European Court of Human Rights upholds blasphemy law: Defaming the Prophet Muhammad or his marriage to a six year old girl hurts people’s “religious feelings”

I’m gobsmacked, as I hadn’t been aware of this case. This comes from the Andelou Agency, a Turkish website, so it’s not gonna be critical of this decision.

The text:

Strasbourg: Defaming the Prophet Muhammed “goes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate” and “could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace” and thus exceeds the permissible limits of freedom of expression, ruled the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday, upholding a lower court decision.

The decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified as Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009, entitled “Basic Information on Islam,” in which she defamed the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage.

According to a statement released by the court on Thursday, the Vienna Regional Criminal Court found that these statements implied that Muhammad had pedophilic tendencies, and in February 2011 convicted Mrs. S. for disparaging religious doctrines.

She was fined €480 (aprox. $547) and the costs of the proceedings.

“Mrs. S. appealed but the Vienna Court of Appeal upheld the decision in December 2011, confirming, in essence, the lower court’s findings. A request for the renewal of the proceedings was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 11 December 2013,” it said.

“Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression), Mrs. S. complained that the domestic courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light of her right to freedom of expression.”

On today’s ruling, the ECHR said it “found in particular that the domestic courts comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicant’s statements and carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.”

The court held “that by considering the impugned statements as going beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate and classifying them as an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam, which could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace, the domestic courts put forward relevant and sufficient reasons.”

The statement also added that there had been no violation of Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, covering freedom of expression.

I suspect that Mrs. S. defamed Muhammed’s marriage to his wife Aisha, whom he married at six or seven and “deflowered” (i.e., raped) at nine. And why, exactly, shouldn’t that be defamed? It happens to be true, so the Austrian woman was simply fined for telling the truth. And that truth is construed as potentially offending Muslims.

But really, look at the bit I’ve put in bold. It’s a blasphemy law they’re enforcing! Muslims “need to have their religious feelings protected” in Austria. This is unconscionable. A democratic country protects a religious minority from having its feelings hurt? Does that go for Christians, too? You’re not allowed to defame Jesus, who might not have even existed? But of course we know that among all faiths these days, it’s Islam who are using the “hurt feelings” excuse to protect their religion from criticism.

This isn’t even Islamophobia: it’s criticism of religion, and most likely criticism of an Islamic practice of marrying and raping young girls. Shame on Austria, and on the European Court of Human Rights. There is no reason for the modern Western democracies to have blasphemy laws. Let’s face it, in Austraia there is no real “freedom of expression”—not if you can’t criticize religion.

Grüß Gott im Himmel!

100 Comments

  1. Posted October 25, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Pretty distressing news. There are people in the US who would like to see our courts take the same position. More people than most people think. That is s basic principle among Muslims. Including those who are moving here.

  2. Andrew
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Very shocking. How can anyone have their religious “feelings” protected by law. This is like an implementation of Sharia.

  3. Posted October 25, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Maybe we should do the unthinkable and declare
    Evolution to be a religion. I’m maddened, offended, and think it defines stupidity every time someone triggers me by stating that the Bible or the Koran clearly show that evolution can’t be true.

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted October 25, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. Evolutionists unite! Perhaps there will be some new financial windfalls for groups offended by any “blasphemous” statements, articles, written or spoken now. This looks good for Hindus, practitioners of Shinto, and numerous other religions with polytheism and vast amounts of symbolism to “be offended” and need to litigate.😾

      • a-non
        Posted October 25, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        The problem is that you need a credible threat of public violence. And biology departments just don’t admit the right kind of thugs for that.

        At least, this is what I read “served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace” as saying. The problem is that the people insulted might riot, burn things down & blow people up.

        • Diane G
          Posted October 26, 2018 at 3:38 am | Permalink

          Militant evolutionists of the world, unite!

        • Posted November 3, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          You get the essence of the problem.

  4. Eric Grobler
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Strange how the modern left have morphed into a moralistic movement that dictates how everyone should act and think.

    • Posted October 25, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      The “modern left”!? This was a court. Also ask the religious right how they feel about critisizing Jesus.

