Strasbourg (France): The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Thursday October 25 that insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) 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 fined an Austrian woman, identified as Mrs. S. who insulted Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in her two seminars entitled “Basic Information on Islam,” held in 2008 and 2009
“Mrs. S. appealed but the Vienna Court of Appeal upheld the decision in December 2011, confirming, in essence, the lower court’s findings. A request for the renewal of the proceedings was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 11 December 2013,” it said.
“Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression), Mrs. S. complained that the domestic courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light of her right to freedom of expression.”
The ECHR classified the Austrian woman’s statements as “an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam.” She was fined €480 (aprox. $547).
Austria has about 600,000 Muslims out of its 8.8 million citizens.