Brigitte Bardot on trial for Muslim slur

PARIS Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:41pm EDT

Brigitte Bardot gestures as she speaks at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, June 9, 2006. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Brigitte Bardot gestures as she speaks at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, June 9, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

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PARIS (Reuters) - French former film star Brigitte Bardot went on trial on Tuesday for insulting Muslims, the fifth time she has faced the charge of "inciting racial hatred" over her controversial remarks about Islam and its followers.

Prosecutors asked that the Paris court hand the 73-year-old former sex symbol a two-month suspended prison sentence and fine her 15,000 euros ($23,760) for saying the Muslim community was "destroying our country and imposing its acts".

Since retiring from the film industry in the 1970s, Bardot has become a prominent animal rights activist but she has also courted controversy by denouncing Muslim traditions and immigration from predominantly Muslim countries.

She has been fined four times for inciting racial hatred since 1997, at first 1,500 euros and most recently 5,000.

Prosecutor Anne de Fontette told the court she was seeking a tougher sentence than usual, adding: "I am a little tired of prosecuting Mrs Bardot."

Bardot did not attend the trial because she said she was physically unable to. The verdict is expected in several weeks.

French anti-racist groups complained last year about comments Bardot made about the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha in a letter to President Nicolas Sarkozy that was later published by her foundation.

Muslims traditionally mark Eid al-Adha by slaughtering a sheep or another animal to commemorate the prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son on God's orders.

France is home to 5 million Muslims, Europe's largest Muslim community, making up 8 percent of France's population.

"I am fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its acts," the star of 'And God created woman' and 'Contempt' said.

Bardot has previously said France is being invaded by sheep-slaughtering Muslims and published a book attacking gays, immigrants and the unemployed, in which she also lamented the "Islamisation of France".

(Reporting by Thierry Leveque; writing by Francois Murphy, editing by Mary Gabriel)

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