Elisabeth’s press release, given to the TT in as an exclusive.
Europeans are free to say only what the courts let them.
When he was 50, the prophet of Islam took as his wife Aisha, who was then six or seven. The marriage was consummated when Aisha was nine.
This is not a smear. It is an accurate account of authoritative Islamic scripture. (See, e.g., Sahih-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 58, Nos. 234–236.) Yet it can no longer safely be discussed in Europe, thanks to the extortionate threat of violence and intimidation — specifically, of jihadist terrorism and the Islamist grievance industry that slipstreams behind it. Under a ruling by the so-called European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), free speech has been supplanted by sharia blasphemy standards.
The case involves an Austrian woman (identified as “Mrs. S.” in court filings and believed to be Elisabeth Sabaditsch Wolff) who, in 2009, conducted two seminars entitled “Basic Information on Islam.” She included the account of Mohammed’s marriage to Aisha. Though this account is scripturally accurate, Mrs. S. was prosecuted on the rationale that her statements implied pedophilic tendencies on the part of the prophet. A fine (about $547) was imposed for disparaging religion.
Mrs. S. appealed, relying on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. That provision purports to safeguard “freedom of expression,” though it works about the same way the warranty on your used car does — it sounds like you’re covered, but the fine print eviscerates your protection.
Article 10 starts out benignly enough: Europeans are free “to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.” But then comes the legalese: One’s exercise of the right to impart information, you see, “carries with it duties and responsibilities.” Consequently, what is called “freedom” is actually “subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties” that the authorities decide “are necessary in a democratic society,” including for “public safety” and for “the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others.”