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The Consequences of 'Slandering' the Prophet of Islam
by Andrew E. Harrod
September 25, 2012, the same day that President Barack Obama declared in an address before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly that the "future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam" (more analysis on the speech here), a legal team in Germany released a press statement concerning the charges against their client. This case, along with other recent developments in Germany, indicates just what future implications Obama's concept of "slander" of Islam's prophet, Muhammad, can have worldwide for free expression and intellectual inquiry.
Available in German online at Politically Incorrect (PI), a German conservative website analogous in its critical treatment of Islam to Robert Spencer's Jihadwatch in the United States, the press release of the "for the moment anonymous defense team" discusses the criminal charges brought by the state prosecutor in Marburg, Germany, against the "renowned" medical historian Professor Dr. Armin Geus. Geus faces prosecution under Section 166 of the German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch) against "Defamation of religions, religious and ideological associations." The two paragraphs of this section sanction with a fine or imprisonment up to three years anyone who "defames the religion or ideology of others" or a "church or other religious or ideological association within Germany, or their institutions or customs in a manner that is capable of disturbing the public peace." Geus' prosecution followed a visit by the state security (Staatsschutz) section of the local police as, in the words of his lawyers, a "warning (or intimidation?)," but the Staatsschutz judged Geus as "unreasonable and uncooperative."
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