The European Court of Human Rights goes full dhimmi.

October 29, 2018

Bruce Bawer

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe – which today counts every European state except Belarus and Vatican City as a member – is supposed to be a guardian of democracy and human rights. That’s its official raison d’être. It is separate from the European Union, and its court, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), whose judges are elected by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (a legislative body whose 324 members are drawn from Europe’s national parliaments), should not be confused with the EU’s European Court of Justice (ECJ). It began hearing cases and handing down verdicts in 1959.

How many Europeans are even aware of the Council of Europe’s existence – or, if they are, could explain what it does? How many know the difference between the ECHR and the ECJ? Relatively few, I suspect. But this is par for the course in Europe, where the elected governments, in the decades since World War II, have built up a network of international bodies that wield considerable power while operating in the shadows with little or no accountability to the people. Guardian of democracy, indeed.

All of this dry information is by way of prefacing news of a sensational and sobering verdict that was handed down by the ECHR last week. Although the full name of the petitioner is not mentioned – she is identified only as an Austrian woman with the initials “E.S.” – the case, as Robert Spencer has noted, is obviously that of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, who in 2011 was convicted in her native country of “disparaging religious doctrines” for having stated, in seminars entitled “Basic Information on Islam” that she held in October and November 2009, that Muhammed, the prophet of Islam, was a pedophile. Of course, any minimally knowledgeable student of that religion knows that, according to the canonical records of Muhammed’s life that are known as hadith, he wed his wife Aisha when she was a child of six and (perfect male role model that he was) waited until she was nine to consummate the marriage.

Not only is it acceptable under Islam for a true believer to acknowledge these details, which theological scholars consider incontrovertibly factual; it would be sheer heresy to deny them. Also thoroughly factual, of course, is that the word “pedophile” means someone who is sexually attracted to children and who, in some cases, acts upon that attraction. But when Sabaditsch-Wolff put two and two together and called Muhammed a pedophile, an Austrian court found her guilty of insulting a legally recognized religion and fined her 480 euros ($548). Sabaditsch-Wolff appealed the court’s judgment, but the Vienna Court of Appeals upheld it and the Austrian Supreme Court dismissed it, whereupon she took her case to the ECHR. As she told Front Page editor Jamie Glazov in 2011, the appeal would “cost a lot of money and…take a lot [of] time (6-8 years minimum).”

Well, she was right about how much time it would take. After seven years, a seven-judge panel of the ECHR has issued a ruling in her case. And what a ruling it is – nothing less than historic. The ECHR admitted that, yes, it is permissible in Europe (for now!) for one citizen to refuse to share another’s religious beliefs. But to go very far beyond that is another matter, especially in “particularly sensitive” cases and especially when one is making “value judgments” rather than stating the plain facts. Sabaditch-Wolff’s statements, the ECHR ruled, had gone “beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate” by making “an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam which could stir up prejudice and threaten religious peace” and which was “capable of arousing justified indignation.” By finding Sabaditch-Wolff guilty, maintained the ECHR, the courts in Austria had “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.” Hence, the ECHR concluded, Sabaditsch-Wolff’s comments about Islam were not protected by her freedom of expression.

Let’s unpack all that a bit. What made this case “particularly sensitive”? At one point does a statement of fact become a value judgment or indignation become justified? Why doesn’t your or my or Sabaditch-Wolff’s indignation over the tenets of Islam matter as much as the indignation of Muslims? What are the “permissible limits of an objective debate”? How can a court in the Western world speak, with a straight face, of someone in the twenty-first century mounting an “abusive attack” on someone who lived and died 1400 years ago?

As for the ECHR’s concern that stating an uncomfortable truth about Islam risks “religious peace” – well, on that score the judges certainly had a point. But is it Sabaditsch-Wolff’s fault that Austrian authorities have filled their country with people who are so touchy about insults to their religion that a statement made at some obscure seminar is viewed as being capable of sparking major social discord? As for “balanc[ing]” free speech with “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected” – when, in the post-Enlightenment West, has there ever existed such a thing as a right to have one’s “religious feelings protected”? What does that even mean? Protected from what? From facts? And of course, as some Americans still seem to recognize (even if many Europeans don’t), once you start “balanc[ing]” free speech with other considerations, you’ve already started to raze the edifice of liberty.

The bottom line here is grimly clear. The ECHR has totally capitulated to Islam. It has dealt a major blow to freedom of speech in Europe. At this point, indeed, the ECHR might as well be a sharia court. When it comes to voicing unpleasant truths about Islam, it can no longer be claimed with any legitimacy that Europeans under the jurisdiction of the ECHR – which is to say, every European except for the thousand-odd residents of the Vatican and the nine million inhabitants of Belarus – still enjoy freedom of expression. In one fell swoop, the ECHR has put an end to that. And some Americans wonder why Donald Trump is so determined to keep the United States out of the jurisdiction of international courts.


