Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff may not be a household name, but she is now a high-profile personality in the growing movement against radical Islam’s steadying foothold in Europe.A mother and an activist, Sabaditsch-Wolff was launched into the heart of the anti-Jihad movement, and she is currently on trial after a November 2009 article written by an undercover journalist at one of her seminars categorized her as a cold woman who spreads vitriolic rhetoric against Islam. However, Sabaditsch-Wolff insists that all she is doing is telling the truth, and she fully expects to stand trial on charges of hate speech.“We’re going to reply to the charges and we will do that in full detail,” Sabaditsch-Wolff told The Jewish State in an interview Feb. 19. “It remains to be seen whether the truth is a defense. I don’t think it will be.”If her case makes it to trial, it will be the first challenge to Austrian laws that ban hate speech against officially recognized religions, of which Islam is one. According to Austrian law, if a religion is recognized by the country, it is protected against hate speech unless the tenets of the religion go against the Austrian constitution. Christianity and Judaism have both been challenged and cleared in Austria, but Islam has not been challenged since it was incorporated under this law in 1912. While she did not intend to bring any case to court, now that the opportunity has fallen in her lap, she plans to run with it.“We have been wanting to get there, let’s put it that way,” Sabaditsch-Wolff said.Sabaditsch-Wolff spent a large portion of her life in Muslim countries — her father was an Austrian diplomat in Iran when the Iranian Revolution broke out in 1979. As a 6-year-old girl, she did not have a strong grasp on the Islamic doctrine around her, but she said that the fear she felt around her scared her the most.“We had liberty before, during the shah, and all of a sudden, it changed,” Sabaditsch-Wolff said. “All of a sudden, [there were] hundreds of thousands of black-clad women. As a 6-year-old, you just get so scared, and this fear stays with you, it does not go away.” All diplomatic dependents were expelled the night Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, and Sabaditsch-Wolff returned to Austria with her parents and sister, an ordeal in itself in an airport packed with people trying to escape.“You have to understand the tension that was in the air,” Sabaditsch-Wolff said.
UPDATE: Here is the full speech Elisabeth gave in Washington DC:
Let me begin by thanking Brigitte, Guy [Rodgers], and Kelly [Cook] for the opportunity to speak here this afternoon. I truly appreciate your kindness and I salute your efforts to preserve the values of the [United States] Constitution. Thank you also to [the Citizens’ Movement] Pax Europa, Germany’s foremost and most successful human rights organization I am privileged to represent. Without their financial support I would not be here in this wonderful country to speak to you and work with you.
Before I start, let me tell you three stories:
I grew up in Chicago, where I attended junior high school. In order to graduate I had to study the Constitution. At the time, I did not understand why I, as an Austrian citizen, had to study a constitution that was not my own. However, I studied hard and managed to pass with a “C”.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke before a group of college seniors about my life experiences, especially those concerning Islam, and how I came to do what I do now. I was shocked about the kids’ severe indoctrination, i.e. the Christians are bad because of the Crusades, we are to blame about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is evil. I told them that they must stop blaming themselves for historical events. The answer here would be: We must learn from history and not blame ourselves for something we cannot change.
One student, seething with anger and arguing that Christians and just as bad and evil as Muslims, got up and left the room when I spoke about the incompatibility of Sharia and the Constitution, western values, and equality of the sexes.
Finally, Kitty Werthmann, an 84-year-old Austrian émigré to the United States, recently wrote an eyewitness account about the way Austria succumbed to Hitler in the 1930s.
She mentioned that Hitler did not just roll into the country with tanks. There was high unemployment and many bankruptcies in Austria. Political parties fought each other in a civil war. As a result, Austrians naturally looked to their neighbor to the north and found that there was no crime, full employment, and a high standard of living. Hitler had made promises and kept them.
When Hitler’s time came in Austria, the population voted him into office with 98% of the vote. The country was then annexed to Germany and Hitler was made its ruler.
Austria now experienced: law and order; full employment; nationalization of education without any religious education; political indoctrination among youth; restructuring the family through day care. However, the quality of health care suffered, as did small businesses. Hitler instituted consumer protection, in which consumers were told what to buy and how to shop. Industrial capitalism was frozen. More and more “agencies appeared, many of them to watch over business endeavors.
And finally — and most importantly — there was no more freedom of speech. Anyone who said something against the government was taken away.
