Oriana Fallaci strains the good will of even the most sympathetic reader

Ira Stoll in the New York Sun:

Fallaci3180x230Never mind the eccentric way this volume has been published by Rizzoli, which seems not to have English language typesetting software in house. (In the first few pages of the book, both the words “have” – “have”- and “whore” – “who-re” – are hyphenated, as if they were being pronounced in a bad Italian accent.)

The more serious problem is the sweeping nature of her condemnation of Islam and Muslims. She faults them for the fact that “they breed like rats”; for requiring their meat to be slaughtered in a “barbaric” manner she says is similar to kosher butchery; for having their own schools, hospitals, and cemeteries; for immigrating; and for wanting accommodation of their religious holidays and Sabbath in schools and workplaces.

Much of her complaint about Islam, in other words, might as well be directed at Orthodox Jews, and a good deal of it at American Catholics. Ms. Fallaci’s cry of alarm – “Wake up, West, wake up! They have declared war on us, we are at war! And in war we must fight” – rings less alarmingly when it turns out that what she’s alarmed about is religions having their own cemeteries. Anyone familiar with the graveyard behind the Congregational church in any traditional New England town – or, for that matter, the Trinity Church graveyard in Lower Manhattan – realizes that, in itself, isn’t much of a threat at all.

Ms. Fallaci makes clear that her aversion is not to Islamist terrorism alone or to Islamic extremism but to Islam and Muslims in general. “Moderate Islam does not exist,” she writes, calling it “an illusion,” an invention of naive Westerners.

More here.