welfare support). Peter Skaarup, foreign policy spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, is also there. Then too, René Stadtkewitz, founder of the German party Die Freiheit, modeled on the example of Geert Wilders’ Netherlands party of the same name [in Dutch]. He also intended to come, but had to cancel, at the last minute. “He is watching my trial with great interest,” says Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, who had met Wilders in Berlin in October. “He himself is accused of incitement. It’s crazy how many of us they want to get.”
She is greeted as a friend by the politicians. The paying public too, which has come to see Sabaditsch-Wolff live, is happy. “I know you from the internet. You are Elisabeth from Austria,” says an elderly lady. “You are a heroine!” shouts another. “Elisabeth from Austria” is a web celebrity. On more than forty connected websites she is celebrated as a “free speech advocate,” as a “fighter for freedom of speech.” On the website set up especially for her —savefreespeech.org — donations are requested, for her trial, which she will pursue “if it is necessary, all the way to The European Court of Human Rights.”
The career of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff continues. Next, she and [Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Austrian Freedom Party] are invited to a series of speeches in Canada. And the spear tip of the USA rightist conservatives, Sarah Palin, has already become interested in the troop. “I appreciate your work,” she sends a message, “and I look forward to meeting you soon.” “Global politics are being pursued,” Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff declares. Astounded follow-up: “And I am right in the middle of it.”
This is not the “housewife with an unusual hobby”, as she has been represented until now. More like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Confronted with this picture, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff laughs. “The wolf has had a bad image for a long time. Even so, it is a very useful animal: in its territory, the wolf maintains the balance of the species.”
When the trial reconvened in January, the tapes of the seminars were played back. In the process the defense was able to discuss the Muslim Brotherhood and its extensive political influence within Austria and the rest of Europe. Elisabeth explained the Brotherhood’s desire to implement religious rule (shariah) and its support for terrorism to attain this end. She quoted the hadith — what Muhammad did and said — as the ideal for pious Muslims and the foundation for Islamic law.
Her summary: “There is no Islam without Shariah; the two cannot be separated. Shariah-based societies have been known for many centuries, and still exist today. The aim is to establish a social order identical to that decreed by Muhammad, which he exemplified. Islamic radicals today retain the same goal: to implement shariah as widely as possible, ideally throughout the world.”
She quoted the Qur’an to support her assertions.
Next she discussed taqiyya — the Islamically-mandated obligation of sacred lying in furtherance of the cause of Islam. The Qur’an, Bukhari’s authoritative hadith, and Muslim scriptural references all support the concept, which is fully described in Islamic law. She said that the idea of religiously-sanctioned lying is difficult for our politicians to handle.
Concerning the charges, the judge discussed Elisabeth’s statement that the conduct of Muhammad is exemplary for Muslims, including the problems raised by the scriptural reference to Muhammad’s marriage to a six-year-old girl. What exactly that would be called today, if not pedophilia?
Later in the day the judge, at her own discretion, announced the addition of the second charge: “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion.” Elisabeth’s lawyer was not prepared for this, and asked for the trial to be adjourned. The judge scheduled the next session for February 15th.
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