Tuesday, September 26

The European Human Rights Court decides that defaming Prophet PBUH is not Freedom of Expression


The European Human Rights Court (EHCR) was dealing with the case where the applicant had the view that she had the right to defame and insult the Islamic Prophet PBUH as this was her granted right under the Article 10 (which deals with freedom of expression).


Her story dates back to 2009 when she held two seminars to defame and insult the last Prophet of Islam. Mrs. S., who is an Austrian national openly expressed her hate towards Islam and its last Prophet: Muhammad. The lady would charge the Prophet with activities which she couldn’t prove.

Her seminar was named “Basic Information on Islam” which tend to show a deteriorated picture of Islam and was an insult to the religion. She was thereby found guilty of hurting religious sentiments and doctrines by the Vienna Regional Criminal Court (VRCC) in 2011.

The VRCC thereby levied a fine of €480 (which is approximately equivalent to $547). As Mrs. S., still believed that she was only practicing her freedom of expression, she appealed against the verdict in the Vienna Court of Appeal.

The appeal was rejected as the VRCC’s judgment was upheld. She later went to the Supreme Court but in December 2013 the proceeding’s renewal was rejected. The lady kept to her stance and said that lower courts have not been able to serve justice.

When the case was dealt by European Human Rights Court (EHCR), the same verdict was released. The EHRC said that insulting a Prophet is something that crosses the limits of freedom of expression.

The court added that such acts tend to “stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace”. EHCR assured that the article 10 has not been violated nor has been undermined. Rather the balance among the right of freedom of ones and the right of protecting religious feeling of others is to be maintained.

Such a step shall help maintain religious peace in Austria which has a Muslim population of 600,000. Even though anti-Islam propaganda has been prevailing in Austria after the new chancellor has taken charge. The far-right Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has posed threat to close down the biggest mosque of Vienna and asked the authorities to cut down subsidies to Muslims organizations of the city.

We hope that all people of different religions learn to respect religions of others to maintain peace and harmony.

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