Charlie Hebdo and Blasphemy: Pick Up Your Pen, Not Your Sword


In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, January 7, 2015 in Paris, many opinions abound, and it becomes difficult to offer any unique insight of one’s own without being drowned out, or indeed, wondering if you should offer anything at all.

Opinions range from outright disgust and condemnation to stating that the cartoonists deserved it. But there also exists a slightly more insidious view:  that of condemning the killers and also condemning the cartoons. I have no doubt that people who say something along the lines of “While I condemn the killing, nobody should insult the Prophet” think they’re protecting all Muslims and their sensibilities. They’re also justifiably protecting themselves from reprisals. But perhaps this view deserves scrutiny in itself, and Tehmina Kazi does an excellent job of simply explaining some of the misconceptions that create such a position.

I would urge us, if we haven’t already, to think before acting, and to consider whether protecting rotten behavioural yardsticks such as blasphemy, even with the best of intentions, is the right thing to do. After all, lampooning religion isn’t done to upset the religious, but to challenge bad ideas.

Continue Reading this article at Atheist Republic.


Extended Materials

After speaking to a few people who have read my article on Charlie Hebdo and blasphemy, various points have been raised. Such points included how to deal with well meaning but ultimately counterproductive attitudes like “The killing was truly awful BUT,” or “whilst I condemn the killing, Charlie Hebdo were controversial, Islamophobic and racist so…” It seems that many people hadn’t taken the time to research the event entirely before commenting, whilst others were generally interested in learning more.

One reader thought it would be helpful to write another article going into depth on a few of the points flirted with in my article but not expanded upon at great length. To an extent I thought this would be a good idea, however with the wealth of material already out there, I feel it would be better in my own small space in the blogosphere, to elevate the French, Muslim, Ex-Muslim, Liberal Muslim, and Secular voices who are already making an impact when addressing these particular issues, rather than try to talk over them. Here are just a few of the sources that contributed to the writing of my article, and some others which I feel in some way add context to such an event.

Understanding Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Protection is not enough – Maajid Nawaz

Kuffarsplaining – Kiran Fatima Opal

Being Mad About Cartoons – Alaa al-Ameri

Editor who published Charlie Hebdo cartoon so scared she’s now wearing a burqa – Ishaan Tharoor

Reaction to Charlie Hebdo – David Paxton

A job half done and how apologists completed the work of the terrorists in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre – Yasmin Baruchi

Terror in France (Maajid Nawaz)

Blaming Foreign Policy for Paris attacks – Anas Abbas

Freedom to Offend – Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

The British Muslims not afraid to fight extremism – On Sara Khan, Dilwar Hussain, Manwar Ali, and Adam Deen

Defence of Charlie Hebdo must be a defence of all blasphemers – Maryam Namazie

If Charlie Hebdo is Racist then so am I – Zineb El-Rhazoui

Meet the honour brigade – Asra Q Nomani

JeSuisCharlie? It’s a bit late – Kenan Malik

French Law and Free Speech – Alexander Stile

Dismantling nine mistaken assumptions about the Paris atrocities – Tehmina Kazi

Shedding the narrative of grievance – Husain Haqqani

To prevent another Charlie Hebdo, Reconsider the Example of Muhammed – Fathima Imra Nazeer

After the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, Support those fighting the Religious Right – Maryam Namazie

Add faithophobia to my crimes – Suzanne Moore

Lost in translation: Charlie Hebdo, free speech and the unilingual left – Leigh Philips

The Great Betrayal: How Liberals Appease Islam – Nick Cohen

Charlie Hebdo, A Liberal Reply To Mehdi Hasan On Free Speech – John Seargent

The problem with #JesuisCharlie

The Charlie Hebdo cartoons no one is showing you

A cartoonist’s dilemma

Are all Muslims terrorists, not even close – Dean Obdeidallah

LSE Student’s Tweets expose hypocrisy – Lucy Sherriff

Let’s not sacralise Charlie Hebdo – Arthur Goldhammer

German Muslims unite in commemoration of Charlie Hebdo Massacre – Russia Today

Thousands protest against Charlie Hebdo in Karachi – Pakistan Today

German paper that published Charlie Hebdo cartoons firebombed – Saudi Gazette

Charlie Hebdo and Blasphemy: Pick Up Your Pen, Not Your Sword – Glen Carrigan



About glencarrigan

Glen Carrigan is a Neuropsychology Postgraduate Researcher and Senior Research Assistant in Clinical Practice at The University of Central Lancashire. Glen is a public speaker, humanist, science presenter, ex-soldier, and social and political activist with an interest in all things related to equality, science, education, and politics.

Posted on January 22, 2015, in Humanism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: