The European Court of Human Rights has prosecuted an Austrian woman for daring to call the Prophet Mohammed a “pedophile”.
The 47-year-old lecturer from Vienna had pointed out that the founder of Islam would be considered a pedophile by today’s standards for marrying a 6-year-old child.
Mrs. E.S. was previously convicted by an Austrian judge for supposed hate crimes and fined €480 ($548) for a lecture in which she discussed Islamic scripture that described the 56-year-old prophet marrying a very young girl and consummating the marriage when she was just 9-years-old.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: She also reportedly said ‘… A 56-year-old and a six-year-old? … What do we call it, if it is not paedophilia?’
Mrs S. was later convicted in February 2011 by the Vienna Regional Criminal Court for disparaging religious doctrines and ordered her to pay a fine of 480 euros plus legal fees.
After having her case thrown out by both the Vienna Court of Appeal and Austria’s Supreme Court, the European Court of Human rights backed the courts’ decision to convict Mrs S. on Thursday.
The ECHR found there had been no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In a statement on Thursday the ECHR said: ‘The Court 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.’
‘It held that by considering the impugned statements as going beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate, and by classifying them as an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam which could stir up prejudice and threaten religious peace, the domestic courts put forward relevant and sufficient reasons.’
Mrs S. had complained to the European court that the domestic courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light of her right to freedom of expression.
She also claimed that ‘her criticism of Islam occurred in the framework of an objective and lively discussion which contributed to a public debate’, and had not been aimed at ‘defaming the Prophet’.