Ah, to be in Vienna at Yuletide. Streets sparkle with the lights of the Christkindlmarkts, the traditional markets that spring up for the season. Skaters circle the rink outside the picturesque Rathaus (City Hall). Merrymakers warm their hands on cups of gluhwein (mulled wine). What could possibly be missing?
Freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech no longer exists in Austria, as definitively proven by the Vienna high court. This week, a judge upheld the conviction against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff on the following charge: "denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion." In simplest terms, this means that Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff speaks the truth about Islam, and in Austria, as in other nations across the Western world currently transitioning to sharia (Islamic law), speaking the truth about Islam is not tolerated, and, more and more, is against the law.
What did my friend Elisabeth say that the Vienna high court ruled verboten? Elisabeth was convicted in February 2011 of "denigration" of Islam because in the course of a seminar she was teaching on Islam she stated that "Muhammad had a thing for little girls."
This statement is demonstrably true. According to an authoritative Islamic text (hadith), Muhammad married his wife Aisha when she was six years old. According to the same hadith, Muhammad engaged in sexual intercourse with his "wife" when she was nine. This, at the very least, constitutes "a thing" for little girls. It also constitutes child rape under Western law and Judeo-Christian-derived morality. In all too many Islamic societies where Mohammed's example is emulated, such child rape in "wedlock" is not a crime; indeed, it is permissible under sharia.
In fact, the court didn't contest this. In both Elisabeth's initial trial and her recent appeal, the factual basis of her statement didn't come under judicial attack. Elisabeth is right, and the court knows it. What the Vienna court has twice defined now as being outside the law of Austria is the negative opinion her remark conveyed regarding Muhammad's record of deviance from Western traditions forbidding sexual intercourse with children. (Brava, Elisabeth.) It is wrong, according to the Austrian court, to look down on sex with children if the alleged perp, centuries ago, was the Islamic prophet.
As Henrik Rader Clausen put it, live-blogging the proceedings for the blog Gates of Vienna, Elisabeth, in the court's eyes, expressed "an excess of opinion that can not be tolerated. It is a ridiculing that cannot be justified." Cannot be tolerated, cannot be justified by whom, by what? The answer is by Islamic law. It is literally against Islamic law to criticize or expose Islam or its prophet (Muhammad) in any adverse way. This prohibition against freedom of conscience is now part of Austrian law as well. That the verdict upheld against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff actually imperils the most innocent and vulnerable among us -- little girls whose molestation the courts have implicitly excused as a religious rite -- only underscores the depravity of the Vienna high court.
Where, exactly, does this leave all of the rest of us in that community of nations whose calendars, despite the press of Islamization, still culminate in Christmas? I offer in response a clarifying quotation that pegs our existential whereabouts exactly. It comes from Afshin Ellian, a Dutch columnist, law professor, and professor of citizenship, social cohesion and multiculturalism at the Leiden University, who in 1983 fled Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution in Iran.
In early 2010, Ellian, commenting on the trial of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders for allegedly anti-Islamic statements, had this to say:
"If you cannot say that Islam is a backward religion and that Muhammad is a criminal, then you are living in an Islamic country, my friend, because there you also cannot say such things. I may say Christ was a fag and Mary was a whore, but apparently I should stay off of Muhammad."