Houellebecq Trial

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Date: 2001

Region: Europe

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion, Religion

Medium: Literature


Houellebecq.jpg

Artist: Michel Houellebecq

Confronting Bodies: Four French Muslim associations.

Dates of Action: 2001

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.

The Incident: Four Muslim 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