74-Year-Old German Woman Convicted of ‘Hate Speech’ Against Muslims

As Michael Stürzenberger, an editor of the conservative German website Politically Incorrect reports, a Munich court convicted on February 6, 2013, a 74-year-old pensioner, Maria Frank, of hate speech for a sign displayed by her at a September 8, 2012, rally.  Frank’s case demonstrates once again that individuals criticizing and/or condemning Islam can easily encounter legal difficulties in Germany and elsewhere.

Frank had taken part in a Munich protest of Stürzenberger’s small conservative and anti-Islam party Die Freiheit against a proposed Islamic center/mosque in Munich (the Zentrum für Islam in Europa—München or ZIE-M).  Although Frank is not a member of DF, Stürzenberger describes her as “one of the most zealous collectors of signatures” for a DF-led petition drive to stop ZIE-M. As quoted by Stürzenberger, Frank’s sign referenced the Ottoman Empire’s September 12, 1683 defeat at the siege of Vienna, a historic turning point in driving back a Muslim advance into Europe, and sarcastically stated that the “Turks then peacefully bombarded Vienna.” Frank’s sign also sarcastically described the allied troops of Austrians, Poles, and various German contingents who relieved the siege as the “original Nazis.”

The legally pertinent sentence on Frank’s sign, though, was a comparison of 1683 with the present day in the statement:  “Now the presumptuous Turks and Muslims from all over the world threaten Europe again.” Pursuing a complaint raised by a member of the Green Party’s youth group (Grüne Jugend), the state prosecutor at Frank’s trial argued that this sentence provoked a “hostile attitude” towards all Muslims/Turks and incited “hate.” Frank accordingly satisfied the elements of Section 130 of the German Criminal Code against “Incitement to Hatred.”  Among other provisions, this section in its first paragraph makes liable anyone who “in a manner capable of disturbing the public peace… incites hatred against segments of the population.”

Agreeing with the prosecution, the presiding judge sentenced Frank to pay 40 Euros for 90 days (3,600 Euros), but placed Frank on probation for three years provided that she pay 1,000 Euros to Amnesty International (AI).  As reported by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), a leading German newspaper based in Munich, Frank “vehemently” protested against giving money to AI, an organization not respected by her.  Instead, Stürzenberger noted, Frank suggested a donation to “Christians in need,” an alternative rejected by the judge with reference to AI’s support of Christians oppressed in Muslim countries. Frank immediately appealed the decision the following Thursday, February 7, 2013.

While arguing that her sign addressed German politicians in general and not pedestrians on the street, who hardly could see Frank’s sign anyway given surrounding counterdemonstrators, Frank justified her views with reference to statements by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  As Frank discussed at trial and in an immediately following press release, a September 30, 2012, speech by Erdoğan at his AKP party convention had made approving references to the date 1071 and the Seljuk Turk sultan Alp Arslan. As the Viennese Die Presse noted, 1071 marked the Battle of Manzikert, in which the Seljuks under Arslan defeated the Byzantine Empire under Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes, thereby opening Anatolia to Turkish settlement.  Erdoğan’s spoke to his audience of 2023, the centennial of the Turkish republic’s founding, as the time when, “if it is God’s will, we will build up,” and of 2071, Manzikert’s millennium, as when “you will conclude.”  Frank’s press release interpreted Erdoğan’s reference to 2071 as the point when Arslan’s “successors will have come far enough along to attack once again Christian Europe.”

As commentators like Christian Jung of the conservative German website blu-news have noted, other Erdoğan quotations besides his September 30, 2012, party convention statements (made after Frank presented her protest sign on September 8) could have sufficed to incite her concerns about Islam’s pacific nature.  Jung and the BBC’s online biographical entry on Erdoğan note that as mayor of Istanbul he received a ten-month Turkish prison term (only four months served) in 1998 for publicly reading an Islamic poem with the words: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”  “Democracy is like a train,” he also stated before becoming prime minister in 2003. “We shall get out when we arrive at the station we want.”

For good measure, Erdoğan reiterated his admiration of Manzikert on December 16, 2012, during an address in the Turkish province of Konya.  Expressing a fixation with fertility common among authoritarian leaders, Erdoğan told “young single persons” that they “will marry” and “raise the generation of 1071.” Erdoğan called for families to have at least three children in order “to raise a young and dynamic generation.”

