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Combative Writer Oriana Fallaci Dies

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By ALESSANDRA RIZZO
The Associated Press
Friday, September 15, 2006; 9:46 AM

ROME -- Oriana Fallaci, the Italian writer and journalist best known for her abrasive interviews and provocative stances, has died, officials said Friday. She was 76.

Fallaci, who had been diagnosed with cancer years ago, died overnight in a private clinic in Florence, said Paolo Klun, an official with the RCS publishing group, which carried Fallaci's work. Klun said Fallaci, who lived in New York, had come back to her hometown days ago as her condition worsened.

Fallaci, a former Resistance fighter and war correspondent, was rarely seen in public.

During her journalistic career she became known for challenging interviews with such world leaders as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Her work _ both interviews and books _ was translated across the world.

"Fallaci's manner of interviewing was deliberately unsettling: she approached each encounter with studied aggressiveness, made frequent nods to European existentialism (she often disarmed her subjects with bald questions about death, God, and pity), and displayed a sinuous, crafty intelligence," The New Yorker wrote in a profile this year entitled "The Agitator."

Fallaci's recent publications _ including the best-selling book "The Rage and The Pride," which came out weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks _ drew accusations of racism and inciting hatred against Muslims.

"The Rage and The Pride," sold more than 1 million copies in Italy and found a large audience elsewhere in Europe. But Fallaci was also accused of racism.

In the book, she wrote that Muslims "multiply like rats" and said "the children of Allah spend their time with their bottoms in the air, praying five times a day."

A group in France unsuccessfully sought to stop distribution of the book, while two other associations have requested that it carry a warning notice.

Her next essay, "The Strength of Reason," accused Europe of having sold its soul to what Fallaci described as an Islamic invasion. It also took the Catholic Church to task for being what she considers too weak before the Muslim world.

Describing Europe as "Eurabia," Fallaci said the continent "has sold itself and sells itself to the enemy like a prostitute."

"Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam," she wrote.

The current invasion, Fallaci went on to say, is not carried out only by the "terrorists who blow up themselves along with skyscrapers or buses" but also by "the immigrants who settle in our home, and who, with no respect for our laws, impose their ideas, their customs, their God."

She was not married and had no children. Information on funeral arrangements was not immediately available.


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