This time it's judges in Austria fining one Helmut G., a 63-year-old, for yodeling whilst mowing his lawn. Yodeling was invented in the Alps and is embedded in Austrian culture, but don't dare do it when your Muslim neighbors are praying. Since they do so five times a day, there are many opportunities to offend. You see, followers of the Religion of Peace may interpret your musical expressions as ridiculing the call of the muezzin, the man (often just a tape recorder) in a minaret calling the faithful to prayer five times per diem. Helmut's fine, €800 (over $1,000), shows the judges took the putative insult to the muezzin seriously.
Said Helmut G., "I simply started to yodel a few tunes because I was in such a good mood." Herr G., ve vill not tolerate any insensitive expressions of good mood.
Here's a test case for Austrian justice. I wonder if any Austrian would be so bold as to bring it forward? Suppose Helmut is saying grace before dinner when his ears are assaulted by the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer. He feels violated during a religious ritual practiced by his ancestors from time immemorial. Would the judges fine the muezzin, or mosque, for interfering with Helmut's faith?
Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at sign]gmail.com.