Archive for Monday, March 6, 2017

Austrian convicted of hate speech relating to Muslims to address Douglas County GOP; demonstration planned

March 6, 2017


Demonstrators are planning to greet an Austrian speaker who was convicted in her home country of hate speech as she visits Lawrence Tuesday at the invitation of the Douglas County Republican Party.

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff will speak on “When Migrants Arrive, Free Speech Departs” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Victory Bible Church, 1942 Massachusetts St.

Sabaditsch-Wolff became a cause celebre among Europe's right-wing "Counter Jihad movement" when she ran afoul of Austrian law while expressing her opinions on Islam and Muslims. Online accounts by Sabaditsch-Wolff and those opposed to her message — such as the liberal anti-conspiracy blog — agree her legal troubles began when a magazine reporter recorded comments she made at events hosted by the Freedom Party of Austria. At the events, she said the rape of children was dictated in Islam, stemming from its founder Muhammad’s marriage to a 9-year-old girl. She also said Muslims were conducting a secret jihad that was spreading throughout Europe through immigration and high birth rates.

Sabaditsch-Wolff was first charged under Austrian law with “incitement of hatred” for the comments. She was acquitted of that charge but was convicted and fined 450 euros in 2011 for “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion.”

In a speech posted online that Sabaditsch-Wolff made in April 2016 in Dallas, she said the Middle Eastern migrants arriving the past few years in Europe were not refugees seeking asylum from Syria and other war-torn countries but were coming from nations “where there is no war to flee.” They were “overwhelmingly young Muslim men, of fighting age” and part of a hegira, or migration to “infidel lands to advance the cause of Islam,” which she said went “hand in hand with jihad.” The effort was being aided by media manipulation portraying the migrants as refugees through “Dead Baby Porn,” she said in the speech.

Douglas County Republican Party Chairman Kathleen Ammel said Sabaditsch-Wolff was invited to speak not because the local party endorsed her positions but because the Austrian brought an interesting perspective based on personal experience on the consequences of Middle Eastern immigration. It's important to hear all views in an era when people were shutting down the opinions of others and denigrating people for having different points of view, she said. It's also important to remind people of the importance of the First Amendment rights Americans enjoy and how they could be eroded if not protected, she said.

“I understand she has quite a history, speaking against Sharia law, talking against Islam and against Muslim immigration to Europe,” she said. “I think she has a firsthand experiences. It’s important to have that out there.”

As for the viewpoints in Sabaditsch-Wolff's speeches, Ammel said she thought the media played up the sensational or controversial aspects of stories to draw viewers. She also said Sharia laws were a potential threat in the United States, but that the American Laws for American Courts legislation Gov. Sam Brownback signed in 2012 gave Kansans some protection.

“I don’t discount it as a threat,” she said. “It could be as far as it is in contradiction to our views in the United States.”

Lawrence resident Christine Smith, who manages the “progressive calendar” website,, said she was puzzled why the local leadership of a major political party would invite such a "fringe" figure to speak in Lawrence.

Referring to Sabaditsch-Wolff as a “professional hate-monger,” Smith said the speaker was particularly inappropriate for a university town like Lawrence with its large number of students from Muslim countries.

“I don’t understand it,” she said. “She’s from Europe and she’s been to the Middle East several times. You’d think she would have some information, but nothing she says is part of my reality or my knowledge of the Middle East or my experience with my Muslim neighbors. Middle Eastern foreign students are such a wonderful asset to Lawrence. Fear seems to be part of this. They want people to be afraid.”

Smith said she was inviting Lawrence residents to join in a demonstration starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Victory Bible Church. She concedes Austrian hate speech laws are different from the First Amendment guarantees Americans enjoy, but said it should be remembered that such laws were rooted in that county’s direct experience with fascism and the bigotry that fed it.

It was not the intent of the demonstration to prevent Sabaditsch-Wolff from speaking or to disrupt her speech, but to show Muslims in the community that Sabaditsch-Wolff's views do not represent those of the community.

“Bring an anti-hate sign or ‘love your neighbor’ one,” she said. “We’re not going to obstruct anyone from going in or anything. We’ll go away when she starts speaking.”

Smith said she didn’t know how many people would show up, but noted an early February show of support for those affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban. That event was organized by the University of Kansas Islamic Center and had to be moved to South Park to accommodate the crowd.

