From email@example.com Tue Aug 10 10:15:11 2004
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 2004 19:20:08 -0500 (CDT)
From: “Tim Murphy” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Anti-Islamic books' success fuel fears of racism in Italy
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;
Human rights groups warned yesterday that racism was becoming increasingly tolerated in Italy after the country's biggest-selling newspaper published a book by a veteran journalist which warns of an Arab invasion of Europe.
The 126-page tract by Oriana Fallaci appeared on newsstands with the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
In the book Fallaci makes sweeping criticisms of authorities for failing to stop Europe becoming “Eurabia” and “a colony of Islam”, in a stealthy process she describes as the “burning of Troy”.
Oddly, Fallaci interviews herself in the book, the third volume the New York-based journalist has written against Islam since the September 11 attacks in New York. The first two have been bestsellers in Italy and elsewhere.
“This kind of argument does a lot of damage,” said Luciano Scagliotti, head of the Italian branch of the European Network Against Racism.
“We are very worried. Fallaci and others like her are using their popularity to create hatred. She is effectively telling thousands of people they must chase the Arabs out of Europe.
“It's a kind of racism that was unacceptable in Europe until a few years ago. Now, with this kind of publication, it is becoming acceptable. The more these books are published the more people even feel urged, encouraged and justified in wanting to chase the ‘enemy’ out of Europe.
“It's exactly the same thing we saw in Italy when the laws were brought in against the Jews in 1938.”
Human rights groups and immigration experts have warned that Fallaci's message, along with the frequently xenophobic messages from the Northern League, a member of Silvio Berlusconi's government coalition, feeds on fear of foreigners in a country that has only experienced mass immigration in recent decades.
The Muslim community, now the second largest religious group in Italy, is made up of more than 800,000 first or second generation immigrants. Yet they are not formally recognised as a religious group.
The Italian government has signed accords with representatives of most other, much smaller religious groups, but Islam remains on the sidelines. The fragmented Italian Muslim community has failed to identify one official religious representative.
Fallaci's first book written after September 11, The Rage and the Pride, was an international bestseller, selling more than a million copies in Italy alone. Her follow-up, The Force of Reason, published in April this year as a tribute “to the dead of Madrid”, has already sold 800,000 copies in Italy.
Her latest book attacks world leaders including George Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger. But most of her venom is saved for Islamist terrorists, anti-war protesters and anyone leftwing, accusing protesters of “intellectual terrorism” and being “brainwashing”, “philo-Islamists” who would happily allow Osama bin Laden to live in Italy.
The veteran war correspondent warns of inertia comparable to that of Europe in 1938 in the face of the Arab threat.
The Corriere della Sera, which belongs to RCS media group, hails Fallaci as “a woman who has the courage to write the truth about others and herself.”