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Free Speech is Free for Whom?

Free Speech is Free for Whom?

Hussein Rashid

Adjunct Professor, Hofstra University.


The attacks against the staff of Charlie Hebdo (CH), a humor magazine based in Paris, on January 7, 2015, has been rightfully condemned by the international community. Much of the initial reporting focused on the fact that the gunmen were of North African de- scent and were Muslim. These facts meant that they were responding to the publication by CH of cartoons deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad. Such an understanding seems to flow logically from the re- sponse of certain Muslims to the publication of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses in 1989, and of cartoons of Muhammad printed in Jyllands-Postens, a Danish newspaper, in 2005. In addition, the release of a You- Tube film in 2011 called Innocence of Muslims is often cited as a proximate cause of an attack on a US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This narrative sets up an easily understood conflict between Islam and free speech.


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Science, Religion and Culture


Vol. 5, Sp. Iss. 1 Pages 1-82


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