Afterword and Afterthoughts

  • Lyombe EkoEmail author


This book is about politico-cultural sameness and difference in journalistic perceptions and interpretations of the “mediatized meta-event” (Christensen & Christensen, 2013) that was the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack. The volume explored how different national cultural geographies of freedom of expression a shaped journalistic perceptions of the tension between the human right of freedom of expression and its collateral right to satirize, on the one hand, and the religious rite—and expectation—of universal respect for religion and the sacred. The Charlie Hebdo and Jyllands-Posten affairs were triggered in part by the clash between the exoteric (external) and esoteric (internal) aspects of religion. Charlie Hebdo treated Islam like any other philosophical worldview that is open to satirical criticism and intellectual examination. Indeed, Charlie Hebdo, le Canard Enchainé, and other French periodicals set out to do to Islam what radical secularists and militant atheists had done to Christianity since the French Revolution of 1789—reinvent it and domesticate it to fit their national secular republican ideological mold. Their idea has been to transform Islam from Islam in France to an “Islam of France” that would be assimilated into French culture and, like “zombie Catholicism” and “zombie Protestantism,” be rationalized, moralized, emptied of its spirituality and exoteric religiosity. This chapter consists of a survey of the legal, legislative, and public policy impact of the Charlie Hebdo and affair and Muslim identitarian assertiveness in a number of Western countries. The irony is that the Charlie Hebdo affair led to the decriminalization of blasphemy and broadening of the scope of freedom of expression in a number of Western countries.


The right to satirize Charlie Hebdo and cultural assimilation Blasphemy Freedom of expression Respect or religion Impact on freedom of expression 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Journalism and Creative MediaTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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