The Trial of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Day 1

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff at ACT! For America 1

The trial of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff for “denigrating religious teachings” begins today in Vienna. For those who are unfamiliar with the case, see the list of previous articles at the bottom of this post. This post will stay on top for a while, and updated as required. Later material will be added at the top.

This is an historic moment. Those who are not paying attention now will wish they had in years to come. The Bard’s words are fitting:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

— William Shakespeare, from Henry V

Note: The times given here are Helsinki time, which is an hour later than the time in Vienna. They are seven hours later than EST.

Final update 14:34 (7:34am EST): The remainder of the hearing has been postponed until January 18th, so it seems that Elisabeth’s ordeal will be dragged out for at least several more months. Those of you who are religious, please pray for her.

Below is Henrik’s final report for the day:

The NEWS journalist Dolna was called as witness. Technicalities of her recording equipment were discussed by the judge, including the fact that of the first seminar, only half an hour was recorded.

The judge inquired about some of the statements quoted being from breaks, not from the seminar proper. Only three to four persons heard those, not 32 or more, the criterion for a statement being “public”. This is important for legal reasons, as only statements made to a large group can be punishable.

The judge dug further into the methods of the journalist. Why did the journalist quote statements made in the breaks, not part of the lecture? The journalists says “For journalistic reasons”. Also for dramaturgic reasons, that it makes for a more dramatic and catching article.

Further, the judge asked if it was made clear in advance that the journalist would be recording the seminars. She responded that she had not told anyone, as her work constituted “investigative journalism”, a journalistic tool.

The lawyer probed further into the issue of the quotes being part of the prepared seminar, or offhand comments in the breaks.

Next, the events concerning the opera “Idomeneo” were discussed. The background is that the performance of this classical Mozart piece by Deutsche Oper Berlin, which was cancelled due to Islamic pressure. The director had added decapitation of Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad to the original play. Fear of unrest caused the play to be cancelled. The well-known German magazine Focus had, in that context, written that we should under no circumstances cave in to pressure like this.

This rounded off the day after roughly three hours of hearings. Since there is a need to play the complete recordings (eight hours) from the seminars, the next hearing was scheduled for January 18th.

The proceedings had a serious breach of procedure: The journalist from had not been summoned as a witness, yet was permitted to take the stand. Witnesses are not permitted to be present at the hearings before they are summoned. The defense lawyer will look into possible consequences of this.

This is the end of reporting for today. Please join us on January 18th 2011 for more news from the frontiers of defending the free societies of the West.

Live-blogging of the trial of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff will resume on January 18th. In the meantime, I ask everyone to please publicize her case. We need to light a fire under the fundaments of the Austrian oligarchs who brought about this travesty of “justice”.

Update 13:54 (6:54am EST): The hearing was adjourned for the day at 12:08 local time. The afternoon session was skipped, because they will have to play the whole tape, which will take extra sessions.

A photo, courtesy of SOS Heimat:

ESW trial, day 1, #1

Henrik will have a final report on this morning’s session.

Live-blogging in German at SOS Heimat.

Update 13:06 (6:06am EST): Live-blogging in Dutch at the Amsterdam Post.

Update 12:40 (5:40am EST): The lawyer continues to ask Elisabeth to explain various statements:

Lawyer: What is meant by “We are decadent”?
Elisabeth: That is the point of view of Islamic fundamentalists.
Lawyer: What is meant by “We do not want Sharia here, full stop”?
Elisabeth: Free, secular societies is what we want.
Lawyer: What is meant by “Islamic law is not compatible with free societies, we need to understand this.”?
Elisabeth: Islam is a whole, and this whole is not compatible with free societies like the Austrian.
Lawyer: Did you see any veiled Muslim men?
Elisabeth (laughing): No, this is an obligation only for women.
Lawyer: You were referring to Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam. What is the meaning of that?
Elisabeth: This is a reference to the no-go zones, where Sharia is effectively the law. There immigrant youths torch cars, throw stones at the police, etc.
Prosecutor: Are each and every one of these persons Muslims?
Elisabeth: The majority are.
Lawyer: What is meant when you say: “How many times have we been told that Islam is a Religion of Peace?” Is this an incitement to hate or violence?
Elisabeth: I do not mean to incite hatred or violence. We need to be informed, make people aware, inform our politicians and write letters to the newspapers.
Lawyer: What is meant by “We do not want gender apartheid, polygamy”?

