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Prosecution on cards for Islam comments

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Prosecution on cards for Islam comments
Bregenz. Photo: Friedrich Böhringer/Wikimedia
20:56 CEST+02:00
An Austrian middle school teacher may be facing criminal prosecution for comments which insult Islam as a religion.

The female teacher from the Austrian town of Bregenz in Vorarlberg is alleged to have described Mohammed, the prophet and founder of the religion of Islam, as a child molestor, according to a report in Vorarlberg Online.

Provincial education councillor Dr Bernadette Mennel said "yes, there is an allegation against the teacher."

It was said that the comments came in a classroom, and were witnessed by the woman's students.  The school forwarded the complaint officially to the local prosecutors for investigation.

According to Mennel, further information would not be made available until the investigation was completed.  "Such statements are unacceptable", she told local media.

The woman's comments are frequently used by Islamophobes and right-wing activists, and are based on a tradition from some Hadiths that Mohammad consummated his marriage with his youngest wife, Aisha, when she was nine years old.

Many contemporary Muslim scholars refute this, and claim that she was closer to 15 years old.  In any case, marriage of underage woman was common during the Middle Ages.

This is not the first time the accusations have been surfaced in Austria, as in 2009 a member of the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ), Susanne Winter, was convicted of religious incitement for making similar comments. Winter was officially expelled from the FPÖ in November for making anti-Semitic comments.

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