August 22, 2002


Author sued over Islam 'insult' (BBC, 22 August, 2002)
Prize-winning French novelist Michel Houellebecq is being sued by four Islamic organisations in Paris after making "insulting" remarks about the religion in an interview about his latest book.

The action against Mr Houellebecq, 44, is being launched on 17 September by plaintiffs including Saudi Arabia's World Islamic League and the Mosque of Paris.

Dalil Boubakeur, rector, Paris mosque Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Paris mosque, said Muslims felt insulted by comments in the novel Plateforme, in which a character admits to a "quiver of glee" every time a "Palestinian terrorist" is killed.

The author's lawyer, Emmanuel Pierrat, said the case is "very similar" to that of British novelist Salman Rushdie - and has said that Mr Houellebecq could be assassinated. [...]

[I]t is an interview with the literary magazine Lire during last year's launch of the book that prompted the legal action.

'Obscene words'

Mr Houellebecq reportedly said in Lire that reading the Koran is "so depressing" and that Islam is "the stupidest religion".

The scary thing is that under French law they'll likely win. Recall that last year a retired general was tried as a "war apologist" for not beating his breast enough about Algeria in his memoirs. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 22, 2002 8:23 AM
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