Elisabeth explains polygamy in Islam, and the fact that this is a reality in Europe, today.

Elisabeth finally tells about the First Amendment of the US Constitution, the absolute right to express ones’ opinions, as a fundamental prerequisite for a sound democracy.

At this point, more people have arrived. There are 18 seats for the audience, 30-35 listeners total.

Update 12:06 (5:06am EST): The significant event at this point of the trial is the unwrapping of ’Umdat al-salik wa ’uddat al-nasik, or The reliance of the traveller and tools of the worshipper. It is commonly referred to as Reliance of the Traveller when cited in English.

They are using the Revised Edition (published 1991, revised 1994), which is “The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law ’Umdat al-Salik by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 769/1368) in Arabic with Facing English Text, Commentary, and Appendices”, edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller. This an authoritative source on Sunni Islamic law, because it is certified as such by Al-Azhar University in Cairo.

The defense lawyer goes through some points of the charges, asking Elisabeth:

Lawyer: You said: “Muslims kill due to Islamic teachings. Christians also kill, but not due to their religious teachings.” Are there not verses in the Bible that encourage killing?
Elisabeth: Not in the New Testament, and not actively used today.

The defense lawyer explains the death threats against Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the security she needs to live under.

Elisabeth tells about the killing of Theo van Gogh, and the Quran quotes used to justify that.

Lawyer: “Are there child marriages in Islamic countries?”
Elisabeth: “Yes, for example Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan. Also the late Ayatollah Khomeini recommended paedophilia, and the current Iranian President Ahmadinejad recommends his teachings.
Elisabeth: According to Islamic law, these marriages are legal and justifiable.
Lawyer: Are corporal punishments, like chopping off of limbs, part of Islamic law?
Elisabeth: Yes, this is described for instance in Reliance of the Traveler.

[The defense lawyer and Elisabeth have explained about the classical Sunni Islamic book Reliance of the Traveller, unwrapping a fresh copy in court.]

4:50 am EST: I just got up, and am catching up with what has been written so far at Tundra Tabloids, which will be mirrored at the Save Free Speech website.

Henrik Ræder Clausen is present at the court, and is communicating with KGS, who is posting all this. Henrik says Austrian TV is outside the courtroom with a camera crew

10:34 (3:34 am): Opening remarks

The room has seats for 15, but 25 spectators are there. ATV and other press asks for comments, but on advice of the lawyer ESW says “No comments now, after the hearings”.

The judge informs ESW about her rights, that all she says can be used against her.

The public prosecutor makes a short summary of various conclusions from ESW, taken out of the context from eight hours of lectures. Without the context, they sound ominous, like speaking of a “Burqa ghost”, comparing her statements to those of Susanne Winter, mentioning that Muhammad married a child of six, as well as the risk that we will eventually have a civil war.

The defense lawyer speaks of the principles of gender equality, freedom of religion, and the lack of reciprocity that exists in Islam, for example that other religions cannot be freely exercised in several Islamic countries. That ESW grew up in Islamic countries and has experienced the situation of women there directly.

He continues to explain that the statements mentioned were taken seriously out of context, and that some were not public, and thus not relevant to the case. And that we should play the eight hours of recordings to understand the context.

He proceeds to invoke three expert witnesses who will testify that ESW speaks the truth:

  • Wafa Sultan
  • Hans Jansen
  • Robert Spencer

10:53: The judge inquires if we are talking about Islamic extremism, or of Islam as such?

Elisabeth explains that we are talking Islam as such, as defined by its scripture, and quotes Erdogan that there is no moderate Islam anyway.

The judge accepts that we can play the tapes.

