“Austrian Court Upholds Conviction for ‘Denigrating Religious Beliefs’”

by Walter Olson on January 1, 2012

“An Austrian appellate court has upheld the conviction of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese housewife and anti-Jihad activist, for ‘denigrating religious beliefs’ after giving a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam.” [Soeren Kern, Hudson New York via Volokh]

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PointOfLaw Forum
01.04.12 at 8:59 am

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1 Andreas Moser 01.01.12 at 12:10 pm

It should be noted that Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was acquitted of other charges which involved her (proven) statements “Islam is hostile”, “the Koran is evil” and “Muslims want war, they hate us”.
She was only convicted because of her statements “Mohammed was a womanizer” and “he had a taste for little girls”.

2 Hugo S. Cunningham 01.01.12 at 7:32 pm

Sabaditsch-Wolff’s wording is provocative, but there are underlying facts:

womanizing?
He had (depending on one’s source) eleven or thirteen wives.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad%27s_wives

little girls?
According to traditional sources, he consummated his marriage to child-bride Aisha at age 9 or 10:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aisha

3 John Burgess 01.01.12 at 9:27 pm

With Austria and Germany heading the list, Europe has draconian laws punishing all sorts of speech and depiction of things involving the Nazis. While these laws might have made sense (though anti-liberty) in the decade or so post-WWII, I don’t think they need continue.

Their existence, with arguable reason for being, provide the basis for criminalizing lots of other speech, as this case demonstrates.

4 Hugo S. Cunningham 01.01.12 at 10:58 pm

Many West European social democracies outlaw Holocaust denial, but Holocaust deniers are more generally despised in the USA where Holocaust denial is legal.

5 Anonymous Attorney 01.03.12 at 12:46 pm

Diversity and free speech: You can have one or the other, but the mixture of both is volatile. Although the U.S. has better protection for speech than most of Europe, some of the practical effects are the same: job loss, mainstream press attack, etc. If you try to mount a “controversial” talk, you’ll face attack, often a literal, physical attack (ex.: Ann Coulter being assaulted on stage) for which there won’t be any “official” response. This woman may not have faced criminal prosecution, but she might have faced violence here. Or a complaint from CAIR that would have gotten her dismissed from her job, etc. And although there are clear imbalances (i.e., has anyone been prosecuted for disparaging Christianity in Austria?), there is plenty to go around. The bottom line is that multiculturalism should be scrutinized a bit more sharply by conservatives. Even if, to the left, it is the new religion.

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