More about the Austrian “pedophile prophet” case

Yesterday I reported that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that an Austrian woman, by teaching that the prophet Muhammad had married a six-year-old wife (Aisha), and then consummated the marriage three years later, had engaged in defamation of religion in a way that hurt religious sentiments. The ECHR was upholding two Austrian lower-court rulings, and fined the woman €480 and court costs. I gave these quotes from the Turkish Andelou Agency, one of the few sites to report the decision.

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.”

I’ve looked for other media sites reporting this decision, and, predictably, it’s been ignored by Left-wing sites and major media, but reported by sites like the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, the latter reporting this:

In one of her seminars, Mrs S is reported to have said: “A 56-year-old and a six-year-old? What do we call it, if it is not paedophilia?”

She also said Mohammed “liked to do it with children”.

She was convicted for insulting the religion in February 2011 by the Vienna Regional Criminal Court and yesterday the ECHR upheld their decision.

You can find the judgement in English here and the summary here.  The crime from the summary:

Facts – The applicant held seminars with the title “Basic information on Islam” at the right-wing Freedom Party Education Institute. At one such seminar, referring to a marriage which Muhammad had concluded with Aisha, a six-year old, and consummated when she had been nine, she stated inter alia “[Muhammad] liked to do it with children”, “the thing with Aisha and child sex” and “a 56-year-old and a six-year-old? What do you call that? Give me an example? What do we call it, if it is not paedophilia?”

And the rationale for punishment from the judgment (my emphasis):

14.  The Regional Court found that the above statements essentially conveyed the message that Muhammad had had paedophilic tendencies. It stated that the applicant was referring to a marriage which Muhammad had concluded with Aisha, a six-year old, and consummated when she had been nine. The court found that by making the statements the applicant had suggested that Muhammad was not a worthy subject of worship. However, it also found that it could not be established that the applicant had intended to decry all Muslims. She was not suggesting that all Muslims were paedophiles, but was criticising the unreflecting imitation of a role model. According to the court, the common definition of paedophilia was a primary sexual interest in children who had not yet reached puberty. Because paedophilia was behaviour which was ostracised by society and outlawed, it was evident that the applicant’s statements were capable of causing indignation. 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. In addition, the court found that because of the public nature of the seminars, which had not been limited to members of the Freedom Party, it was conceivable that at least some of the participants might have been disturbed by the statements.

So this was not, said the court, a general slur on Muslims (“Islamophobia”), but a criticism of Muhammad’s behavior. The “crime” appears to have been in wrongly accusing the Prophet of being a pedophile, which is someone who has a sexual interest in children. This seems manifestly true in this case, but the court got around that by saying that Muhammad, even though engaged in a child marriage that could justifiably be criticized, did not have “a primary sexual interest in children’s bodies” because the marriage continued after Aisha was 18!

This is a distinction without a difference. You may disagree with the idea that Muhammad was a pedophile because he raped a nine-year old, but it’s certainly worth consideration, especially because that tradition of child marriages, justified by Muhammad’s own, has continued in many strains of Islam. To fine someone for “offending” those who disagree with this as pedophilia is simply ridiculous. I wonder what charges would be brought against an Austrian citizen who married a six-year-old girl and then had sex with her three years later? Could pedophilia, or sex with underage girls, be one of them?

Considering that this was enforcement of a blasphemy law by a Western nation, and an abrogation of freedom of speech, I would have expected more widespread reporting. This is the Austrian blasphemy law that was violated:

Herabwürdigung religiöser Lehren

§ 188. Wer öffentlich eine Person oder eine Sache, die den Gegenstand der Verehrung einer im Inland bestehenden Kirche oder Religionsgesellschaft bildet, oder eine Glaubenslehre, einen gesetzlich zulässigen Brauch oder eine gesetzlich zulässige Einrichtung einer solchen Kirche oder Religionsgesellschaft unter Umständen herabwürdigt oder verspottet, unter denen sein Verhalten geeignet ist, berechtigtes Ärgernis zu erregen, ist mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu sechs Monaten oder mit Geldstrafe bis zu 360 Tagessätzen zu bestrafen.

