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Bardot fined for anti-Muslim remarks
French actress-turned-animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has been convicted of inciting racial hatred against Muslims.
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2004 20:17 GMT
Brigitte Bardot (L) has been fined for inciting racial hatred
French actress-turned-animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has been convicted of inciting racial hatred against Muslims.

A Paris court on Thursday sentenced Bardot, 69, for remarks made in her book A Scream in the Silence, which sent shock waves throughout France.

It also ordered her to pay 5000 ($6000) - the fourth such fine since 1997.

In the book, she laments the "Islamisation of France" and the "underground and dangerous infiltration of Islam".

"Madame Bardot presents Muslims as barbaric and cruel invaders, responsible for terrorist acts and eager to dominate the French to the extent of wanting to exterminate them," the court said.

France's five million-strong Muslim community is the largest in Europe.

Tearful denial

Bardot, who was not present at the verdict, denied the charges in a tearful court appearance last month, saying her book did not target Islam or people from North Africa.

"Madame Bardot presents Muslims as barbaric and cruel invaders, responsible for terrorist acts and eager to dominate the French to the extent of wanting to exterminate them,"

French court judge

She told the court that France was going through a period of decadence and said she opposed inter-racial marriage.

"I was born in 1934, at that time inter-racial marriage wasn't approved of," she said.

"There are many new languages in the new Europe. Mediocrity is taking over from beauty and splendour.

"There are many people who are filthy, badly dressed and badly shaven."

In her book she condemns the presence of women in government and denounces the "scandal of unemployment benefit".

Fines

Bardot's attacks on Muslims prompted anti-racism groups to launch legal proceedings against the former star, who turned her back on cinema after 46 films to concentrate on animal welfare.

Bardot had to explain criticisms
about Muslims in February

The court awarded a symbolic one euro in damages to France's anti-racism movement MRAP and to the League for Human Rights.

It also sentenced the head of Bardot's publishing house Le Rocher to a €5000 fine and ordered both to pay for advertisements in two newspapers announcing their conviction.

Bardot, in her 1960s heyday the epitome of French feminine beauty, was already fined $3250 in January 1998 for inciting racial hatred in comments about civilian massacres in Algeria.

Four months earlier, a court fined her for saying France was being overrun by ''sheep-slaughtering Muslims''.

Graves desecrated
 
In a separate incient, three Muslim tombs were desecrated in a cemetery in the southern French port of Marseille, home to many members of the country's large Muslim community, police said.

Headstones were broken and gravel from the pathways was used to make crude copies of the swastika, the Nazi cross, they said after the desecration was discovered Wednesday.

The mayor of Marseille, Senator Jean-Claude Gaudin, said in a statement that he hoped a police investigation "will make it possible to identify and severely punish those responsible for these shameful and barbaric acts".

Source:
Agencies
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