Saturday, January 22, 2011

Coming soon to a courtroom near you?

There's a growing list of people who have been prosecuted in various European countries for speaking negatively about Islam. One whose trial is ongoing is Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. (Yeah, I know, it's hard to spell. So inconsiderate of those Europeans to have funny-sounding names.)

She was originally charged with "inciting hatred” following a seminar she gave on political Islam which was blatantly misreported by an Austrian journalist who attributed quotes from other people to ESW, and also quoted remarks during the breaks as if they were parts of the seminar.

On January 18 her lawyer insisted on playing the tapes (made without ESW's knowledge or consent) of the seminar. There are four hours of tapes, but Dr. Rami felt that the first forty-five minutes were enough to demonstrate that there was no incitement to hatred; on the contrary, the tone of the seminar was one of sober respect.

The response? The judge decided to add a charge of “denigrating religious symbols of a recognized religious group.”

She is being prosecuted for quoting the Qur'an and Islamic scholars.

Apparently there are Muslims in Europe who believe that their religion can be defamed by quoting its own writings.

Gosh. Isn't that kind of, I don't know, self-defeating? "My religion is so awful that quoting my own sacred writings is defamatory?"

It would be funny if it weren't so dangerous.

If I were to quote Deuteronomy 24:47-48 or Isaiah 65:11-12 (look it up, folks; I'm not going to do all the work here) and say, "See, Christianity also supports the death penalty for apostasy," do you think believing Christians would sue me for quoting the Bible? Or would they rush to point out why I'm mistaken?

European countries have nothing like our First Amendment and over the last ten years, they have been increasingly passing laws forbidding criticism of religion, defining such criticism as "hate speech," etc.

Why am I worried about this?

Western Europe and the USA have been the poster children for democracy and human rights. Now Europe is crumbling from within.

And here? Think about the calls for limiting freedom of speech after the shootings in Tucson. Think about the total lack of support for Molly Ivins from anybody in power. Think about the fact that CAIR - the supposedly "moderate" Council for American-Islamic Relations - regularly tries to intimidate and silence critics of Islam by the threat of lawsuits - a threat that can be very effective if used by a large organization with deep pockets against an individual speaking on his own dime.

Please think about this.

Don't just go waffling on about how "all religions are really the same," and "Islam is a religion of peace." Are there good, kind, peaceful Muslims? Sure there are. Lots of them.

But a basic premise of Islam is that it's not just a religion, but a complete way of life: theology, law and government must all conform.

If there's no separation between church and state, it's not a religion; it's a political movement.

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