My translation with Google’s help:

Vilification of religious teachings

§ 188.  Whoever publicly disparages or ridicules a person or thing that is the object of worship of a domestic church or religious society, or a doctrine, a lawful practice, or a lawful institution of such a church or religious society, and which behavior is likely to cause legitimate offense shall be punished with imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to 360 “day units” [units of fine based on the personal income of the offender]

This clearly applies not just to Islam, but to Christianity, and one site gives some prosecutions in Austria:

This de facto ‘blasphemy’ law has been used in practice to prosecute and fine individuals.

On Dec. 11, 2009, Catholic clerics in Vienna sued the cartoonist Manfred Deix for two drawings on the website NEWS.at which depict God and the EU prohibition against crucifixes in schools, respectively.

On Jan. 22, 2009, the Austrian politician Susanne Winter was sentenced at a court in Graz to pay a $24,000 fine for “humiliating a religion” by saying, among other things, that Mohammed was a paedophile.

On Dec. 11, 2010, 63-year-old Helmut G. was convicted for offending his Muslim neighbor by yodeling while lawn mowing. The neighbor claimed Helmet was trying to mock and imitate the Muezzin, the Muslim call to prayer.

On Jan. 15, 2011, Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolf was convicted of offending religion because she exclaimed, about the Prophet Mohammed’s nine-year-old wife, “If that is not paedophilia, what is it?” [This appears to be the case at hand.]

Blasphemy laws are a violation of free speech, even if they hurt someone’s feelings, and the enforcement of such laws by a European court should be reported by media like the New York Times. I wonder why it wasn’t? And Austria, among the other European countries with these laws, should ditch this. Why should religion be uniquely protected against hurting the feelings of its adherents? Why not politics, or sports?

Jesus and Mo revived a special cartoon today to honor the occasion:

73 Comments

  1. Posted October 26, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    How is it that a religion has standing in a court? How can it claim that harm has occurred? These can only occur if a state gives such standing to a religion. How can a religion be offended? How can “giving offense” be a crime?

    I wonder what these courts are going to do when someone “offends Muslim sensibilities” and it turns out that that person’s religion claims Islam is false and should be defamed?

    There are six US states which still have blasphemy laws upon their books (you never know when you might need them).

  2. phoffman56
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Note that in the court’s justification, not a single mention occurs of the so-called ‘de-flowering’ of a 9-year old, that is, no mention of the child rape. That is what had been used, by the person so unjustly convicted here, to explain the assertion that Mo was a pedophile, not merely his child marriage. The courts here are clearly trying very hard to mislead anyone reading the justification of their verdict.

    Quite apart from the stupidity of that law to begin with.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      The principle that the truth is a justification in defamation is an American one. (That’s one of the reasons people like to sue of libel and slander in British courts rather than American ones.)

      • Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Truth is also an absolute defence in UK courts.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 26, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          I think that is since the Defamation Act was passed in 2013. Up to then, it wasn’t.

          cr

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 26, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            Oh, and one of the reasons the 2013 Defamation Act was passed was indeed the deplorable prevalence of ‘venue shopping’ (is that the right term?) – suing for libel in British courts.

            cr

  3. Eric Grobler
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I just returned from voting in the Irish referendum to REPEAL the blasphemy law here.

    It might have been a waste of time 😦

    • a-non
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      How is this repeal worded?

      Is there any chance it creates a precedent, or a contradiction with laws like whatever it is that the ECHR thinks it’s enforcing here?

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        I cannot remeber exactly – but something like:
        “do you approve to ammend the consitution by removing the blasphemy law ”

        “Is there any chance it creates a precedent, or a contradiction with laws like whatever it is that the ECHR thinks it’s enforcing here?”

        I have the same concern, but have not seen any legal opinion about it.
        But I can imagine that an offended Christian/Muslim in Ireland might now appeal to the ECHR.

        • a-non
          Posted October 27, 2018 at 3:40 am | Permalink

          Thanks!

          I was more wondering whether, had this Austrian woman been Irish & a few years later, she might have explicitly cited this in her defence. (If they do make this change, I don’t know the polling.)

