Italian Debate Raging Over Freedom of Speech Versus Respect for Religious Belief

July 13, 2005

Source: The Guardian,12576,1527136,00.html

On July 13, 2005 The Guardian reported, "One of Italy's best-known authors faces renewed legal action in a dispute that has raised fundamental questions about respect for religion and the right to free speech. A radical Muslim leader, Adel Smith, told the Guardian he was bringing a civil action for damages against the writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci. He has already succeeded in getting Ms Fallaci committed for trial next year in criminal proceedings for blasphemy. Last month a judge in the northern Italian city of Bergamo agreed that the 76-year-old Ms Fallaci should answer to claims of abusing Islam in her book The Strength of Reason. Since then, her cause has become a rallying point for mainly rightwing intellectuals and politicians in Italy and the US, where Ms Fallaci lives. Mr Smith said he would be seeking damages for libel on the grounds that the author had claimed in a recent essay that he had issued death threats against her. Ms Fallaci, who is ill with cancer, could not be contacted for comment."

See also: Islam, International