Wednesday, June 15, 2005

One man's defamation...

Last year, Adel Smith, President of the Union of Italian Muslims, brought a lawsuit against Oriana Fallaci for 'defamation of religion' (in her case Islam). A judge allowed the case to go forward last month.
Now, in a bizarre twist, Smith has himself been convicted of 'defamation of religion.' In his case it's Christianity:
On January 4, 2003, Adel Smith, during a TV program broadcast live on the Paduan channel 'Serenissima Tv' made accusations against the Catholic church defining it as "criminal association" and against Pope John Paul II, defined as "a foreign man who heads the church" and "able double-crosser. [...] I declared undeniable modern historic facts: for this reason I do not regret my declarations. It seems to me that the sentence is political. I am very curious to know what those think who yesterday invoked the freedom of judgment and criticism today: is it so for me too?"
Smith said he will appeal against the sentence and if necessary will resort to European courts "until he is acquitted."
"I am confident and sure that at the end I will have justice."
The rest of us are all curious to know whether Smith, who is today invoking the freedom of judgment and criticism, will realize that it goes the other way too, and drop his suit against Fallaci? And when will the Italians realize that one person's religious defamation is another person's 'undeniable... facts', and allow these conflicts to be settled socially and culturally rather than through the courts?

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