5.25.2005

Europe descends further into authoritarianism

Freedom of speech is taking a big hit in Italy, as journalist Oriana Fallaci is ordered to stand trial for "incitement" in her book about Islam.


A judge has ordered best-selling writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci to stand trial in her native Italy on charges she defamed Islam in a recent book.

The decision angered Italy's justice minister but delighted Muslim activists, who accused Fallaci of inciting religious hatred in her 2004 work "La Forza della Ragione" (The Force of Reason).

Fallaci lives in New York and has regularly provoked the wrath of Muslims with her outspoken criticism of Islam following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. cities.

In "La Forza della Ragione," Fallaci wrote that terrorists had killed 6,000 people over the past 20 years in the name of the Koran and said the Islamic faith "sows hatred in the place of love and slavery in the place of freedom."

State prosecutors originally dismissed accusations of defamation from an Italian Muslim organization, and said Fallaci should not stand trial because she was merely exercising her right to freedom of speech.

But a preliminary judge in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, Armando Grasso, rejected the prosecutors advice at a hearing on Tuesday and said Fallaci should be indicted.

Grasso's ruling homed in on 18 sentences in the book, saying some of Fallaci's words were "without doubt offensive to Islam and to those who practice that religious faith."


All that stands between us and them is the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights... it's a shame the Constitution is more and more open to interpretation. Remember, as Justice Kennedy tells us, we have to look not to what the Constitution says, but to "the overwhelming weight of international opinion..."

HT: Protein Wisdom via Jay Reding at RedState.

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