Then proceeds to ask about us being lied to 24 hours a day. Elisabeth explains the concept of Taqiyya. The judge says: “That is your interpretation”, to which Elisabeth responds: “No, this is the canonical interpretation”.

Next question is: “Is Islam in a never-ending war with the West?”

Elisabeth refers to history and newspapers to document that, and that Jihad has at times been considered a pillar of Islam.

11:15: The “burqa ghost” story is related.

Elisabeth took a photo of a woman in a burqa in Meitlinger Hauptstrasse, Vienna, and told about this in her seminars. It is difficult to figure out why the public prosecutor finds this offensive, not to mention illegal. The defense asks about this. Elisabeth explains a few things about freedom for women — all women — to decide for themselves.

A reference is then made to debates at OSCE, where she discussed child molestation, and says: Christian cardinals molest children in conflict with their religion; Muslims in line with theirs. As background the marriage between Muhammad and Aisha is related, as documented by several Hadith authors.

Paedophilia is discussed, in light of Muhammad being the perfect example for Muslims, as stated in Quran 33:21. That means everything Muhammad ever did or said, which is in the hadith.

Elisabeth explains what the hadith collections are, how they constitute an indispensable part of Islam, due to 33:21 and similar suras. And emphasizes that she is not making up statements, merely quoting canonical Islamic scripture.

Henrik Clausen: [Now apostasy — more later]

11:34: The Judge opens a discussion if we’re talking of “All Muslims” here.

Elisabeth says no, for most Muslims do not know what is in the Quran, which is in a language (Arabic) they do not understand, and thus place their confidence in the imams for interpretations.

Their exchange:

Judge: “Is every Muslim a Jihadist?”
Elisabeth: “No, not at all. But Jihad is an obligation for Muslims.”
Elisabeth: “Converts, not cultural Muslims, are problematic.”
Elisabeth: “This is about the teachings of Islam, not about Muslims.”
Judge: “You said Muslims in the seminars?”
Elisabeth: “Yes, in context that is needed to understand the relevance of this.”
Judge: “What percentage of Muslims are Jihadis?”
Elisabeth: “I do not know. Not the majority. One promille [per thousand] is enough to be a problem, though”.

Then the quote about “Islam is s***” is debated. Elisabeth points out that she was debating, using visual quotes, if it is legal or punishable to say “Islam is s***”. Thus, what we are discussing here is the meta-question:

Is it illegal, or punishable, to debate the legality of saying: “Islam is s***”?

Previous posts about the hate speech case against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff:

2009 Dec 5 Fighting a Hate Speech Charge in Austria
    11 Heckling the Counterjihad
    14 Whose Law?
    17 Defaming the Muslims of Pinkafeld
2010 Mar 11 A Mother and an Activist
    20 An Austrian “Hate School”
    22 Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff at the Freedom Defense Initiative
    29 Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and the Wiener Akademikerbund
  Sep 9 “Islam is a Political Ideology Disguised as a Religion”
    16 “Justice Must Not Be Made the Handmaiden of Sharia”
    17 The Truth Does Not Matter
  Oct 11 Interview With Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
    16 Is the Truth Illegal in Austria?
    20 A Court Date for Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
    21 BPE Press Release on Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
    22 Elisabeth’s Voice: An Appeal
    23 Elisabeth’s Voice: A Follow-Up
    24 Raising Our Voices
    25 Elisabeth’s Voice is Growing
    27 Elisabeth’s Voice: More Information
    27 A Bit More Media Attention?
    28 We Are Elisabeth’s Voice
    30 Elisabeth’s Voice in Amsterdam
    31 Mark Steyn Joins Elisabeth’s Voice
  Nov 2 Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff: Target of Western Shariah
    6 Anatomy of a Discussion with a Leftist Journalist
    8 ESW in the WSJ
    10 “The Left is Very Much the New Far Right”
    11 Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff Versus the State of Denial
    17 Elisabeth’s Voice: An Update
    15 The New English Review Interviews Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
    20 Live-Blogging the Trial of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
    20 The ESW Defense File
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