Erdoğan has also previously advocated that successive generations of young Turks throughout Europe maintain a sense of Turkish identity as in, for example, a February 10, 2008, speech in a Cologne, Germany.  Speaking to a packed stadium audience of 20,000 (by comparison, German chancellor candidates such as Angela Merkel often merely receive a few thousand) who responded to promotional materials calling for “Europeans of Turkish descent,” he went so far as to call assimilation a “crime against humanity.” Erdoğan’s Turkish speech not translated into German repeatedly referred to “we Turks” and “the Germans.” Although he warned his listeners of the “disadvantage if you don’t speak the language of the country,” he nonetheless called it a “natural right to teach your children their mother tongue.”

As Jung noted, such outlooks have caused the German conservative newspaper Die Welt to write in an article subtitle online of an Erdoğan who “believes in the world rule of Islam and formulates power claims.” The Die Welt author, Boris Kálnoky, observed that Erdoğan’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has always condemned analogies of Turkey as a “bridge between East and West” in favor of an understanding of Turkey as a “gravitation point” or, as Kálnoky writes, a “power center.”  Furthermore, as Der Spiegel reported on Wikileaks involving Turkey in 2010, Davutoglu has expressed to American diplomats a desire to reassert an Ottoman dominance over the Balkans, seen by him as having been benign for the region.  Even exceeding Davutoglu’s “neo-Ottoman vision” is a leading AKP think tank member, who reported in a 2004 American dispatch as seeing Turkey’s role “to take back Andalusia and avenge the defeat at the siege of Vienna in 1683.”

For Jung, Frank’s sign “hardly” rates as “[c]lever” and is “perhaps even dumb.” Irrespective of agreement with Frank, though, her statements are a “permissible conclusion” in light of current events and agree with other views of Islam in Europe.  After all, Dutch politician Geert Wilders has extensively compared the Islamic immigration to Europe advocated by Erdoğan and others to “conquest” via “Trojan Horse” methods in his book Marked for Death:  Islam’s War against the West and Me, given widespread European concerns about deficient immigrant assimilation and “Islamization.”  Islam has also appeared in a militant manner in the posters advocating Switzerland’s national ban on minaret building passed in 2009, with minarets in one popular poster evoking missiles, a motif later copied to the accompaniment of copyright infringement claims the following year by the far-right National Front in France.

Jung, meanwhile, speculated how a Polish woman holding a sign with the statement “The Germans want to conquer Europe!”  would have fared in 1936 Warsaw under the Munich court’s reasoning.  Would such a person, considered a heroine of anti-Nazi resistance by modern standards, have suffered condemnation for hate speech against Poland’s German minority?

The Munich court, for its part, conceded that Frank could legitimately reference 1683’s historic events but considered the extrapolation therefrom of a present threat to be unacceptable.  Countering Frank’s anxieties, Stürzenberger reported that the judge spoke of positive experiences with the many people of Turkish background in the neighborhood in which he grew up.  As the SZ reported, the judge admitted that drawing distinctions between permissible and impermissible speech involved a “very fine line.”

The court thus left Frank with a vague warning that she “must sensitize herself to what is acceptable and what not.”  As the SZ reported, this was significant given Frank’s “expressions of rejection towards Turks and Muslims on the internet” that are “numerous and at times clearly more drastically pointed than on the poster.”  Frank’s website Bündnis Deutschlands Zukunft, for example, refers to restricting the immigration of, or even deporting, “Muslims ripping us off.”  The SZ further reported that the “other so-called Islam critics around the Party ‘Die Freiheit’ will probably attentively hear” the court’s warning, a point not lost by Stürzenberger in his reporting.  Frank’s case thus shows that future debates about Islam in Europe will often have to brave such paradigmatic legal “chilling effects.”

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  • Michael Copeland

    Her placards could quote:

    “Islam will invade Europe and America… the Jihad will lead to smashing Western civilization and replacing it with Islam…”

    Muslim Brotherhood’s Muhammad Mahdi Akef, in 2007.

    Now that would not be “threatening the peace”, would it?

    • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

      Not only that, but the muzzling is threatening to topple the U.S. too.

      Let's face facts, Eurabia is gone. So much so that when Oriana Fallaci (a journalist borne of the left) finally saw the truth and wrote about it, OMG!! Just read, "The Rage & The Pride" as a foretaste. It will change you forever.

      As to the U.S., it is near bowed – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/10/05/u-s-movie-mak

      Horrific is an understatement.

      Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Mary Sue

    This is why I disapprove of Hate Speech laws. Originally, the law that was invoked in this woman's case, was used to punish Holocaust deniers such as Ernst Zundel. People would be all "yeah, great, punish that SOB Zundel" but I knew better. That law could truly be a double edged sword and be used to punish those that don't deserve it.

  • Miranda Rose Smith

    Frank’s sign also sarcastically described the allied troops of Austrians, Poles, and various German contingents who relieved the siege as the “original Nazis.”

    Anyone who doesn't want the Arabs walking in and taking over his country is a Nazi now. Don't you know that?

    • Mary Sue

      oh yeah, because the "anti-bigot" Left is so Low Information (at the bottom) and/or Deceitful (at the top), that they simplify the objections down to "Oh they just hate teh brown ppls" and chalk it up to irrational pre-judice.

  • davarino

    Muslims sided with Hitler during WWII.

    Mein Kampf is popular in middle eastern countries.

    So, are we not allowed to speak the truth?

    • Georgina

      Mein Kampf = My struggle = MyJihad.

      Of course it is popular, it is the same fascist ideology.

  • mike

    Gee, I like to tell someone at least once a day that islam was created by satan and the koran is an outright lie. Are they coming for me?

  • Brujo Blanco

    This smells of the leftist concept that anyone who.disagrees with Obama is a racist. We are not far from these problems in our country. Remember the Obama Truth Squads in Missouri in 2008.

  • http://www.sargee5.blogspot.com The Watchman

    Fear of Islamic reprisal will from these days forward set the direction of the world. Islamic terrorists have succeeded in instilling grave fear in the leaders of nations, and at every level of their government, and courts. The pathetic appeasement of Muslims is certainly not limited to Europe, it is very obvious in the West, especially in the United States.

  • John Stone

    Speech is only identified as being hateful if it is unpopular. That being the case, the hate speech concept is always used to enforce conformity because that is what it always is. It is always enforcing conformity.

    Meanwhile in Europe the conformity they are enforcing is self destructive.

    One is reminded of a traditional Japanese warrior committing suicide by ripping his own guts out with a sword. The Europeans are not doing it with a sword or nearly so quickly. In their case it is a slow burn cultural genocide.

  • WhateverMan

    Another non-sense article! What if she has a placard stating that Jews control all the international banks and references more recent development about Germany`s financial crisis before WWII.

    • Mary Sue

      She'd still go to jail. THat law was devised to imprison people like Ernst Zundel, a Holocaust Denier from Germany who was living in Canada and who was deported back to Germany to be prosecuted under these very same laws.

  • Choi

    The DOOMED Jews of Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe were FALSELY BLAMED for what the Islamist Jihadis are GUILTY OF.
    An elderly Jewish man I used to know,who ESCAPED Nazi Germany in 1934(after he was THROWN OUT of school,for BEING Jewish),once told me: " The Germans are either at OUR throats,or at OUR FEET"
    This situation is WHAT he meant,as Germany is at the Jihad's FEET today,although at the time he was referring to the VICTORIOUS ALLIES OF WWII.

  • Softly Bob

    Shocking, but not surprising. One day, all these people wrongfully convicted of hate speech will be seen as freedom fighters; heroes and heroines.
    Still, it’s nice to know that as the list of convictions gets bigger, this means that more and more people are tuning in and wising up!
    Freedom only exists where there are people who will speak the truth.

  • John Stone

    I see Europe as going through a second period of nuttiness that is on a cultural level not all that different from the nuttiness they went through during the religiously intense middle ages. What we have is a new rationalization for a presumption of superior moral purpose that in turn pushes a lot of eccentric and self destructive behavior.

  • mekus milkdud

    again the only way for some decent Americans to survive is if a state like Texas breaks away and becomes a nation set up like the original colonies were. then when some other states saw how it works out they could join the problem is Muslims like obummer have made it difficult because most of the cities are crime infested and controlled by scum welfare hoes and drug lords

  • Drakken

    Today they silence reasonable peoples voices, tomorrow the will hear very unreasonable people firing rifles. I highly doubt that the govts of Europe understand or realize how much the more they put a lid on that pressure cooker, the results of the explosion will be felt for generations.

  • Roger Cole

    Don't forget Darren Conway in England – a year inside for similar, and the evidence is secret! http://counterjihadreport.com/tag/darren-conway/

  • LindaRivera

    Europeans and Brits: NEVER give up the fight for freedom. The alternative is too terrible to contemplate.

