Author accused of defaming Islam

ROME, Italy (AP) — A judge in northern Italy has ordered that Italian author Oriana Fallaci should stand trial on charges of public defamation against Islam in a recent book, a lawyer in the case said Wednesday.

The case follows a lawsuit brought against Fallaci by a Muslim activist over her book “The Strength of Reason,” said the activist’s lawyer, Matteo Nicoli.

“Some of the things she said are offensive to Islam,” Nicoli said. He cited a phrase from the book that refers to Islam as “a pool … that never purifies.”

No one at Rizzoli, which published the book in 2004, was immediately available to comment.

Fallaci, a former resistance fighter and war correspondent now based in the United States, has often stirred controversy for her blunt publications and provocative stances.

The activist, Adel Smith, is also known for taking radical positions. He gained attention in Italy in 2003 when he sought unsuccessfully to have the crucifix removed from the public elementary school his sons attended.

“Fallaci did her best to propagandize hatred against Islam and Muslims, distorting real historical facts and inventing others,” Smith said in a written statement. “She libeled, offended and defamed many times the Muslims all over the world.”

Nicoli said no date had been set for the trial to begin in the northern town of Bergamo.

In her 278-page book Fallaci wrote that Muslims “multiply like rats” and said “the children of Allah spend their time with their bottoms in the air, praying five times a day.”

It also accuses the Roman Catholic Church of being too weak before the Muslim world and Europe of selling itself to Islam “like a prostitute.”

In 2002, her best-selling essay “The Rage and The Pride” drew accusations that Fallaci was inciting hatred against Muslims.

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Associated Press, via
May 25, 2005

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday May 26, 2005.
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