Europe’s highest human rights court ruled Thursday that slandering Islam’s prophet Muhammad is not protected speech and may be prosecuted, citing the aim of “preserving religious peace.”
Insulting Muhammad “goes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate” and “could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace,” ruled the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Fox News reports.
An unnamed Austrian woman who was previously convicted for criticizing the Islamic prophet as a pedophile for his marriage to six-year-old Aisha challenged the ruling at the ECHR for violating her freedom of speech.
At two public seminars in 2009, the Austrian woman reportedly said the Islamic prophet “liked to do it with children” and asked, “A 56-year-old and a six-year-old? … What do we call it, if it is not pedophilia?”
As noted by The Wall Street Journal, Aisha, at age six, was one of Muhammad’s wives and the marriage was consummated when she was nine, per Islamic teaching.
The court, however, upheld the decision, ruling that criticism of Muhammad is not necessarily protected speech.
The Austrian courts “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,” ruled the ECHR.
A panel of seven judges essentially argued that Muhammad’s marriage to a six-year-old was not really motivated by pedophilia, despite having sex with her at nine, because the marriage lasted until she was 18. Thus, the Austrian woman “failed to inform her audience of the historical background” by suggesting he was a pedophile, reports the Journal:
In accusing Muhammad of “primary sexual interest in children’s bodies,” the woman disregarded that the marriage had continued until the Prophet’s death, when Aisha had turned 18—effectually ruling that a child marriage need not be motivated by paedophilia, the Austrian court found.
Her comments “could only be understood as having been aimed at demonstrating that Muhammad was not worthy of worship,” the ECHR said.
The Austrian woman, said to be in her 40s, will have to shell out a $600 fine and cover the costs of the trial.
The ruling comes as tension heat up in Europe over the influx of migrants and refugees who have done little to assimilate into Western society. Anti-immigrant, anti-Islam, and anti-refugee movements have grown alongside European leaders’ decision to embrace “multiculturalism” and open borders.
As argued by “The Strange Death of Europe” author Douglas Murray, such actions by these leaders have greatly contributed to Europe’s downfall.
“For a time, immigrants were allowed — even encouraged, thanks to the European commitment to “multiculturalism” — to pursue whatever culture they wanted. But that didn’t work out well. The leaders of Britain, France and Germany admitted as much in 2011, when David Cameron, Nicholas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel dramatically announced that multiculturalism had failed,” said Murray for Prager University.
The price for this open borders mentality, which is motived by “guilt” from past sins, said Murray, is resulting in exponential increases in crime and terrorism for the European citizen.
It is also a massive detriment to refugees who did assimilate to Western culture. “Extraordinary people, like Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who left the Netherlands because she believed in the principles of the Enlightenment more than the Dutch did. Or Hamed Abdel-Samad in Germany, whose life is threatened by fellow immigrants because he defends European values,” notes the author.
“This is the stuff of suicide, the self-annihilation of a culture,” Murray said.