Author on trial over Islam ‘insult’

BBC, Sep. 16, 2002

Prize-winning French novelist charges of making a racial insult and inciting religious hatred.

The controversial writer is being sued by four Islamic organisations in Paris after making “insulting” remarks about the religion in an interview about his latest book.

The novel, Platform, is also cited in the case being made by the largest mosques in Paris and Lyon, the National Federation of French Muslims (FNMN) and the World Islamic League.

In an interview given last year to the French literary magazine Lire, the author was quoted as saying “the dumbest religion, after all, is Islam”.

“When you read the

Last year Mr Houellebecq said he had “a gift” for insults and provocation.

“In my novels, it adds a certain spice. It’s rather humorous, no? What I think as an individual seems to be of no importance here,” he said in an interview.

But the lawyers for the Paris and Lyon mosques said in a statement: “It is anti-Muslim racism that is at the heart of the trial, not the personality or the provocative tastes of one successful author or another.”

Houellebecq, who lives in Ireland, is working on the film adaptation of his novel


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