Ms. Werthmann observes that totalitarianism did not come quickly; it took five years, from 1938 to 1943 [for full-fledged dictatorship to appear, and for people to realize it]. If it had come overnight, she is sure, her countrymen would have fought. Instead, there was creeping gradualism [and the state eroded little by little, and with it freedom].
So why am I telling you this story?
Ms. Werthmann could also be describing the situation in Europe, and Austria in particular. We are witnessing history all over again.
High unemployment? Check.
Civil war among political parties? Certainly in a verbal sense. There is a distinct lack of classical discourse nowadays. As Melanie Phillips brilliantly argues in her new book The World turned Upside Down, “Dissent is labeled as pathology — homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia — with phobia, or irrational fear, used as a synonym for prejudice. There are even outright accusations of insanity, a weapon used by totalitarian movements […]. Any fact that challenges the worldview of the left is ignored, denied or explained away, because to admit even a scintilla of such a truth would bring the entire utopian house of cards crashing down […]. Anyone who objects to the falsehoods of the left and points out the truth must be right-wing and thus “fascist”. In this way, truth itself is demonized — and the bigger the truth that is told, the more demonized the teller becomes.” Check.
In 1994, a whopping 66.6% of Austrians voted for Austria’s accession to the European Union after a never-before-seen campaign brainwashing the population into believing that there is no alternative to the EU. For instance, Austrian voters were told that the EU would create a high number of jobs, i.e. full employment. There would no longer be any discrimination at all; multiculturalism would make sure that everyone and everything would be equal. Public schools would no longer have to offer religious instruction (except to those of the Muslim faith). Pro-EU political indoctrination was and is extremely successful, especially among youth and university students, who are taught that the EU is great, the savior of all problems, and without it there would be disaster and war. Politicians, such as former Italian president Giorgio Napolitano [in German only] or the former Austrian parliamentary president Andreas Khol, even label EU critics as “terrorists”. The EU is also instrumental in introducing a new concept of family, including new German words for the concept of “parents” so as not to discriminate against men and women.
But most importantly, there is no longer any freedom of speech. If anyone says something against the mainstream opinion, careers and reputations are destroyed with the help of slander and the accusations of fascism and Nazism. Melanie Phillips explains this phenomenon in her books, “J.L. Talmon identified back in 1952 [the concept of] ‘totalitarian democracy’, which he characterized as ‘a dictatorship based on ideology and the enthusiasm of the masses.’“ In addition, “Medieval Christianity — like contemporary Islamism — stamped out dissent by killing or conversion; Western liberals do it by social ostracism and legal discrimination. It is a kind of secular Inquisition. And the grand inquisitors are to be found within the intelligentsia — in the universities, the media, the law, the political and professional classes — who not only have systematically undermined the foundation of Western society but are heavily engaged in attempting to suppress any challenge or protest.” And later, “It is hard to overstate the influence on our culture that is wielded by the doctrines of anti-imperialism, multiculturalism, feminism, environmentalism and the like. They form the unchallengeable orthodoxy within the academia, the base camp for their ‘long march through the institutions,’ which they have colonized with stunning success. The center of political gravity has been shifted so that anyone who does not share these values is defined as extreme.” Phillips adds that, “In the cause of freedom, those who seek to limit anarchic behavior in order to prevent harm are to be denied the freedom to do so.”
Vienna is not a city of jackboots and swastikas, as Herb London recently observed firsthand. It is prosperous, peaceful and civilized. At first glance only, though. There is another Vienna, one that includes areas populated by a Muslim majority, with resentment that breeds high crime rates, and with high unemployment, which is the result of Muslim youth unwilling or unable to finish compulsory schooling.
The establishment prefers to look the other way, constantly criticizing those who dare to uphold democratic values and ideals.
I am one of these people. And I am being labeled a right-wing fanatic because I speak out against Muslim practices and the establishment of Sharia in Europe, both of which are incompatible with secular and liberal values of Western societies. I am facing possible prosecution for public incitement because I tell people in closed door seminars about Islam by quoting from the Quran. I have been, in Herb London’s words, marginalized extremist by the Austrian authorities.
To close the circle, I implore you to defend the Constitution and its principles, especially the right to freedom of speech, the separation of church and state, the Bill of Rights. I did not appreciate all of this back in the 1980s, but I do now. We must deprogram our indoctrinated youth, teach them to respect themselves and their history, instead of being ashamed.
And never forget that, according to Ms. Werthmann, “Because of its Constitution, America is (one of) the greatest countries in the world.
“Do not let freedom slip away.
“Because: After America, there is no place to go!”