Author's trial for defaming Islam begins
Barbara McMahon in Rome
Tuesday June 13, 2006
The trial of Oriana Fallaci, a journalist and author accused of defaming Islam in a book, was opened and adjourned yesterday in an Italian court.
The charge stems from a recent book, The Strength of Reason, one of a trilogy she has published since the September 11 attacks on the US. In the book, Fallaci, 77, is alleged to have made 18 blasphemous statements, including referring to Islam as "a pool that never purifies".
She has been charged with violating a law that forbids defamatory statements about a religion acknowledged by the Italian state. The offence is punishable with a fine of up to €6,000 (£4,100).
A former war correspondent, Fallaci has frequently stirred debate with her views, which are largely based on the notion that Muslims are engaged in a plot to conquer Europe by immigration. She has been accused of trying to incite racial hatred, but has also been applauded by rightwing factions and free speech activists.
Adel Smith, head of the Italian Muslim Union, brought the lawsuit against her.
Fallaci, who has cancer, lives in New York. She said in an interview two weeks ago with the New Yorker magazine that she would not stop expressing her views, adding that a mosque that is being built in the province of Siena should be blown up and destroyed. Mr. Smith is known for having sought unsuccessfully to have crucifixes removed from classrooms in the public school in Abruzzo his sons attend.
Neither party attended the hearing in Bergamo. The judge ordered another hearing on June 26.
OBS: Esse livro foi editado em 2004 em Portugal sob o titulo "A Força da Razão", ISBN 972-29-0719-0, EAN 9789722907194, preço €13,00.