      I find the ruling incredible, of course, but I am also annoyed that conservative hypocritically pretend they’re for freedom of speech. That’s bollocks.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 25, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        The Right is all for freedom of speech as long as it thinks the speech in question is stickin’ it to the Left. The Right’s track record on freedom of speech it doesn’t approve of is horrid, chock full of blue-noses and red-baiters and anti-Syndicalists.

        • BJ
          Posted October 25, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          The problem is that when the side that used to be the protectors of freedom of speech (the Left, save the moralizing second wave feminists who allied with the religious right to try and rid us of evil pornography) abdicate that position, the Right gets to claim it. And rightfully so, at least in the US at the moment. Of course there are always idiots on either side who think they’re in favor of free speech and yet think speech they don’t like should be outlawed, but the conservative intellectuals and spokespeople (I’m not talking about someone like Trump, but those who talk to everyday people on the Right, like Ben Shapiro and people at publications like The National Review) get to take up the mantle that the Left has abandoned. I don’t hear people on the Right claiming that we should ban criticism of Christianity or white people, but I do hear a whole lot of people on the Left — and, in particular, intellectuals, media, and the academy — saying that we should ban certain kinds of speech (often amounting to mere criticism and/or statement of what they consider unsavory opinions and facts) that refers to groups they consider marginalized or oppressed, in addition to other kinds of speech.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 25, 2018 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            Mebbe so, BJ, but can you recall any instances where our friends the right-wing free-speech arrivistes have fought for the First Amendment rights of left-wing extremists — you know, the way Lefty free-expression proponents fought for the First Amendment rights of Nazis (for example, in Skokie) or Klansmen (as in Brandbenburg v. Ohio)?

            ‘Cause I keep an eye out for those instances, but come away disappointed.

            • BJ
              Posted October 25, 2018 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

              No, I can’t. But you’re talking about the past, as even the ACLU — or last, best hope for free speech activism on the Left — now seems to think that defending the speech of their enemies (in other words, defending speech, period) is a good idea.

              Actually, I was thinking to myself that the Right doesn’t really have ACLU-type organizations, and therefore would be far less likely to have such examples. Then I remembered FIRE, which, while not technically a Right organization, it’s considered as such for protecting the speech of Righties on college campuses. However, FIRE has also done the same for Left speakers and students. Heterodox Academy is a similar organization, though a bit different in its mission.

            • BJ
              Posted October 26, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

              Sorry, I meant to say that the ACLU “now seems to think that defending the speech of their enemies (in other words, defending speech, period) is not a good idea.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted October 25, 2018 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        “I find the ruling incredible, of course, but I am also annoyed that conservative hypocritically pretend they’re for freedom of speech. That’s bollocks.”

        I agree, but my point is that we now face insanity from the right AND the left.

        It feels like the world is 2x more insane.

  5. phoffman56
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps I should be careful not to tell my idiot neighbours to get their children vaccinated. Or is it only defaming religion-prophet-‘leaders’, but not defaming lying-British-doctor-‘leaders’, which is criminal?

    I fib to make the point above, since I had a bellyful of living in Britain, several times, years ago. And the Brits will be out from under that Euro court soon enough anyway I suppose, at a high cost brought on by their very own Brexit xenophobes. And my actual neighbours give no signs of being suckers for conspiracy theories, other than maybe religious ones.

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Shocking & especially disappointing that they came right out & said they were protecting “religious feelings”.

  7. Peter Welch
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Yes this was a poor decision. I believe it will incite and empower the far right in Europe. However before we condemn the court as some air fairy liberal nuts, it should be noted that this same court previously upheld Belgium’s ban on burkas and France’s face veil ban. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/belgium-burqa-ban-upheld-european-court-of-human-rights-dakir-v-full-face-islamic-veils-headscarf-a7835156.html

  8. pablo
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    This will likely provoke a backlash against the EU. Expect more exit referendums.

    • Posted October 26, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      That would be ironic. The European Court of Human Rights has nothing to do with the EU.

  9. Posted October 25, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    “could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace”

    Religious peace? so does that mean an atheist can bag Mo for all it’s worth, considering it’s a fairytale and they say nothing about fairytale peace.

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Well, maybe there’s a translation problem here, but in English to “defame” you must say something that is false or malicious!!!

