Austrian authorities investigate Islam-bashing by rightist lawmaker

Susanne WinterVIENNA –  Remarks by a right-wing politician denouncing Islam and accusing the Prophet Mohammed of having been a paedophile provoked widespread outrage in Austria on Monday, with authorities investigating whether they constituted hate speech.

Susanne Winter, a candidate for the Freedom Party in local elections in Graz in south-eastern Austria, said on Sunday that Mohammed’s marriage to a 6-year-old girl would make the prophet a “paedophile in today’s system”. Speaking at a rally, Winter demanded that Islam should be “thrown back where it came from, beyond the Mediterranean Sea”.

Winter later justified her attacks. “There is widespread child abuse by Muslim men,” she was quoted as saying by the newspaper Oesterreich. “Why can’t I say this? That has nothing to do with hate speech.”

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 14 January 2008

See also Al Arabiya  and Spiegel Online