Blowback: Charlie Hebdo and the Contradictions of Western Policy | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Blowback: Charlie Hebdo and the Contradictions of Western Policy

The Western defense of freedom of expression in the face of attacks by Islamic fundamentalists has not always been so unequivocal, however. Indeed, from the start of the Mohammed cartoon controversy, the support of some Western governments – including the French – for Jyllands Posten, Charlie Hebdo and other “offenders” has been tepid at best. For instance, far from defending the rights of Charlie Hebdo upon the paper’s publication of the cartoons in 2006, then French President Jacques Chirac promptly denounced what he termed as “obvious provocations” and warned that “anything that could offend other people’s convictions, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided.”

In this debate between classical Western freedoms and notions of Islamic piety, one of the few French leaders to clearly come down on the side of the former was then Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. “All told, I prefer too much caricature to too much censorship,” Sarkozy dryly remarked.

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