The real meaning of “Je suis Charlie”

Charlie2Having read several dozen articles on the topic and discussed with many people, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what “I am Chalie” actually means.

 

Various religious groups and several (Western) Muslim authors disagree with it as they think it is about unlimited, unhindered free speech and lament double standards that cover “taboo” topics but not their faith. They are wrong.

 

It is about the right to criticize beliefs, including religions and all “components” of those religions. When it comes to real persons or historic facts, different rules apply and free speech can in fact be limited.

 

The current conflict comes from the fact that many people think their religion (incl. their prophets, saints etc.) are subject to the same protection as historic facts or people. According to Western societies, however, religion is an ‘opinion’, and therefore it does not merit any protection from free speech. This is what “Je suis Charlie” means: religions are also subject to irony, sarcasm or outright offense.

 

Racism, defamation, slander and libel are still persecuted by law, which, however, only protects natural or legal persons, but religions are neither.

 

Posted in Other

Leave a Reply

Copyright © Andras Baneth. All Rights Reserved.