  1. Bruce Bawer is right as usual.

    Let’s have a look at what they imply: “The Strasbourg, France-based court found that her statements describing Muhammad as a pedophile “had been likely to arouse justified indignation in Muslims” and “amounted to a generalization without factual basis.” So they’re deliberately lying about official islamic facts.

    “Such comments, the court said, are not protected by the freedom of expression provisions of Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.”

    So: It is illegal to report the truth about criminals if it might upset other criminals.

    “The court asserted her statements “were not phrased in a neutral manner aimed at being an objective contribution to a public debate concerning child marriages.”” One must remain “neutral” towards, (i.e: not oppose) all crimes.

    “The European court classified the woman’s “impugned” statements as “an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam, which was capable of stirring up prejudice and putting at risk religious peace.””

    In asserting Muhammad was a Prophet of religious Peace, they Submit to islam.

    Conclusion: The European Court of Human Rights only supports criminals’ rights.

  2. ALL liberal “hate-speech laws” ARE crimes!!!

    “The whole concept of “hate speech” (laws against hurt feelings) is political correctness run amok, a leftist anti-free-speech tool that provides an unlimited excuse to shut down and punish anyone who openly disagrees with establishment dicta. Every totalitarian state has similar laws designed to protect the rulers. Such laws have no place in a free society.”

    – Patrick1984 –

    But Terminiello v. Chicago (1949), Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), National Socialist Party v. Skokie (1977), R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992), Virginia v. Black (2003), Snyder v. Phelps (2011) These SCOTUS cases show that unpopular speech is still protected speech.

    SO: What is “hate-speech” and why should it be considered a crime if it’s NOT already: a) a threat; and b) slander (fraud)?

    If it’s not either PHYSICALLY threatening speech – or emotionally threatening BECAUSE it could physically impact one’s life, like how fraudulent slander causes other people to react to one as if one were a criminal in need of hating and beating – then it’s THE TRUTH: and so it SHOULD cause one the emotional distress of ‘hurt feelings!’ So it isn’t objectively “offensive,” but is, in fact, socially beneficial in that it helps defend society from criminals, whether or not said predictably victim-blaming criminal is subjectively “offended” by their victims being notified about THEIR offenses!

    Having no facts to justify their aggressive hypocrisy, all criminals will resort to using emotive ‘arguments’ to justify their crimes by playing the victims. So they (liberals, muslims) can be relied on to try to criminalize hurt feelings and to make offending people, (i.e: the criminals, by accusing them of their crimes) illegal, too!

    ALL “Hate-Speech Laws” ARE CRIMES!

    “Progressive” criminals – who like all criminals desire an equality of outcome over a true equality of opportunity, and to get it will always try to socially engineer ever-more rights and ever-less responsibilities for them selves, by offloading their responsibilities onto their victims by stealing their victims’ rights – pretend to hold submissive masochism as the highest virtue (for their victims to hold, not them) and the ultimate crime to be causing offense and hurting other people’s (criminal’s) feelings, (i.e: by accusing them of their crimes).

    So they want to make it illegal to accuse criminals of their crimes, since that might hurt their feelings and in offending them with the often-painful truth, “make” them commit even more crimes!

    Is there anything which really ought to qualify as hate speech and be banned?

    NO – not because it’s “hateful” (because that sort of nonsense is only making subjective assessments based on emotions;) and “HATE” is really only the perfectly natural human response of perpetual anger towards ongoing crimes (like islam); without ‘hate’ we would never bother to accuse criminals of their crimes in order to stop those crimes.

    Unreasonable false displays of hatred and anger on the other hand, are what the Left is good at – but that’s already illegal, not because of the anger displayed – that’s just the outrageous holier-than-thou virtue-signalling packaging used to disguise their preposterous extortion attempts – but because it’s fraudulent slander.

    Such criminal leftists who try to make “hate” into a crime, only ever make it ‘illegal’ to hate crime itself!

    Speech which is already disallowed is incitement of immediate violence and death-threats … and even those aren’t illegal, if say they call for the police to use violence to counter ongoing mob violence and looting, or call for the death-penalty for murderers!


    Further, ALL politicians who craft “hate-speech laws” and ALL cops who arrest people for “hate-speech crimes” and ALL lawyers and judges who prosecute people for them, should themselves be fired and JAILED for putting “hurt feelings” before FACTS!

    Especially in the case of islam!