  • LindaRivera

    Why are German ruling elites persecuting innocents for the supremacist totalitarian system of Islam? Hundreds of millions are dead because of Islam!
    …The Armenian Genocide was centrally planned and administered by the Turkish government against the entire Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. It was carried out during W.W.I between the years 1915 and 1918.

    The Armenian people were subjected to deportation, expropriation, abduction, torture, massacre, and starvation.

    The great bulk of the Armenian population was forcibly removed from Armenia and Anatolia to Syria, where the vast majority was sent into the desert to die of thirst and hunger. Large numbers of Armenians were methodically massacred throughout the Ottoman Empire.

    Women and children were abducted and horribly abused.

    The entire wealth of the Armenian people was expropriated. After only a little more than a year of calm at the end of W.W.I, the atrocities were renewed between 1920 and 1923, and the remaining Armenians were subjected to further massacres and expulsions… http://www.armenian-genocide.org/genocidefaq.html

    • Eric Blair

      Indeed – and the merciless actions of the Soviets & the vindictive policy of the Allies toward the prostrate & vanquished German people carried on for a number of years AFTER the end of WWII had an even higher death rate, as a result of the expulsion & internment in concentration camps of German civilians & prisoners of war.

      With at least 12 million Germans directly involved, possibly 14 million or more, it constituted the largest ethnic population of refugees in European history………….but this history , like the earlier Armenian genocide, doesn't get much spot light for some unknown Hollywood reason as they linger in the historical shadow of the holocaust.

      • LindaRivera

        Yes. It is so very sad.

  • LindaRivera

    …It is estimated that one and a half million Armenians perished between 1915 and 1923. There were an estimated two million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire on the eve of W.W.I. Well over a million were deported in 1915.

    Hundreds of thousands were butchered outright. Many others died of starvation, exhaustion, and epidemics which ravaged the concentration camps. http://www.armenian-genocide.org/genocidefaq.html

    The brave, patriotic 74-year-old pensioner is being viciously persecuted by ruthless German ruling elites because she wants to protect non-Muslim innocents!

    Ruling elite humanity haters are determined to stop people from warning about barbaric, genocidal Islam!

  • martin

    those steely eyed Germans never change..The are in Yiddish "ah shtick fleish mit ogen"…A piece of meat with eye balls !

  • geneww1938

    Friends, we have not seen anything yet!
    This will escalate and empty headed atheistic judges will help it to accelerate.
    There is no middle ground … either you side with righteousness or you are evil. There are no 99.9% truths.

  • Nanis

    There is a reason why the Romans took over most of the middle east but all that fighting was in vain now they have taken over most of europe and now America How could we not lear from history.

  • Shanon

    Far-left Liberalism is a weak ideology. It is based on the shrouds secular humanism and by-gone romanticism that should have ended in WWI. Islam is a dominating religion in all of its forms, from the Druz to the Shi’ites. The weak power vacuum left by the emasculated ninnies in the West will fall to this barbaric religion if they do not change course. The “hate speech” laws are flagrant violations of human rights to protect certain segments of society from criticism, especially the segment that throws a massive fit when things do not go their way. Islam is akin to Nazism and it will swallow Europe and the US in just a few generations. Ironically, the laws used to defend against Nazism is now used to protect modern Nazism.

  • Aeharrod

    Do Jewish bankers act any differently from other bankers? What did Jews have to do with hard economic times before World War II? Do Jewish bankers really control financial institutions, even though Jews are only a tiny minority of the world's population? What about Chinese or Saudi bankers? German bankers? WASP bankers? What is so irrational about discussing militant Muslim movements and leaders?

  • pieceofmymind

    Biblically speaking, Allah is a 'ruler of the darkness of this age' who rose to power in satan's hierarchy after the fall of the ruler of communism.
    I resent Allah being translated God, whom he obviously is not. Equating Allah with God creates all sorts of problems, not least giving credence to Islam as a religion rather than a totalitarian ideology. The unfortunate masses of muslims are caught in a morass of lies and deception much like vast numbers of otherwise decent people have been in every totalitarian attempt at world domination.



  • Joseph E

    I have yet to read a report by the Allied Powers against the 57 states, members & partners of the Organistaion of Islamic Confence (OIC), that denounces their tyranic islamic attempt to equate anti-islamism with antisemitism . I say name & fight back that 'nazi' poison cloaked in religiosity that plunges societies, states & continents into darkness .

  • Sofian Zakkout

    If a 100 years woman convected of speech anti-Semitic you will be dancing by now Mr. Hypocrite!