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Behind the Headlines

After Charlie Hebdo: A Public Forum of Religion, Freedom and Human Rights

In the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks and the worldwide reaction to it, experts from the Departments of History, Near and Middle Eastern Studies and the School of Law focused on under-examined aspects of the issues involved under three headings:

Blasphemy, Defamation of Religion and the Reaction to the Charlie Hebdo Attacks:

  • Prof Neville Cox (School of Law), considered the reaction of the western world to the attacks and assessed the fundamental principle of free speech which was allegedly undermined by the kinds of cartoons published in Charlie hebdo and by reference to the difference between blasphemy and defamation of religion.

Perspectives on France

  • Prof John Horne (School of Histories and Humanities), historian of modern Europe and expert on France explored the French Republican 'model' for integrating minority communities and the experience of the 'banlieue' (suburbs); the Algerian legacy in the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks; and French understandings of freedom of speech and the values of the Republic.

Europe and its Other: Whose Religion is it anyway?

  • Dr Roja Fazaeli (School of Languages, Literature and Cultural Studies), specialist on Islam and Human Rights from the Department of Near Middle Eastern Studies, examined the construction of dichotomies within current debates on values and identities in Islam and Europe, including differing attitudes towards representations of Mohammad.

For a full news story on this event, please click here

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