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted October 27, 2018 at 5:36 am | Permalink

            Latest exit poll suggests it will be successful.

    • Posted November 3, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      I think fighting the good battle is never a waste of time!

  4. rickflick
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Where are the freedom fighters, the Austrian version of the ACLU, in all this? What are local free speech advocates saying and doing? This can’t be allowed to stand!

  5. Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    We are voting on the blasphemy law today in Ireland. I wonder how people realize that it can be weaponized like this?

  6. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Wikipedia claims that the age of Aisha is uncertain, but it is still the case that in some traditional accounts she is this young.

    From Wikipedia (footnotes left in):

    “According to traditional sources Aisha was six or seven years old when betrothed to Muhammad,[158][235][236] with the marriage not being consummated until she had reached puberty at the age of nine or ten years old.[158][235][237][238][239][240][241][242][243] She was therefore a virgin at marriage.[235]

    Modern Muslim authors who calculate Aisha’s age based on other sources of information, such as a hadith about the age difference between Aisha and her sister Asma, estimate that she was over thirteen and perhaps in her late teens at the time of her marriage.[244][245][246][247][248]”

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      I remember reading that the modern trend to make Aisha older at marriage [& consummation of marriage] is a reaction to paedophile accusations rather than genuine Islamic ‘scholarship’. Unfortunately I can’t recall when/where I read that. Can’t Google on this device.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Those last two panels of J&M remind me of Woody Harrelson’s line from Play It to the Bone.

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Yes. Mo was not a bridge builder. He was just going about the business of doing what the voices in his head told him to do.

  8. ploubere
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    The NY Times did report it, albeit briefly:

  9. Graham
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    “the marriage had continued until the Prophet’s death, when Aisha had already turned eighteen and had therefore passed the age of puberty.”

    So if you rape a nine year old it doesn’t count as pedophilia provided you keep doing it for the next nine years until she’s an adult? Really?

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      By this ECHR logic a father that rapes his daughter aged 9 to 12 is more guilty than the father that does the abuse from 9 to 18.

      Maybe some abusers can now even appeal their sentences!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        FWIW, most US jurisdictions make it a more serious offense to engage in sexual activity with a child under 12 than with a child 12 to 17.

        • Posted November 3, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Our law was similar (I don’t know whether they have fixed it). The “logic” was that rape includes violating the victim’s will, and a young child has no will to be violated, so the offence qualified just for another, not so serious charge.

  10. Diki
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    § 188. Whoever publicly disparages or ridicules a person or thing that is the object of worship of a domestic church or religious society, or a doctrine, a lawful practice, or a lawful institution of such a church or religious society, and which behavior is likely to cause legitimate offense shall be punished with imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to 360 “day units”

    Does this mean that Scientology is protected too? (Not that one so-called religion is any more deserving than another of protection but you can see where it leads to if you want to critisise any aspect of religion.)

    • Posted October 29, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      If it is regarded as a religion. I seem to recall that in Germany, for example, that it is not.

  11. Giancarlo
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I am trying to understand how the court arrived at this decision and this is what I think. For any statement, one must examine its truth and its value, the latter being contextual.
    Mo had sex with a nine year old: this is true according to the Hadith, and today he would be found guilty of statutory rape of a minor.
    Mo is a pedophile: pedophilia is defined as a paraphilia involving intense and recurrent sexual urges towards prepubescent children, and I don’t think the Hadith corroborates this view.
    The context: I haven’t been to Austria in almost 50 years and the last time I was in Europe was 11 years ago, but I understand it is getting crowded and simmering with ethnic and religious tensions.
    It seems the court decided that the freedom to make a technically unsubstantiated claim that Mo was a pedophile was outweighed by the danger that such speech might lead to an outbreak of violence in their society.
    Would I want this kind of ruling here in the US? Hell no, but neither am I going to try too hard to second guess what an Austrian court should do in Europe. They have quite a history of kerfuffles over there.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      “They have quite a history of kerfuffles over there.” That’s one way of putting it. Lol.

    • Posted November 3, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      We have also a history of Muslims invading and subjugating native Europeans.