    Random House:…..to attack the good name or reputation of, as by uttering or publishing maliciously or falsely anything injurious;

    Wikipedia reports “Under common law, to constitute defamation, a claim must generally be false and must have been made to someone other than the person defamed”

    WP footnotes:
    “Ron Hankin, Navigating the Legal Minefield of Private Investigations: A Career-Saving Guide for Private Investigators, Detectives, And Security Police, Looseleaf Law Publications, 2008, p. 59. “There are five essential elements to defamation: (1) The accusation is false; and (2) it impeaches the subject’s character; and (3) it is published to a third person; and (4) it damages the reputation of the subject; and (5) that the accusation is done intentionally or with fault such as wanton disregard of facts.“”

    So, if it is true that Mohammed married and deflowered a prepubescent minor…

    • a-non
      Posted October 25, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Right! They should have put the biggest mullah they could find in on the stand, and let him choose between apostasy and admission that child rape is not defamation.

      More seriously, is defamation actually in the law being “applied” here, or is it the Turkish newspaper’s summary?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 25, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      As the pithy American legal principle has it regarding defamation (whether libel or slander): “The truth is an absolute defense.”

    • Posted October 26, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      The Inquisition found that “Mrs S. had subjectively labelled Muhammad with paedophilia as his general sexual preference, and that she failed to neutrally inform her audience of the historical background” — in other words, failed to mention that Mohammed raped adult woman as well as nine year olds.

    • Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      If the definition of “defame” used *is* “false or malicious”, then maybe the ruling falls under the *second* disjunct?

      (Still stupid, but …)

  11. Posted October 25, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Christians in Europe still haven’t figured out whether to look down their noses at Muslims and tacitly agree with various bans and discriminations, or whether to use them as a bulwark against secular encroachments on their rights to put up crucifixes in public buildings and collect church taxes and state funding.

  12. Posted October 25, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    “could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace”

    When has there ever been religious peace?

    • Diane G
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 3:45 am | Permalink

      Word for word exactly what I thought upon reading that snippet.

    • Posted October 26, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      There will be religious peace when everyone in The House of War has been assimilated into The House of Submission. Inshallah.

  13. Posted October 25, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    According to the news site Focus, the woman made the statement that the marriage between a fiftysix and a six-year-old would be regarded as pedophilia. Their article made it seem that this aspect was regarded outside reasonable opinion or fact, and not because her presentation was connected to the FPÖ (Austrian far right populist nationalist party), which it was.

    In my view, religious feeling deserve zero protection, and this is in fact a blasphemy law for Islam, which is indefensible. However, I recognize that Far Right parties like the FPÖ engage in increased demagoguery and societal arson with a clear intention to stoke hatred and resentment to feed off it. They aren’t “just saying” or have a humanist or secular mission. This doesn’t change the fact that blasphemy laws have no place in a modern world, and this ruling was wrong, however I feel the context must be made clear, too.

    • eric
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Far Right parties like the FPÖ engage in increased demagoguery and societal arson with a clear intention to stoke hatred and resentment to feed off it.

      So you prosecute individuals for incitement when they do it. Even the US does that. I understand that Europe’s history of religious wars (and let’s throw WWII into the consideration too) probably makes them much more ‘gun shy’ of angry anti-someone-else’s-religion rhetoric than the US. But preventing demagogues for ordering their followers to kill people doesn’t require overbroad hate speech laws or anti-blasphemy laws.

      In any event, I half suspect this isn’t about Islamic immigration at all. Like the US GOP using ‘voter fraud’ to discriminate, this could be conservative christian groups such as the RCC using ‘violent Islam’ to roll back enlightenment speech protections that reduced their power.

  14. Jonathan Dore
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    So the ECHR upheld “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected”. What is the legal basis of this supposed right? Is it in Austrian law, or does it derive from some European-level act?

    • alexander
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 3:18 am | Permalink

      Austria is a quite conservative and very Catholic country. Austria still had a Holy Roman Emperor until 1806.

    • Posted October 26, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      I imagine it is under article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Convention_on_Human_Rights

      • Posted October 26, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        I can’t see why that provides any right “to have [one’s] religious feelings protected”.

        Where does does this come from in law?

        /@

        • Posted October 26, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

          *only one “does”

        • Posted October 26, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          Clearly your interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights differed from that of the ECHR. Their decision is linked by one of the other commenters below and I’ve read some of it. It seems a bit daft in parts.

