Oriana Fallaci, one of Italy’s best known and most controversial journalists, has died at her home in Florence. She was 77 and had been battling cancer for several years. Fallaci made her name as a war correspondent and as a tenacious interviewer of some of the world’s most famous leaders. Gaetano Pedulla, director of the daily “Il Tempo” said she will be best remembered for her forthright views: “The Pope has just warned us about the big dangers of fundamentalism – dangers which Fallaci saw well before anyone else,” he said. “She did not highlight the differences between cultures; she simply said there needs to be a dialogue. An argument she fought hard for especially after September 11th,” he added.
However, she divided her fans with her best selling book, “The Rage and the Pride” – an outspoken critique of Islam. In it she said Western culture was superior to Islam and described Arab immigrants in Europe as dirty and bigoted. In a later book, “The Force of Reason”, she wrote that “terrorists” had killed 6,000 people over the past 20 years in the name of the Koran and said the Islamic faith “sows hatred in the place of love and slavery in the place of freedom”. Last year, a judge in northern Italy ordered Fallaci to stand trial on charges she defamed Islam, but the case never went to court.