EU Court Rules Insulting Prophet Mohammed Is “Not Freedom Of Expression”
Defaming the Prophet Muhammad exceeds the permissible limits of freedom of expression, ruled the European Court of Human Rights, upholding an Austrian court’s decision.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that an Austrian woman’s criminal conviction and fine for her statements accusing the Prophet Muhammad of pedophilia did not breach her right to free speech.
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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Thursday that insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammed is not covered by freedom of expression.
Defaming the Prophet “goes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate” and “could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace,” the ruling stated.
The decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified as Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009 in which she insulted the prophet.
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The court said that the woman’s comments could not be covered by the freedom of expression, stating that it had found that “the applicant’s statements had been likely to arouse justified indignation in Muslims” and “amounted to a generalization without factual basis.”
An Austrian court convicted her of disparaging religious doctrines in 2011 and fined her 480 euros (548 dollars), a judgment that was upheld on two appeals.