Contact Douglas County reporter Elvyn Jones
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Calvin Anders 1 year, 1 month ago

I do hope free speech actually happens in this case. I fully support the protests, but I'm tired of protests in cities and at universities that result in cancellation of events. I think hate speech is poisonous and from the little I have read about this speaker, it sounds like hateful, awful racism. But free speech laws should allow her to speak and allow for protests to respond and condemn the message. I think part of the reason Trump was elected was because political correctness drove many hateful people underground and away from discourse that might have changed their minds. As this stupid populist racism and xenophobia is being normalized by our President and others, we should be trying to refute it rather than shout it down.

Joseph Jarvis 1 year, 1 month ago

@Randolf Fellows said, "political correctness drove many hateful people underground and away from discourse that might have changed their minds."

I'm not sure I follow the logic that a climate where hate speech is more accepted will make those who say such hate speech more likely to abandon it. But I can be dense sometimes.

Scott Quenette 1 year, 1 month ago

What is hate speech? “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion” sounds pretty Orwellian to me.

Hate speech has become such a watered down term these days. This post could be considered hate speech because it doesn't fall in line with the SJW mentality.

Bob Summers 1 year, 1 month ago

It's really quite simple.

So called "hate speech" is anything the Liberal human deems it.

They have a treasure trove of emotional reasons, words, that psychologically devastate them. Or, they know devastate others. They have words that cannot be spoken, or even thoughts they know you have, anywhere near their purview.

Scott Quenette 1 year, 1 month ago

Bob, you have to give up this liberal, liberal, liberal stuff. This isn't political. This is about common sense.

Bob Summers 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks to the Liberals narcissistic behavior, (one of the symptoms of people with the genetic condition) they wanted to find out why they are such a friendly and wonderfully ideological people. They have discovered.

"Liberal" is a genetic condition.


Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 1 month ago

I think hate speak is what leads to people taking a gun and shooting people after saying "Get out of my country." I wonder if these guys heard her speak before they decided to act? Of course, haters are too stupid to know the difference between Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs. All they now is their skin is a different color.

Scott Quenette 1 year, 1 month ago

Is there any hard evidence that someone talked him into it? You wonder but do you know? Of course you don't.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 1 month ago

If I were the FBI, I would be investigating what they (2 different shooters) were reading on the web, then I would go after anyone who was promoting and pushing their hatred. But then you would say they were picking on poor innocent people.

Calvin Anders 1 year, 1 month ago

I did not articulate my point as well as as could have. And you may disagree with me, but my point is that I have the impression that institutions (Universities, Cities, etc.) would often rather avoid allowing those who's ideas might ruffle feathers any sort of forum. In response to any sort of protest, the institutions cancel events and/or place those targeted by protest on lists to avoid in the future. I support protests of speech that one objects to, but I think in many cases, it's better to let the hateful or indelicate message be heard and let those who object respond. There is a fine line to be walked in ensuring that one does not end up fostering an environment where threatening and divisive behaviors grow. I'm not advocating normalization, but critical response of hate speech rather than seeking to silence it.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 1 month ago

Did you read the articles? "“Bring an anti-hate sign or ‘love your neighbor’ one,” she said. “We’re not going to obstruct anyone from going in or anything. We’ll go away when she starts speaking.”

Bob Summers 1 year, 1 month ago

Speaking of hate. When is your next hate rally against Trump?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 1 month ago

You really don't see the difference, do you? Do I hate Trump? Not really. Do I hate the things he stands for, mostly yes. You and your friends hate anyone who is different than you. If it was the same thing, I would hate all men with strange colored hair, who deal in real estate deals. I would hate reality tv show celebrities, but I like Chef Ramsey. I don't generalize my dislike. I don't say "Those Black boys are in a gang, so all Black men are gang bangers." "Those terrorists were Muslim, so all Muslims are terrorists." Not all business men are corrupt and back stabbing, like Trump. Not all conservatives hate the poor, like you do. Not all white men are terrorists like Frazier Glenn Cross,, Dylann Roof, Adam W. Purinton, and the granddaddy of the all, Tim McVeigh.

Calvin Anders 1 year, 1 month ago

Dorothy, I did read the article. It's not the protesters I have a problem with. I'd have been just as happy with the protesters staying or making noise during the speaker's address. It's the sponsors and venue's being so quick to fold the tent at the slightest hint of controversy that I'm trying to comment on.

Chris Warman 1 year, 1 month ago

There is GOP in Douglas County? Who knew?

