Blasphemy Case: Islamic Authorities congratulate the European Court of Human Rights

Mar 11, 2019 by

by Grégor Puppinck, European Centre for Law & Justice:

Al-Azhar University and Pakistan welcome the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights regarding blasphemy against Muhammad; it allows them to justify their own repression of freedom of expression in religious matters.

If one needed any more arguments to convince the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) of the necessity to retry the Austrian case of blasphemy against Muhammad, the highest Islamic authorities may have just provided it. They enthusiastically welcomed the E. S. v. Austria decision of last October 25 in which the Strasbourg Court validated the conviction of an Austrian lecturer for “ defaming” Muhammad by comparing his union with 9-year-old Aisha to “ paedophilia”. This lecturer, speaking in front of thirty people, wanted to denounce the practice of marriage of prepubescent girls in the Muslim culture, following the example of Muhammad. According to the European Court, these statements sought less to inform objectively than to demonstrate, in a “ malicious” way that Muhammad is not a “ worthy subject of worship” and thus constituted a “ malicious violation of the spirit of tolerance, which was one of the bases of a democratic society”. The Court considered them to be “ in a manner capable of arousing justified indignation” of the Muslims and “ likely to disturb the religious peace”, and concluded that it was therefore legitimate to condemn their author.

On March 19, the Court must decide whether it agrees to refer the case for an “appeal” in the Grand Chamber for a new judgment. Rare enough, this request for referral is supported by 59,000 signatories of a petition to defend the right to criticize Islam in Europe.

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