Oriana Fallaci 88.
(photo credit: )
Italian author and veteran journalist Oriana Fallaci goes on trial Monday, charged with defaming Islam in a 2004 book.
Fallaci, who lives in New York, was not expected to attend the hearing in Bergamo, northern Italy.
Muslim activist Adel Smith filed a lawsuit against Fallaci, charging that some passages in her book, "The Strength of Reason," were offensive to Islam. Smith's lawyer cited a phrase from the book that refers to Islam as "a pool ... that never purifies."
Last year, a judge ordered that she stand trial on charges of violating an Italian law that prohibits "outrage to religion." He cited a passage that reads: "To be under the illusion that there is a good Islam and a bad Islam or not to understand that Islam is only one ... is against reason."
Fallaci told The Associated Press last year that "I have expressed my opinion through the written word through my books, that is all."
A former resistance fighter and war correspondent, Fallaci has often stirred controversy for her blunt publications and provocative stances. Her most recent books have drawn accusations she incites hatred against Muslims.
In her best-selling essay "The Rage and the Pride," written as a response to the Sept. 11 attacks, Fallaci wrote that Muslims "multiply like rats" and said "the children of Allah spend their time with their bottoms in the air, praying five times a day." A group in France unsuccessfully sought to stop distribution of the book.