Besides blasphemy, Halla-aho was "ordered to stand trial for publishing on his blog that Islam's prophet was a pedophile." Here again we encounter the Orwellian, or perhaps more precisely Alice-In-Wonderland, Through-the-Looking-Glass quality of today's public discourse. The collection of traditions of Muhammad that Muslims consider most reliable, Sahih Bukhari, affirms in no less than five places that Aisha was six when Muhammad took her and nine when he consummated the marriage (vol. 5, bk. 58, no. 234; vol. 5 bk. 58 no. 236; vol. 7 bk. 62 no. 64; vol. 7 bk. 62 no. 65; and vol. 7 bk. 62 no. 88). It is also in Sunan Abu Dawud (bk. 41 no. 4915), another of the Sahih Sittah, the six hadith collections Muslims accept as most reliable.
The concept of pedophilia did not exist in Muhammad's day. His marriage to Aisha was not unusual in the context of the time; but it becomes extremely problematic, and conducive to pedophilia, when Muhammad is held up as the "excellent example of conduct" (Qur'an 33:21) for all time, and followed in this in our own day. And child marriage is indeed common in some areas of the Islamic world -- notably Afghanistan, but it is by no means limited to Afghanistan only.
In any case, in light of all that, Halla-aho was saying something perfectly reasonable. I hope he will be able to bring some of this evidence in his own defense.
Free Speech Death Watch Update: "Free Speech Slammed in Finland as Politician is Brought up on Blasphemy Charges.......," from Tundra Tabloids, March 27:
Jussi Halla-aho to stand trial for blasphemy against Allah
Believe it or not, Finland still has blasphemy laws on the books, but there have been repeated attempts to rescind Section 10 of chapter 17 of the Finnish penal code. All attempts however, at removing the anti-modern statute from the law books have proved unsuccessful, with the latest attempt failing in 1998.
Helsinki city councilman, Jussi Halla-aho was charged with blasphemy and incitement of an ethnic-group in the Helsinki district court today, and ordered to stand trial for publishing on his blog that Islam's prophet was a pedophile. According to the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Jorme Kalske:"Halla-aho had uploaded to the Internet and submitted writings to the general public, in which Islam and its sacred institutions were combined with pedophilia, and in which was also presented the robbery of pedestrians and the ooting of tax revenue was a certain national group or a specific genetic characteristic.
The charges were presented in the Helsinki District Court. Halla-aho denies the charges"