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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
French court allows 'anti-Islamic' book
Oriana Fallaci
Fallaci stands accused of inciting racial hatred
A French judge has rejected an attempt by an anti-racism group to outlaw a book highly critical of Islam.

However, the work could still be banned and its Italian author fined.

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

Lawyer representing Oriana Fallaci
The Movement Against Racism and For Friendship (MRAP) had lodged the request to ban journalist Oriana Fallaci's The Rage and The Pride , a book which asserts the superiority of Western culture and norms over Islamic civilisation and links immigration with Islamic terrorism.

Judge Herve Stephan did not rule on the contents of the book, but said that since it had already been distributed - both in France and abroad- there was no point in issuing an urgent ban.

Instead he referred the affair to another court for a more detailed analysis of the book's content, with a hearing scheduled for 10 July.

'Bottoms in the air'

MRAP argued that the work was an "incendiary tract of Islamophobia".

Their lawyers cited extracts from the book in which Ms Fallaci says that Muslim immigrants in the West had "multiplied like rats" and that "the children of Allah spend their time with their bottoms in the air, praying five times a day".

The group says the author clearly crosses the line from criticism to racism.

But Ms Fallaci's lawyers, while conceding that the book is at times "shocking", stressed that their client had an inalienable right to freedom of expression.

They also said it was an important book.

"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," said Gilles Goldhagen.

Ms Fallaci, a 72-year-old Resistance fighter in World War II and a former war correspondent, could receive a suspended prison sentence and a fine if her book is eventually found to incite racial hatred, as the MRAP claim.

See also:

03 Apr 02 | Entertainment
28 Sep 01 | Europe
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