    Pretending that the global crime-gang called islam is a “race” of poor swarthy animal-people, oppressed by the mentally superior whites, in order to slander everyone who notices it’s a crime-gang as a hatefully bigoted “racist” – is to deliberately enable that crime-gang’s crimes by hiding and destroying the evidence of same, and thus to be a willing accessory to those crimes. Since islam is a murder-gang, and the penalty for committing and enabling the commission of murder is DEATH, anyone and everyone who calls an opponent of muslims, islam, and their global jihad, a “racist!” should be lawfully put to death.

    Everyone who defends islam and muslims endorses crime.
    Endorsing crime IS a crime, so those doing it are criminals.

    Right in the Qur’an is: the permission to murder Jews and Christians (Surah 9:29), to terrorize all non-Muslims (8:12), to rape young girls (65:4), to enslave people for sex (4:3), to lie about one’s true goals (3:54), and the command to make war on all the infidels (9:123) and subjugate the entire world to Allah (9:33).

    Are death-threats legal? NO.
    Is extortion legal? NO.
    Is slavery legal? NO.
    Is murder legal? NO.
    Is rape legal? NO.


    Rape, slavery, robbery, extortion and murder are never OK!

    Everything muslims pretend to see as “holy” is already a crime!

    So nobody has a legal right to practice islam anywhere on earth!


    But hadn’t you heard?! Being angry at (“hateful” towards) criminals is now the most vile sin, while pitying (“tolerating”) them all as “fellow victims,” is to be deemed the highest moral virtue, these days!

    So much so, that the only advice we hear from “our” hypocrite governments, their pet media, and the corporazi globalist banksters who own them all, seems to invariably be:

    “Anyone who doesn’t automatically pity all criminals as fellow victims should be hated!”

    Which is why hurting the feelings of criminals by accusing them of their crimes, is now a “hateful” crime itself!

  3. This ILLEGAL and wholly subjectivist “HURT FEELINGS” nonsense has got to stop !

    Offense can only be taken, never given! If someone says something mean and untrue about you, you either consider the source and scornfully laugh it off, file a lawsuit for defamation, (slander and libel are forms of fraud) or a crime report for inciting violence, if they went that far.

    But these recent fake judge-made “laws” are really only onus-reversing crimes, as in:

    “You have to prove you DIDN’T hurt my feelings, or else you owe me money! Nyah!”

    And there’s no such thing as a state of permanent, ongoing “emotional distress” that isn’t deliberately and willfully, habitually obsessed about – because our emotions are mere reflections of the three basic states of space-time (the static past, the fluid present, and the nebulous future, respectively): static fear, fluid greed, nebulous hope. Not exactly worth defending!

    Further, libertine “liberal” criminals have to resort to whining about their hurt feewings, simply because they don’t have any actual facts to justify their many crime excuses!

    So, being angry at (“hateful” towards) criminals is now the most vile sin, while pitying (“tolerating”) them all as “fellow victims,” is now to be deemed the highest moral virtue!

    So much so, that the only advice we hear from “our” hypocrite governments, their pet media, and the corporazi globalist banksters who own them all, seems to invariably be:

    “Anyone who doesn’t automatically pity all criminals as fellow victims should be hated!”

    Which is why hurting the feelings of criminals by accusing them of their crimes, is now a “hateful” crime itself!

    So any and all legislators, judges, and educators who put criminals’ hurt feelings above facts should be fired and JAILED.

    And that includes using the words “Respect!” and “Dignity!”

    Objectifying people as “victims!” is what really “disrespects their dignity!”

    Any and all “laws” criminalizing hurt feelings should be repealed and their originators fired and JAILED, too!

    Because all subjectivist “laws” are really adversarial crimes, seeking to use fraudulent slander to extort and enslave others. Fraud, slander, extortion and slavery (aka “Political Correctness”) are already crimes.

    Who complains about hurt feelings (aka defending their “dignity”) anyway?! ONLY criminals!

    They always feel hurt and left out when others try and succeed and they don’t, so they feel jealous and entitled to demand an equality of outcome and permanent rights (like, to your stuff) without any concomitant corollary responsibilities (like to earn or otherwise have to pay for it) over an equality of opportunity! i.e: to extort a right to remain irresponsibly wrong – to be able to angrily, “hatefully” attack others first while demanding a false right to be pitied for their chosen stance!

    Which is why they invented the whole nonsensical and emotive concept of “HATE CRIMES!” – because, in making “hate” into a crime, they extortively try to make it “illegal” for their potential victims to hate their crimes!

    Any law-abiding person who gets robbed or extorted doesn’t feel “sad” or “uncomfortable” about it, they feel righteously ANGRY! So noticing a constant demand for pity is one really good way for us to tell an extortive victimology-spewing criminal from a real victim of same!

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