Posted on May 25, 2005

Trial Over Italian Islam ‘Insult’

BBC News, May 24

Controversial Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci is to face trial for allegedly insulting the Muslim faith in her latest book, a court in Italy says.

Ms Fallaci is being sued by the head of the Muslim Union of Italy, who says The Force of Reason is defamatory.

The journalist caused an uproar with The Rage and the Pride, published two weeks after the 11 September attacks.

In it, she said Western culture was superior to Islam and Muslim immigrants in the West had “multiplied like rats”.

Her lawyers have defended her right to express controversial opinions.

“At the heart of her thinking is the following reasoning: the fight against Islamic terrorism is made more difficult by intellectual terrorism cloaked in anti-racism,” Gilles Goldhagen, said in 2002, when a French judge was hearing a case to ban The Rage and the Pride.

‘No good Islam’

The Force of Reason is said to have gone to print about 24 hours after the 11 March 2004 train bombings in Spain.

In it, Ms Fallaci argues that Europe is turning into “an Islamic province, an Islamic colony” and that “to believe that a good Islam and a bad Islam exist goes against all reason”.

Italian preliminary investigative judge Armando Grasso ordered the formulation of charges against the author, saying the book had expressions which were “unequivocally offensive to Islam”.

Adel Smith, president of the Muslim Union of Italy, sued the writer on 8 April 2004. He says Ms Fallaci has been advocating and spreading hate against Islam and Muslims, sometimes by allegedly distorting real historical facts and inventing others.

The case is being tried in the northern town of Bergamo, where the book was published. The prosecution has 10 days to come up with a charge.

Ms Fallaci, who lives in New York, was a Resistance fighter in World War II and a former war correspondent.