When Barack Obama spoke in Mumbai about "the different meanings" of jihad, he set up us up again for the Big Lie: "I think," the 44th president said, sounding much like the 43rd president, "all of us recognize that this great religion in the hands of a few extremists has been distorted to justify violence toward innocent people that is never justified."
All -- all -- of the sacred books and schools of Islam say differently. Every, single one. The fact is - not the fantasy -- there is no distortion of Islamic texts required to justify the violence of jihad from Mumbai to Tel Aviv to New York City to Bali to Madrid and beyond.
But we, dhimmi-citizens of an Islamizing world, are not supposed to notice the links between the violence and the faith, the faith and the law, the law and the violence -- and certainly not say so out loud. Most people don't. Increasingly, this state of denial is enforced by actual states of denial - the most recent example being Austria, which, in a trial on Nov. 23, will attempt to use "hate speech" laws to send Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff to prison for as long as three years for statements about Islam very similar to those I've just written.
The Viennese mother and housewife originally approached the subject of Islam from her unique background that includes a childhood stint in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in 1979 when her diplomat-father was stationed there; and her own work experience with Austrian embassies in both Kuwait at the time of the Iraqi invasion in 1990, and Libya, on 9/11 ("The Jews did it!" Elisabeth's Libyan landlord shouted at her that same day).
She studied the Islamic texts and commentaries, the apologetics and the critiques. Empowered by her natural right to free speech, she decided to educate others in her native Austria about the Koran, about Islamic law (Shariah), in seminars she offered under the auspices of the pro-Western-civilization think tank Wiener Akademikerbund (Association of Vienna Academics). Contracted by the anti-Islamization Freedom Party (FPO) in 2008, Sabaditsch-Wolff has been educating Austrians about Islam ever since.
"The groups were very small at first, sometimes as few as five or six people" she recently told me. "Later on, the numbers rose to 35." Last fall, one attendee in particular seemed "overly enthusiastic about the topic," Elisabeth recalls. She turned out to be a journalist who would brand the seminar a "hate school" in a sensational story for NEWS, a left-wing publication.
"It causes a huge uproar among the establishment," Elisabeth says, although now that her trial approaches Austrian media are silent. "Bishops, rabbis, politicians, all of whom had never attended any of my seminars and knew nothing of the content, were asked to weigh in and condemn me. The bishop said, `One must never speak about any religion the way Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff did about Islam.' This was especially painful for me."
Elisabeth's husband, a military surgeon, is very supportive of her. "My mother had to come to terms with her daughter being maligned in the media," she says. "My sister has cocooned herself and believes the NEWS story rather than confronting reality. My father, who has attended all of my seminars, knows the truth and supports me 100 percent."
Of course, when she enters that Vienna courtroom, she will face the state alone. "The thought that the state -- a state that I love very much and that I represented proudly all my life -- is prosecuting me for thoughts is a painful one. It is hard to understand that I should have to stand trial for thoughts that are not only based on experience but are the product of careful study of the texts that make up Islam."
But Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff is also standing trial for her courage, which threatens all states of denial. "It is interesting to note that once the topic is raised, most friends out themselves as feeling the exact same way I do, however, there is fear. They do not want to become active out of fear for losing their jobs (which is a very real possibility) or getting hurt by some Muslim wacko. My response is always, `Fear is the wrong feeling here. We need to stand up and say, No to Shariah, gender apartheid, theocracy, parallel legal systems.'
"By the way," she adds. "I am being charged for saying all of this!"