Application Number 15948/03
European Court of Human Rights[Judgment delivered in French]
The three applicants were involved in the publication of a book entitled “The Colonization of Europe” with the subtitle “True Speech on Immigration and Islam.” The director and publisher of a publishing company and the author were fined for provoking hatred and violence. The ECtHR found no violation of Article 10 on the grounds that several passages from the book presented a negative image of the communities targeted, presenting immigration as catastrophic.
Theme(s): Religious Hatred
Date: 10 October 2008
Description of applicant(s): First applicant – director and publisher of the third applicant, second applicant is a PhD in political science, journalist and writer and the third applicant is the European Broadcasting and Publishing Company
Brief description of facts: The three applicants were involved in the publication of a book entitled “The Colonization of Europe” with the subtitle “True Speech on Immigration and Islam.” In this book, distributed in bookshops, the author intends “to underline particularly what he believes to be the incompatibility of European civilization with Islamic civilization in a given geographical area” Statements in the book included:
“it is only if an ethnic civil war breaks out that the solution can be found”
” the foreseeable amplification of delinquency and the territorial guerrillas carried out by the ethnic bands.”
Young Muslims were engaged in “ritual rape” on young white girls
Following the book’s publication, the public prosecutor charged the three applicants for provoking discrimination, hatred or violence against a person or a group of people on the grounds of their origin or their membership or non-membership of a race, a nation, an ethnic group or a religion. The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA) and the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP) joined the proceedings.
The Paris Court of Appeal declared the applicants guilty of provoking hatred and violence against a specific group of people. The Court fined them EUR 7,500 each. It also awarded EUR 1 to LICRA and EUR 0.15 to MRAP in damages. All subsequent appeals were dismissed.
(Alleged) target(s) of speech: Muslims
The Court’s assessment of the impugned speech: The Court took note of the fact that the book addressed the issue of integration of immigrants, which is a subject of debate in European societies. The book was easy to read and addressed a wide audience, setting out what the author considers to be the harmful impact of immigration of non-Europeans and particularly Muslims. This is done in a negative way, in which the impact of immigration on society is described as dangerous. It notes that combatting racial discrimination is of utmost importance. In light of these points, the Court finds no violation of Article 10.
Important paragraph(s) from the judgment:
Para. 40: The author sets out what he considers to be the harmful effects of immigration to Europe of people of non-European origin in general and Muslims in particular. He tries, in particular, to demonstrate that Islam undertakes a hostile conquest of France and Europe, and that the delinquency of “young people” is only the manifestation of the beginning of an ethnic civil war aiming at the conquest of territories. According to him, the continent is sinking into chaos which risks destroying its civilization. He sees this as a more serious event than all the great plagues and wars that Europe has known, and denounces what he considers to be the unconsciousness of Europeans and the utopia of a multi-ethnic, communitarian society.
Para.41: The Court noted that several passages from the book presented a negative image of the communities targeted. The style is sometimes controversial, and the presentation of the effects of immigration is catastrophic.
ECHR Article: Article 10
Decision: No violation
Use of ‘hate speech’ by the Court in its assessment? No
Note! The translation from French to English is our own.