The Italian author Oriana Fallaci, who once wrote that Muslims “breed like rats”, may be facing up to three years in prison after she vowed to blow up a mosque.
Ms Fallaci, 75, who has cancer, is due to appear in court next week charged with the lesser offence of vilifying Islam, punishable with a £3,450 fine. But after her latest outburst in the New Yorker last week Muslim leaders are demanding that she be tried for inciting religious hatred, which carries a three-year jail term.
The former journalist, who has said she will not attend Monday’s hearing in Bergamo, told the magazine that she intended to destroy a mosque being built at Colle di Val d’Elsa, near Siena. “I do not want to see a 24-metre minaret in the landscape of Giotto when I cannot even wear a cross or carry a Bible in their country, so I blow it up!” she said.
In a trilogy of books published after the attacks of September 11, Ms Fallaci lamented the Islam “invasion” into Europe. Judge Armando Grasso ruled in a preliminary hearing that Ms Fallaci had made 18 statements “offensive to Islam and Muslims”. Following her most recent comments, Adel Smith, the president of the Italian Muslim Union, said he would press for the sterner charge of inciting religious hatred.