Rick Masters 1 year, 1 month ago

To have them both there would mean they would both have to live in Douglas County. Nice try, though.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 1 month ago

It would also mean, Rick, that they really cared about something enough to show their faces and rally for it. I think we can rule that one out. It's a lot easier to sit at home in the safety of your own home, paid for with taxes they didn't have to pay to the state, and rant endlessly about things they don't give a damn about but love to stir the pot just for fun.

Michael Kort 1 year, 1 month ago

Things could be worse .

It could always be a speaker from the nearest embassy of the Russians........or a neo nazi ?

It does kind of follow the Trump dialogue of appealing to the very lowest most fearful common denominator folks to herd them into the party of the mental cases .

More likely you will die of cancer, heart disease, the flu or an auto accident, than terrorist attacks .....unless of course.... Trump engineers one getting by to make his fearful point ! ! ! .......which he can then blame on a failure of BARACK OBAMA TO................? ? ?..........because Trump really isn't President of the USA........ because of ......."Obama Whatever ?".

Donald is a really a bystander who doesn't run anything beyond a twitter account in the middle of the night .

Bob Smith 1 year, 1 month ago

Will disappointed .... progressives ... riot .... as they .... did .... at Middlebury .... College?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 1 month ago

Will Bob get over his excitement of using 4 dots in random places?

Bob Smith 1 year, 1 month ago

Will .... Michael .... do ... the .... same?

Clara Westphal 1 year, 1 month ago

The woman speaks from personal experiences in Europe. Their situation is different from what we face here.

Caller Hunsaker 1 year, 1 month ago

I just read this article and the headline reads she was convicted of hate speech then the article says she was acquitted but was fined. That's the first thing I noticed. The term Racist is being used because she speaks out against Muslim religion and radical Islam. What race is that exactly? Can we claim the same and call those who speak against Christianity racists as well.

Caller Hunsaker 1 year, 1 month ago

Just attended the event. Another point is that Elvyn never bothered to reach out to the speaker herself for the article but did reach out to the members of the protest group. Begs the question, "Elvyn, what your agenda?" Unbiased reporting is not the example you are going for. Does LJW stand for Liberal Journal World? As I mentioned before, the headline itself boasts Fake News but like the failed Star Magazine who's readers couldn't wait to read about President Carter and his face to face meeting with the aliens from Area 51, your headlines sell the paper$.

Larry Miller 1 year, 1 month ago

I attended the event. They made a point of saying the GOP was not involved at all. The newspaper article was very misleading compared to what the facts were. I'm very disappointed.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm very disappointed then. This must mean that the message I got about the churches who sponsored this speaker are true. I would have rather it was the GOP and something secular, instead of churches who ignore the teachings of Jesus. Sad.

Joshua Cain 1 year, 1 month ago

"It’s not just sometimes folks who are mad that colleges are too liberal that have a problem,”..... “Sometimes there are folks on college campuses who are liberal,..... who sometimes aren’t listening to the other side, and that’s a problem too.”

"I’ve heard some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. I gotta tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. I think you should be able to — anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with ’em. But you shouldn’t silence them by saying, “You can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.” That’s not the way we learn either." - B.Obama

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 1 month ago

Well, she spoke, there was no riot, no one forced her to leave, but they have their freedom of speech too. They made their point; she make her point. What's your problem? That we disagree with her?

And if she was invited to attend a meeting of an interfaith group to visit and to meet what I call real Muslims, do you think she would have attended. I'm not saying she wouldn't, but maybe she should. I don't know her well enough, but I do have relatives who are anti-immigrant. They don't want to "mix" with other cultures at all, except to eat in an ethnic restaurant. I don't want to generalize and include you or her in that group, but there are people out there like that.

I have an open mind. I know enough about Islam to know I wouldn't want to be one, but I also know that most Muslims aren't like the extreme Muslims. Most Jews are not orthodox. Most Christians believe in loving their neighbors and taking care of the poor. But the ones who are just going along practicing their religions in peace don't make the news, do they? It's the Muslims who blow things up in the name of God who make the news. It's the Orthodox Jewish men who can't sit next to woman on an airplane who makes the news. It's the preachers who have mansions and private jets who make the news.

Caller Hunsaker 1 year, 1 month ago

She was invited to speak by and was sponsored by the churches and the GOP according to the flyer I am reading that lists them all. The funny part for me was when the Geneva convention was mentioned by the Austrian speaker and an "educated" protestor yelled "We are not in Geneva" thinking she was making a point. Nothing like publicly shaming yourself after spouting off about having to lock your doors here in Lawrence because you fear the White Privilege Men who live in her neighborhood.

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