Genesis of the Charlie Hebdo Affair: The Clash of Human Rights and Religious Rites

  • Lyombe EkoEmail author


This chapter explores the clash of French and Islamic worldviews regarding the role of religion in the life of the state and in the public sphere, using the Charlie Hebdo affair as a case study. Specifically, it explores the clash between the human right of freedom of expression and the religious rite and expectation of respect for the sacred. It explores the politico-cultural, religious, and journalistic parameters within which Charlie Hebdo exercised the historic French right/rite to satirize and blaspheme. The politico-cultural contexts described, analyzed, and explained include: the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the religious and journalistic fields of France; post-Revolutionary secular republicanism and its associated right to satirize, blaspheme, and offend religion, in contrast to Muslim expectations of respect for their religious worldviews and sentiments. It also describes and explains the connection between the Charlie Hebdo affair of 2015 and the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons affair of 2005–2006 in Denmark.


Secular republicanism Blasphemy Establishmentalities Religious fields Journalistic fields Human rights Religious rites 


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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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