  12. Charles Minus
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Every religion is blasphemy to other religions. Have you read what the Koran says about Jews? Have you heard a Southern Baptist preacher rail against the Catholic church? Many religions consider atheism to be blasphemy. The whole idea of blasphemy as a legal category is absurd.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      For a moment I thought you are Charles Mingus – pork pie hat!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I always do that, too. Every time I see a comment from Charles, I flash on the opening bassline from Ah Um. 🙂

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted October 26, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          Yes Ah Um, Black Saint and the Sinner Lady and Pithecanthropus Erectus are my favorites.

  13. Steve Gerrard
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I think the ECHR was pretty constrained on this ruling. They either had to rule that all blasphemy laws in the EU countries
    need to be repealed, or they had to concede that Austria had correctly enforced an Austrian law that was acceptable to the Austrian supreme court.

    It was not in the cards to reject blasphemy laws for the entire EU at this time. Even if it was in the cards, a case that included the unnecessary and gratuitous phrase “he liked to do it with children” was not the right case to do it. The plural children is not substantiated, nor is the assessment that he liked it. All that is known is that he did it at least once.

    The ruling is not that surprising to me, given the politics of blasphemy laws in Europe. It will take a better case than this one to get the ECHR to rule against such laws.

    • BJ
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      I disagree that the Court was in such a bind. The Court’s ruling agrees that the Austrian courts made the correct ruling in considering the complainant’s words blasphemy under Austria’s law. If it wished to reject the rulings of Austria’s courts, it merely had to disagree that the law was properly applied in this case.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      I think all blasphemy laws should be repealed, And if “Mrs. S” were being prosecuted for this same conduct in the US, I’d happily represent her on principle.

      But we shouldn’t make a heroine out of her, either. Her intent here wasn’t to educate; it was to propagandize and inflame potential young voters on behalf of Austria’s far-right nationalist Freedom Party.

    • HRG
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      Just a point: the decision which was appealed to the ECHR was rendered by an intermediate court of appeals (Oberlandesgericht), not the supreme court. It is not binding on any other Austrian court.

  14. Curtis
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    It’s sound more like definition of character rather than defamation of character.

  15. Posted October 26, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Is it a fact that at least some Islamic traditions hold that Aisha was that young? How is stating a fact about a religion blasphemy? There’s more than one usage of pedophilia. There’s the medical/psychological one (indicating a mental state) but there’s also the common one (indicating the simple act). In the common usage it’s a fact that many followers of Islam believe Muhammad committed pedophilia. Why would it be blasphemy for her to say it but not when they say it?

    • Giancarlo
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      The court didn’t buy it. From the ruling:
      “(The applicant)…further contended that she had not used the term “paedophile” in the strict scientific sense, but in the way it was used in everyday language, referring to men who had sex with minors…(the regional court) had not based its findings on an unpredictable definition of the term “paedophilia” but on a common definition which was comparable to that used by the World Health Organisation.”

  16. BJ
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    “The ‘crime’ appears to have been in wrongly accusing the Prophet of being a pedophile, which is someone who has a sexual interest in children.”

    I disagree that this was the basis of the Court’s decision. This wasn’t a case deciding on what I can only think to call “defamation.” The Court just talked about how Muhammad totally wasn’t a pedophile to further justify its absurd ruling. Its real basis for the ruling was “The court found that by making the statements the applicant had suggested that Muhammad was not a worthy subject of worship…it was conceivable that at least some of the participants might have been disturbed by the statements.”

    Further, as you noted in your post on the subject yesterday, the Court wrote, “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.”

    And: “…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.”

    And, as I did yesterday, I again note that the Court calls Muhammad “the Prophet of Islam,” rather than, for example, “a figure considered a Prophet in the religion of Islam.” The court also capitalizes the word “Prophet” every time it refers to Muhammad, as if Muhammad actually was a prophet.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected”

      Just this phrase alone is shocking.

  17. Posted October 26, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Roy Moore, call your office.

  18. Posted October 26, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    So, if you’re a paedophile in Europe, the way to reduce your punishment is to rape your victims again after they turn 18.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Here in the good old US of A, it’s long been a tactic to marry ’em. Age-of-consent laws don’t apply to married couples, and the marital testimonial privilege prohibits one spouse from being compelled to testify against another.

