Thursday, June 10, 2004

Things you can't say in France

From the AP:

Brigitte Bardot was convicted Thursday in Paris of inciting racial hatred for portraying Muslims in a negative light in a book. The Paris court said the former film star compared them to “invaders, cruel and barbaric.”

Bardot and her publishing house, Editions du Rocher, were fined $6,050 each, to be paid to two anti-racism groups that took them to court. She could have been sentenced to a year in jail.

Bardot, 69, also an ardent animal rights campaigner, was not present for the verdict. At a hearing in May, she told the court she never meant to harm anyone with her book, “Un cri dans le silence” (A Cry in the Silence), which topped the nonfiction best-seller lists last year.

“If I did hurt someone, I’m sorry,” she said.

In her book, Bardot denounced the “infiltration” of France by Islamic extremists and described what she called the “Islamization of France.”

Bardot had previously been found guilty on similar charges.

This time, the court found that the actress had presented Muslims as “invaders, barbaric and cruel, responsible for terrorist acts, wishing to subdue the French people to the point of extermination.”

Her language could lead the reader to “reject members of the Muslim community through hate and violence,” the court concluded in its ruling.

During her May hearing, Bardot said her book was a simple critique of the religious practices of Muslims and a denunciation of those terrorist attacks committed by Islamic extremists.

“Among Muslims, I think there are some who are very good and some hoodlums, like everywhere,” she said.