          One thing you have to remember is that the defamation conviction was made by a court in Austria and the defendant is the one who brought the case to the ECHR and the ECHR has merely upheld the lower court’s decision.

          • Jonathan Dore
            Posted October 26, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            This seems to be the key to the ruling, in paragraph 44:

            “The absence of a uniform European conception of the requirements of the protection of the rights of others in relation to attacks on their religious convictions broadens the Contracting States’ margin of appreciation when regulating freedom of expression in relation to matters liable to offend personal convictions within the sphere of morals or religion”.

            What that means basically is that, since the ECHR’s jurisdiction in 47 states includes some very conservative (and even downright reactionary) countries, which still have blasphemy laws on their books, the court is obliged to recognize these when it comes to balancing the rights enshrined in Article 9 (belief) and Article 10 (expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. They’re saying that it isn’t the court’s business, in other words, to strike down rulings based on national laws just because those laws are antiquated.

            • Kevin
              Posted October 27, 2018 at 5:17 am | Permalink

              “They’re saying that it isn’t the court’s business, in other words, to strike down rulings based on national laws just because those laws are antiquated.”

              That makes a nonsense of the ECHR: if it cannot overrule a member state (it is supposed to be the highest level court in Europe) then it has no reason to exist. The 47 states who are members are recognising its authority BY being members.

              Case in point:
              The “McLibel” case is an interesting ECHR outcome since it overrode the UK libel laws and also passed judgement on litigation between participants with unequal financial resources having no prospect of fair outcome and issues regarding Article 10.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLibel_case#European_Court_of_Human_Rights
              ” Steel and Morris argued that the lack of legal aid had breached the pair’s right to freedom of expression and to a fair trial.”

              • Jonathan Dore
                Posted October 28, 2018 at 5:18 am | Permalink

                I agree. It is a nonsense.

  15. Posted October 25, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Also of interest today, Ireland may remove their explicit (and never-used) blasphemy law:

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/25/europe/ireland-blasphemy-referendum-intl/index.html

    I wonder how that would work: would they simply tear out that page, or would the act removing it somehow create a precedent that there is no such crime as blasphemy, which cases like this could then cite?

  16. Posted October 25, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    There are a number of states in the US that have blasphemy laws on the books. Never heard of any being enforced.

    • BJ
      Posted October 25, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      To enforce them would be unconstitutional. These laws, like many in myriad jurisdictions, are from the days of the Founders and soon after. Some states still have some absolutely bonkers laws. You should look them up! It’s pretty fascinating to read the kinds of laws that used to be passed 😛

  17. DrBrydon
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    And then some days Brexit makes sense.

  18. BJ
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Unforutnately, I cannot find a copy of the ruling, but, if an article I read is quoting it accurately, it had the following sentence in it:

    “The courts have also put forward substantive and sufficient reasons for their ruling, ‘especially as they saw the boundaries of objective debate transgressed on the contentious statements and classified them as an insulting attack on the Prophet of Islam.‘”

    Emphasis is on the quote from the ruling. What precedes the emphasized portion is quoting from the article.

    • BJ
      Posted October 25, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      I forgot to add: so, not only is the ECHR saying that you cannot insult Islam (by referring to facts from the Koran!), but is even calling Mohammed a “Prophet.”

      • Posted October 25, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Aisha is not mentioned in the Koran.
        There is actually very little about even Muhammed, or a character who might be Mohammed, in the Koran.
        These stories come from the biographies and Hadith. Both, for reasons far too complex to get into, are deeply, deeply unreliable.

        • BJ
          Posted October 25, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          Ah, the Hadith, sorry. Thanks for the correction. But the Hadith is considered nearly as important as the Koran in Islam, right? And when I said “facts,” I meant things that Muslims/Islam consider facts.

          • Posted October 26, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

            It is not surprising to discover the catalogue of Muhammad’s relations with his 17 wives does not reflect well on the man.

            If one looks at Muhammad’s wives, through Hadith sources, and whether they were “widows and divorced women who had no means to survive on their own” as Islamic apologetics often tells us. We see, first of all, 17, not 11, wives as the tradition normally has it. The list below omits the 2 most famous, Khadija and Aisha, and includes a concubine.

