One Year on from Charlie Hebdo

 

Aurelian Mondon, University of Bath

19 January 2016

 

Charlie Hebdo, Republican Secularism and Islamophobia

The events of January 2015 took place in a context where Islamophobia has become increasingly prevalent. The French far right, and the Front National in particular, have found in the stigmatisation of the Muslim community (however loosely defined) an invaluable way to distance itself from their traditional and ideological reliance on crude biological racism, through the use of more insidious forms of culturalism. While their Islamophobia often took an illiberal shape, a more mainstream, acceptable and accepted form has become common place within the political discourse of 21st century France.

The talk examined both trends of Islamophobia in France and their global reach and influences. It put them in the context of the Charlie Hebdo events and the debate surrounding freedom of speech, bringing reactions to the events from France, Europe and the United States highlighting the discrepancies in understanding what has been the most potent ideological signifier in binding liberals and illiberals together in the aftermath of the attacks.