Rome, Italy – At his political rally in Milan in March, Italy‘s far-right Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini mentioned two women: the Virgin Mary, who, he said “will lead us to victory”, and Oriana Fallaci, whom he described as “the founding mother of this Europe”.
A public garden was also dedicated to her in Sesto San Giovanni, an industrial town close to Milan, where the mayor also blocked the construction of a mosque and recently mentioned Fallaci in his inauguration speech: “Her exhortations to the West to wake up still resonate today.”
In July, the lower chamber of Parliament approved the creation of low-denomination treasury bills that could also be used as a de-facto parallel currency to the euro. According to the plan’s main proponent, the League’s MP Claudio Borghi, the 20 euro bill should bear a picture of Fallaci.
For what would have been her 90th birthday, state-owned television channel RAI 2 aired a celebratory documentary about her.
On September 28, 2001, a week after the September 11 attacks, Corriere della Sera, the Milan-based newspaper, published a five-page article titled La Rabbia e l’Orgoglio, or Rage and Pride, in which Fallaci accused the West of being too soft on Islam and Muslim immigrants.Fallaci has become] a darling of the right precisely because she was a public figure previously associated with the left.
After the article in 2001, she wrote three books – The Rage and the Pride, The Force of Reason, and Oriana Fallaci Interviews Herself – in which she described the Muslim world as an “enemy we treat as a friend” and warned Europe about what she believed to be the danger of becoming “Eurabia”.
She borrowed the term from a conspiracy theory popularised by the Egyptian-born British writer Bat Ye’or (a pseudonym for Gisele Littman) about an alleged plan to “Islamise” Europe through mass immigration.
A few months before her death, Fallaci famously said she was ready to blow up the minaret of a mosque in Chianti because she did not want to “see a 24-metre minaret in the landscape of Giotto when I can’t even wear a cross … in their country!”.
“The fact that Oriana Fallaci took such decisive positions after 9/11 transformed her into a figure of reference for the right,” said Francesco Borgonovo, deputy director of the conservative newspaper La Verita.
He claimed that Fallaci was often criticised for warning Western governments against immigration from Muslim-majority countries, but she understood that “in the face of a certain Islam, it is dangerous to say hurray to multiculturalism.”
Her interrogative interview style, in which she was vocal about her own opinions, contributed to her popularity.
But Borgonovo, the conservative commentator, said they are two sides of the same coin: “The reasons behind her attacks against a certain kind of Islam were the same than those behind her previous battles. She was a feminist, a woman of the left and a libertarian.”
She exemplified that “even ideologically unwholesome people understand that the threat [of Islam] is serious and something ne to be done.”
Recently, social media savvy Salvini was photographed while reading one of her books on holiday.