            Sawdah bint Zamaa (married in 620) was a tanner and perfume-mixer. Hafsah bint Umar, who could write, could easily have earned a living. Or her father, one of the richest Qurayshi men, could have kept her. Zaynab bint Khuzayma had many male relatives who could and did look out for her in the 7 months between her widowhood and marriage to Muhammad. Hind bint Abi Umayya was a tanner and evidently reluctant to remarry: one can assume that she thought she could earn a living.

            Zaynab bint Jahsh gave away all her profits from her leather-craft job in alms. Rayhanah bint Zayd was a poor widow, because Muhammad had killed her husband and appropriated her property. Juwayriyah bint Al-Harith also had her husband killed by Muhammad’s troops: yet, she was rich and Muhammad declined the ransom offered by her father. Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan shows no signs of being destitute: she came with a huge dowry of 400 dinars.

            Safiyah bint Huyayy was a widow because Muhammad had killed her husband and expropriated her wealth. Maymunah bint Al-Harith was the guest of her brother-in-law, a banker, and one of the richest of his tribe: she was comfortably off. Mariyah bint Shamoon was an Egyptian slave whom Muhammad could have sent back to Egypt: instead he used her as a concubine, to the evident distress of his official wives. Mulaykah bint Kaab, whom Muhammad divorced after a few weeks, received a marriage offer from someone else. This indicates that she was not at destitution’s door.

            And so on: you get the drift.

            Of note is that the vast majority of the claims derive from the earliest references to Muhammad’s life, albeit that they are about 150 years after his traditional death. Nevertheless, the hagiographic source tells us that the community from which it came approved of this behaviour.

            Sahih Bukhari, commonly called the most reliable hadith in Muslim circles, confirms the Austrian’s woman claim about Mo’s paedophilia. Here it is:

            Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64:
            Narrated ‘Aisha:
            that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

            This had barely been controversial in Islamic history until critics of Islam pointed it out and as usual with Muslim apologetics one can find whole websites devoted to denying the plain writing on the page. Perhaps this would not matter if ordinary Muslims did not habitually and vehemently repeat the denial in public conversations: now it seems that their upset trumps any claim, right or wrong, that one can make about Muhammad’s morals.

            The ECHR’s ruling has handed the censor’s veto to those with the morals of Tamerlane and the tech nous of Steve Jobs.

            • BJ
              Posted October 26, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

              That was some interesting detail you’ve added. Thanks.

              “…the hagiographic source tells us that the community from which it came approved of this behaviour.”

              Well, yeah. Just look at the Bible. Most of these things, including child brides, were acceptable in many cultures back then. What’s interesting is that, unlike the vast majority of Christians, who won’t try to defend edicts from the Bible about things like beating or killing your slaves, Islamic leaders don’t concern themselves with trying to ignore such things.

              • Diane G
                Posted October 27, 2018 at 3:04 am | Permalink

                Gettin’ a little impatient, waiting for that Islamic reformation…

  19. Giancarlo
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    In case anyone was wondering (I was and looked it up), human functional brain lateralization in individuals with situs inversus (congenital condition in which major visceral organ positions are reversed from normal) is the same as in normal individuals. So the mechanism of symmetry breaking of brain function is not the same as that which breaks the organ symmetry in the embryo. However, there appears to be a correlation between handedness and certain allelic variants of genes that are involved in the process of somatic symmetry breaking. If anyone is interested, I have the links to the articles.

    • BJ
      Posted October 25, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      I think you meant this for the thread on neanderthals 😛

      • Giancarlo
        Posted October 25, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Yep. Thank you.

  20. Posted October 25, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Does Brexit still seem irrational?

  21. Kevin
    Posted October 25, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    This seems to be the ECHR ruling:
    http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-187188

    • Posted October 26, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      This is incredible:

      The court concluded that the applicant had intended to wrongfully accuse Muhammad of having paedophilic tendencies. Even though criticising child marriages was justifiable, she had accused a subject of religious worship of having a primary sexual interest in children’s bodies, which she had deduced from his marriage with a child, disregarding the notion that the marriage had continued until the Prophet’s death, when Aisha had already turned eighteen and had therefore passed the age of puberty.

