Name: Houellebecq trial

Date:  1995 - 2005

Location:  Europe

SubjectRacial/Ethnic , Religious

MediumLiterature , Public Speech

Artist: Michel Houellebecq

Confronting Bodies: Four French Muslim associations.

Date of Action: 2001

Specific Location: France

Description of Artwork: In a September 2001 interview in the literary magazine Lire, Houellebecq was quoted as saying he rejected all monotheistic religions, but he singled out Islam for special criticism. “The most stupid religion is Islam,” he was quoted as saying. The statement prompted an uproar among Muslims and drew criticism from abroad, particularly in Morocco, which has a large immigrant population here. There also were objections to anti-Islam sentiments expressed in Houellebecq's novels.

Description of Incident: Four Muslem organizations sued Houellebecq for instigating religious/racial hatred.

Results of Incident: The suit was dismissed.The court said that Houellebecq’s comments against Islam could not be construed as general contempt for Muslims or a call for acts against them. The plaintiffs were angered, saying that an affront to Islam was an affront to all Muslims. They promised to appeal.

Source: MSNBC news, NCAC

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