      • Posted October 26, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Less efficient, and limited to one. The europaedo has it easier.

  19. Richard Sanderson
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    But New Racists such as Peter “Humanisticus” Ferguson keep insisting us “free speech grifters” are worrying to much about attacks on freedom of speech and freedom of expression….

    It’s “just a few extreme students deplatforming the odd person, here and there”, apparently…..

  20. Posted October 26, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    You, well me, wonders whether the Austrians are super primed to this stuff, hence super sensitive to rarking people up, given the events from/around the middle of last century. Regressive lefty-ism like thinking is easy to tap into. Hard questions are uncomfortable.
    To that, if it has any bearing, give it up NOW, a spade is a spade, MOST with a brain that thinks have moved on.
    And with that, a spade is useful, blaspheme law for a fairytale is not, except it seems, for persecuting people wanting clarity and truth.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      I very much doubt Mrs S wanted ‘clarity and truth’ and in fact I suspect that, had the prosecution been against an Imam for calling the Pope an agent of the Devil, Mrs S would have been on the other side of the fence.

      cr

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 26, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        I hasten to add, I agree blasphemy laws are crap. I just don’t think this case is a good one to take a stand on, given the dodgy provenance of the appellant.

        cr

  21. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Blasphemy laws are a violation of free speech,

    That they are, and it is peculiar that they stand.

    Of course, seeing how often hate speech laws are discussed here, it bears to point out that those are preferable – they do not violate free speech laws (rather than adjudicate the differing human rights interests).

  22. Eric Grobler
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Is the Guardian ignoring this shocking ruling?
    I am unable to find any report on their website.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 26, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      The story has been reported by DMGT-owned newspapers [Metro & Daily Mail] & Reach PLC [Daily Express]

      Daily Mail & Daily Express are the top end of the ‘red top’ newspapers read by ‘little Englanders’ who think they think. They jump on any story where Muslims are in a bad light or where authorities appear to pander to minority interests. If you are a Brit who is stuck in the 1950s who wants hanging & birching back you’ll like these newspapers [the Metro is more of a light read for the bus/train where it’s given away free & it can be a fun read while dreading arriving at your shit job in telemarketing]

      Low end ‘red tops’ such as the Daily Star & The Sun don’t bother with Europe unless it involves tits & arse, immigration or the corrupt European political gravy train

      Absolutely no other Brit nationally distributed newspaper of any political persuasion has covered this story yet: Morning Star [the only true socialist newspaper – unfortunately no circulation to speak of], Daily Mirror, The Observer, Financial Times, The Times, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian are all MIA up to now.

      It mightbe that all the exciting Brexit & Royal Family stuff has pushed reporting to Friday. Check back & see tomorrow.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 26, 2018 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the run down. I may, God allowing, visit that scepter’d isle again someday. This will help narrow my reading effort. Probably something involving tits & arse.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 26, 2018 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

          If you do then let me know – you’ll be looked after [in a good way I hastily add]. HERE is the current Daily Star front page & you’ll see the T&A halfway down – a dreadful rag of z-list celebs bulging here & there.
          The Grauniad is unreadable ‘cept for a weekend column by Stewart Lee [comedian’s comedian comedian]
          The Independent would be the best paper if it were not so bloody dull – lacking wit entirely in its search for truth.
          The Observer is a fucked up meld of the above two
          The Times [Murdoch!] Is a strange one – extremely diverse columnists including liars & loons, but some good voices too
          The Telegraph is my ‘go to’ derided by our host as The Torygraph it takes our institutions seriously [Church, Queen, Parliament, Military], but objectively & with a touch of love – thus we discover HRH’s last corgi has just died. The obit’s are great – the only newspaper that covers the deaths of our soldiers/sailors/air. Sports, arts, theatre, books coverage is very good indeed. Some loony columnists. Dry wit that whooshes many.
          Financial Times condensed dispassionate news & useful business section. Money talks & tells the truth once the false rumours are pricked.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted October 27, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

        I believe a newspaper should report all newsworthy stories objectively, and then have an associated opinion/editorial piece.