      Maybe I am misinterpreting this, but it seems that the ECHR has just claimed it’s not paedophilic to have sex with a nine year old as long as that nine year old remains married to you until they are past 18.

      The judgement is completely crazy to my eyes.

      • Posted October 26, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        I have to apologise, but the court in the above paragraph seems to be the regional court (in Austria) that convicted the person appealing, not the ECHR itself.

      • Jonathan Dore
        Posted October 26, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        A deeply ignorant ruling. Any Muslim would consider it blasphemous to be told that they regard Mohammed as “a subject of religious worship”. The salafist guards at the mosque where Mohammed is buried at Medina are on the lookout for anyone showing the slightest hint of veneration of his remains, which they punish with beatings.

        • Posted November 3, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          I see that the Hajj is far more interesting than I thought!

      • aljones909
        Posted October 27, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think it matters whether the woman’s views were well founded or not. She should be free to express her views and those with a contrary opinion can express theirs.

  22. Posted October 25, 2018 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    I expect the opening to the God Delusion would be blasphemous.
    “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
    –Richard Dawkins

  23. swordfish
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    Now you know why we voted for brexit. The EU has never been the slightest bit interested in freedom or democracy. It is an authoritarian leftist organisation which resembles the Soviet Union more closely with each directive (diktat) it passes. Have you looked at the copyright directive which will almost certainly become law early next year? Many people think it will essentially destroy YouTube and other alternative media outlets. The EU has to ban dissent as it cannot win in an open exchange of views.

    • Ernst67
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 4:30 am | Permalink

      Perhaps it is useful to clarify that the ECHR has nothing to do with the EU. It belongs to the Council of Europe, an institution with 47 member states (among which Turkey and Russia).

    • alexander
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      You probably never had your book placed on the internet in its entire form, as a pdf file by a dozen of websites (mostly from the European East) and when our publisher succeeded in getting the book deleted in one website, a new website would pop up. I once checked our book on one of these sites, and it said that there were more than 100,000 downloads. Translate this into lost (stolen?) royalties.

      • swordfish
        Posted October 26, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        Actually, I’m a software developer whose software is available for illegal download from dozens of sites. I’ve tried combatting this by employing a paid DMCA takedown service, but it made no noticeable difference. The EU copyright directive won’t have any effect on illegal downloading. It’s as badly thought out as most EU legislation – look at the cookie law, which has achieved absolutely nothing other than to add popup windows to every webpage in the world, when you can block cookies from your browser.

    • gayle ferguson
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      No, I don’t know why you voted for Brexit. That was insane.

      • swordfish
        Posted October 26, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        I voted brexit for the reason I stated. The EU is not a democratic organisation. It has gradually exerted more and more control over our lives, and this expansionism has no natural limit. It has moved inexorably in one direction only for 60 years. Look at the way dissent is treated – if you vote against expansion of EU power, you’re invited to vote again until you vote the right way. The same thing is effectively being tried in response to the brexit vote, in the form of pressure for a second referendum.

        • alexander
          Posted October 26, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          We all know that now, with every day, a new problem that will be caused by a brexit is becoming apparent in addition to the myriad of problems already identified, and that were overlooked two years ago by almost the entire population. The Brits will even have to give up eating strawberries! It is clear that a new referendum will result in a vote against a brexit. Stopping a second vote is *not* democratic.

          • aljones909
            Posted October 27, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            “The Brits will even have to give up eating strawberries! ”
            Maybe we’ll start growing them again. Though we get fruit and foodstuffs from all over the world. Had no idea the EU had a monopoly on strawberry production.

            • Alexander
              Posted October 28, 2018 at 2:48 am | Permalink

              Strawberries will still be cultivated in the UK, but who will pick them if the yearly migration to the UK of ten thousands of farmworkers from Romania and other countries during harvesting time will be blocked by Brexit?

              • aljones909
                Posted October 28, 2018 at 5:47 am | Permalink

                Possibilities are:

                1) Short term work permits.

                2) Capitalism. If labour intensive agriculture isn’t possible the land will be put to a different use.

                We don’t grow bananas in the UK but there’s not a banana shortage.

                The argument is fundamentally silly.

                (I’m not an ardent Brexiteer).

