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French Group Bashes Italian Writer

June 11, 2002

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PARIS (AP) _ A French anti-racism group has started legal proceedings against Italian writer Oriana Fallaci to try to stop French distribution of her latest book, which it says incites hatred against Muslims.

The Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between People referred to Fallaci’s book, ``Rage and Pride,″ as ``a scathing Islamophobe attack.″ The proceedings started Monday also target Plon, the book’s publisher in France.

Fallaci, best known for her uncompromising interviews with world leaders, ended a decade-long, self-imposed silence after Sept. 11 by writing a book in angry reaction to the terrorist attacks in New York, where she lives.

Critics have accused the former Resistance fighter and war correspondent of writing an anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant tirade.

In one passage that the Movement Against Racism objects to, Fallaci writes that Muslims ``multiply like rats.″ In another, she says that ``the children of Allah spend their time with their bottoms in the air, praying five times a day.″

A spokeswoman for the book’s French publisher said it had just been informed of the complaint and did not immediately have a comment. Her agent in New York did not immediately return a call for comment.

Rizzoli, which publishes Fallaci’s book in Italy, said the book was due in September in the United States. The title was unknown and Rizzoli refused to disclose the name of American publisher.

Mouloud Aounit, the Movement Against Racism’s secretary general, said his group believes in freedom of expression _ ``but this incites racial violence.″

``It’s racist delirium,″ Aounit said.

Since ``Rage and Pride″ was released in France in May, most major newspapers have devoted opinion pieces to it. In Friday’s edition of Le Figaro, Fallaci said she has been receiving death threats.

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