Blasphemy law through the backdoor

The European Court of Human Rights has essentially upheld Islamic blasphemy laws and have taken away an Austrian woman’s right to freedom of speech. They have criminalised her fact-based suggestion that the Prophet Muhammad was a paedophile because he had a six-year-old wife. The court ruled that they had the right to restrict her free speech because of how many Muslims would react to her words. The court fined her and unbelievably called her statement “wrong and offensive, even if Muhammad had married a six-year-old and had intercourse with her when she had been nine.”

So what was the backdoor way in which the European court justified imposing an Islamic blasphemy law (the Sharia) on a woman who had thought that she lived in a democratic and free country? quote.

The European court agreed with judgement of the Austrian courts […] and ruled that they “carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the rights of others to have their religious feelings protected, and to have religious peace preserved in Austrian society.” End quote.

Let’s run the statement, ” to have religious peace preserved in Austrian society.” through the Whaleoil translator and see what comes out, shall we?

Whaleoil translator machine

Translation: Austrian Muslims will react in violent and murderous ways towards those who criticise Islam or who tell the truth about its prophet in our society so we will protect our population from their violence by suppressing the free speech of non-Muslims.

The Austrian woman tried and failed to defend herself by arguing that the courts had violated her right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. quote.

Article 10 suggests that “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression,” and that this right “shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.” end quote.

Unfortunately for the Austrian woman, a sub-section of Article 10 contains a backdoor to imposing a blasphemy law as it quote.

authorising states to impose “conditions, restrictions or penalties” which is deems necessary for the purposes of  “national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.” End quote.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not contain any such back door and critics of the European Convention have stated that it is, in reality, a Trojan Horse. It gives governments the ability to restrict the free speech of citizens not because what they say is harmful but because the violent response to their free speech by others would be harmful.

We have already discussed in New Zealand how the Heckler’s Veto was used to shut down the free speech of Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern. In the case of the European court, it is the Heckler’s veto on steroids and administered to the population not by a few loud activists but by the wide-ranging powers of a democratically elected government that should be defending, not restricting the free speech of its citizens.

 

 


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