Henry Samuel, London Telegraph, April 16, 2008
Brigitte Bardot has been accused of inciting racial hatred against Muslims.
Brigitte Bardot, now an animal rights activist, has been convicted four times since 1997 on similar charges
In December 2006, Miss Bardot, 73, now an animal rights activist, wrote to President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, then the interior minister, criticising the Muslim practice of slaughtering sheep without first stunning them.
In the letter published by the magazine Info-Journal and handed out to members of the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, she wrote: “We’re fed up with being led by the nose by this population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing its acts”.
Several French anti-racism groups filed for charges of “inciting discrimination and racial hatred” against Muslims.
Miss Bardot was not in court, citing “difficulties in getting around”, but her lawyer read out a note in which she said she was “appalled” at the “harassment” of anti-racism groups.
“I will never keep quiet” until animals are stunned before ritual slaughter, she added, saying she was “tired and weary”.
“I too am tired and weary”, said the prosecutor Anne de Fontette, pointing out that Miss Bardot had been convicted four times since 1997 on similar charges.
“She might as well write that Arabs should be thrown out of France”, she said. “It is time to hand out heftier sentences”.
The heaviest penalty to date was in 2004, when the star of “And God Created Woman” was fined £3,300 for inciting racial hatred in a book. In A Cry In The Silence, she “opposed the Islamisation of France” and racial mixing.
“You see racism and xenophobia, but I only see the expression of her fight” [against animal slaughter practices], said her lawyer, Francois-Xavier Kelidjian.
A lawyer for the French human rights league, a plaintiff, said that while Miss Bardot deserved respect as an actress and animal welfare campaigner, that did not give her “any special rights” to be racist, and called for the court to “put a stop” to such declarations.
The verdict is due on June 3.
Prosecutor Anne de Fontette told the court she was seeking a tougher sentence than usual, adding: “I am a little tired of prosecuting Mrs Bardot.”
Bardot did not attend the trial because she said she was physically unable to. The verdict is expected in several weeks.
French anti-racist groups complained last year about comments Bardot made about the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha in a letter to President Nicolas Sarkozy that was later published by her foundation.
Muslims traditionally mark Eid al-Adha by slaughtering a sheep or another animal to commemorate the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son on God’s orders.
France is home to 5 million Muslims, Europe’s largest Muslim community, making up 8 percent of France’s population.
“I am fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its acts,” the star of ‘And God created woman’ and ‘Contempt’ said.
Bardot has previously said France is being invaded by sheep-slaughtering Muslims and published a book attacking gays, immigrants and the unemployed, in which she also lamented the “Islamisation of France”.