        For most people “fake news” means made up facts or false reporting.
        Omitting events can also be part of fake news.

        Today most newspapers from the Guardian to Breitbart do selective reporting in order to manipulate their readers.

        On the same day you can have papers selecting/omitting events;
        *Breitbart*: Migrant boy rapes german girl in Germany.
        *Guardian*: Far right mob attacks migrant centre in Dresden.

        (and then people are subjected to balkanised news feeds in social media as well)
        This is why a nuanced debate on topics like immigration and gender issues has become impossible in the current climate.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 27, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          Say “thank you” for my research Eric
          You asked a question & I did my best to answer it. No first reports today from the ones who were MIA yesterday BTW 🙂

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted October 27, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

            Not sure I follow you exactly (I can be tone deaf) – but thanks!

  23. Diannaart
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Mohammed not alone in the ancient practice of ‘marrying’ prepubescent girls. A lot of pedophilia was sanctioned by many religions. And continues to this day.

    The argument that Mohammed was defamed by suggesting he was a pedofile is as nonsensical as religion itself. Time for humans to leave their infantile desires behind and grow the f*ck up. Am aware I am asking a lot.

  24. Vaal
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    it was conceivable that at least some of the participants might have been disturbed by the statements.

    Wait…what?

    If that is a problem…how about that Muslims worship from a book that tells me my fate is to burn in an eternal fire where, among other claims, unbelievers like me will suffer in fires where “scorched skins are constantly exchanged for new ones so that they can taste the torment anew,”

    Again…it is Muslim doctrine not just that I will suffer like this, but that such a fate is what I DESERVE.

    What happens when we non-believers are “disturbed” – as we should be – by such doctrines…believed by over a billion people?

    Oh that’s right…nothing. It’s “religion.” Special rules.

  25. Diane G
    Posted October 27, 2018 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    sub

  26. Posted October 27, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    So in Austria, the land that gave us Hitler, it isn’t pedophilia so long as you’re still fucking that nine year old by the time she turns 18?

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted October 27, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Do not forget Josef Fritzl!

    • Posted October 29, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I read the joke somewhere that two of the greatest accomplishments of Austria were convincing the world that Hitler was German and Beethoven was Austrian.

      • phoffman56
        Posted October 29, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes, in a ‘Viennese pantheon’ of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler and Schoenberg(?), I think only two were Austrian, and only one Viennese.
        Fortunately for humanity, I doubt there’s an ‘equivalent’ six, five plus Hitler.

        • phoffman56
          Posted October 29, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          Checked Schoenberg; mea culpa: he was Austrian, indeed born in Vienna.

      • Diane G
        Posted October 30, 2018 at 1:54 am | Permalink

        That’s a good one! 😀

        • HRG
          Posted October 30, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

          OTOH, Beethoven would probably not have become the musical genius had he stayed in Bonn, and Hitler would probably not come to political power in Austria. 🙂

          • Posted November 3, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

            If German authorities had kept him to serve his sentence and then had deported him to his native Austria, much would have been spared.

  27. jayh
    Posted October 27, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I am concerned about a bigger effect.

    The EU has been pushing towards control of information on the global internet. Some of it seems benign (like the GDPR privacy rules) but the legal theory they work under is very dangerous.

    For example, when the EU created a ‘right to be forgotten’ out of thin air, they have been demanding that Google and others remove references GLOBALLY on the theory that EU citizens can find this information eaily outsid their country. Like the GDPR, they back their threat up with huge fines against any company doing business in Europ (which is most of the internet providers). Even though GPDR applies to EU citizens, it’s pretty much become a world law out of fear.

    How easily this can be applied to blasphemy rules as well.

    Soon we all could be muzzled by their autharitarianism

  28. Jonathan Dore
    Posted October 28, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Here’s an excellent analysis picking apart the legal problems in the decision, by a barrister: http://barristerblogger.com/2018/10/27/the-ecthr-has-not-created-a-european-blasphemy-law-but-it-has-produced-a-lamentable-judgment/


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