Islam jibe author is cleared of inciting hate.
By Philip Delves Broughton in Paris
The French author Michel Houellebecq was found not guilty yesterday of inciting racial hatred by calling Islam the "stupidest religion".
A court in Paris rulee that his views may have lacked "subtlety in their expression" but did not imply that all Muslims were stupid.
Houellebecq told the court last month: "I have never shown the slightest contempt for Muslims, but I have always held Islam in contempt."
He explained that his grievance was with monotheistic religions in general, which included Islam. The court concluded that his remarks were not incitements to hatred or violence against Muslims, but rather part a "a system of thought" which could be "disapproved of, discussed or refuted" but not declared illegal.
The case brought by a group of French Islamic organisations (the "damn fools had nothing better to do! -site owner) did wonders for Houellebecq's reputation as a controversialist and may even have boosted sales for his last novel, "Plateforme".
This is a story of a lonely Frenchman who finds solace in the massage parlours of Thailand. He meets a Frenchwoman and they live out their fantasy of starting up a sex resort, until she is killed and the resort is destroyed by Islamic terrorists.
It was in an interview with a literary magazine, "Lire", that Houellebecq made the comments which landed him in court. He called the fundamentalist texts of all monotheistic religions "texts of hate", but singled out the Koran as the worst of all.
Houellebecq, 44, carefully nurtures his image as a rebel and his abrasive manner has made him an unpopular figure in the French literary world.
The lawyer for the Paris mosque, Jean-Marc Varaut, said he would appeal. "This decision seems inspired by a poor knowledge of Islam," he said.
(He cannot think that this decision shows the profound knowledge of Islam on the part of the court. -owner web site).
They once asked the clever Pandit of Hindustan, "O' you learned Barrister from London, how will you ensure the eventual DEATH of all the Hindus in Hindustan?"
"By giving them Lahore but denying them Srinagar.
"And above all, by keeping the Muslims back in Bharat despite Partition," said Bandit Jawaharlal Nehru to bosom friend Adbul Kalam Azad.