              • Alexander
                Posted October 28, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

                Possibilities are:

                1) Short term work permits.

                >>The way things are looking now, only a few thousand work permits will be issued each year after brexit.

                2) Capitalism. If labour intensive agriculture isn’t possible the land will be put to a different use.

                >>No, with no generous European subsidies, most of these farms will not be able to finance the switch and go broke.

                3) We don’t grow bananas in the UK but there’s not a banana shortage.

                >>Strawberries are not bananas, and will have to be doused with chemicals while waiting in trucks in Dover.

              • aljones909
                Posted October 28, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

                >>The way things are looking now, only a few thousand work permits will be issued each year after brexit.

                The government will have full control of how many work permits are issued.

                >>No, with no generous European subsidies, most of these farms will not be able to finance the switch and go broke.

                The subsidies will continue. The EU subsidises UK agriculture with UK money. The UK government will be able to decide how UK money is spent.

                3) We don’t grow bananas in the UK but there’s not a banana shortage.

                >>Strawberries are not bananas, and will have to be doused with chemicals while waiting in trucks in Dover.

                Strawberries are certainly not bananas. We currently import strawberries from Spain, Israel, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey…. EU intransigence won’t affect four of those vital strawberry sources.

          • Posted November 3, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

            I’d wish free trade without giving sovereignity to EU bureaucrats.

    • Posted October 26, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Thanks for voting Brexit. Brexit has revoked our freedom to live and work where we like in the EU and it will allow our government to revoke many of the protections we enjoy as a result of our membership.

      Your characterisation of the EU stems from a total misunderstanding about the way it works, not least the fact that the ECHR (and hence this story) has nothing to do with the EU.

  24. KiwiInOz
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    But you can’t defame someone if they are dead. And he is long dead. Dirt be upon him.

  25. Posted October 26, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    “Expect to hear much more “Muhammad was a Paedophile” rhetoric in the coming weeks, solely in response to this ruling.” [link]

    Very likely.

    /@

    • Posted November 3, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      I recently discussed an article in some US media outlet, about a hijab-wearing teacher. Another commenter tried to convince me in her superior intelligence. I replied that if the lady was such a genius, maybe she wouldn’t parade her adoration of a medieval head-chopping pedophile. My comment lasted about 2 minutes. Then, my other comments also started to disappear. Half an hour later, I was cut off from reading the page.

      • Diane G
        Posted November 4, 2018 at 3:48 am | Permalink

        “…a medieval head-chopping pedophile.”

        Some people just can’t handle the slightest bit of criticism!

        Love it!

  26. Stephen
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I also want my political feelings protected so none of you can say anything negative about them. Good grief…

  27. Posted October 26, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Download of the ruling, straight from the Strassburg Inquisition itself:

    https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng-press#{“itemid”:[“003-6234980-8105265”]}

  28. Posted October 26, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    The ECHR will next rule against claiming that Jesus never existed, amirite?

    • Posted November 3, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think so. We haven’t enough Christian terrorists.

  29. Kuffar from Oxford
    Posted October 27, 2018 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    The ruling (Allah be praised) does not deny that nthe nonce Mohammed is a paedophile but only that you should not broadcast this unpleasant truth. However, it’s a bit like the Streisand effect: you try to keep the truth hidden away but when it comes to court everyone becomes aware of it. This ruling is another reason why the UK must leave the EUSSR and not allow the ECHR or the ECJ to overrule English law.

    • Kevin
      Posted October 27, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      ECHR can overrule English law even IF the UK leaves the EU: the ECHR is bigger than the EU (more members). The UK has no plans to leave the ECHR.

      There may well be cases where the UK infringes civil rights and needs to be pulled up by its bootstraps. Having someone watching from the outside can be a good thing.

      This particular case is a bit of a disaster, but at least it is now an international issue, where as previously it was an internal Austrian ruling.

      The ECHR has made some seemingly good rulings (concerning English libel law for example).

  30. thestorybookofpolitics
    Posted November 7, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree. When they make it an offence to criticise this child marriage, they indirectly normalise this behaviour. We need to be free to discuss the marriage to Aisha and how wrong it was, because there are children, especially in non-Western countries that are being forced into marriage right now with the excuse: “Well Muhammad did it”.


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