Freedom of Speech in Doubt after Charlie Hebdo Attack

Rally following the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Place de la Republique on January 11, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

By Junryu Fu January 12th 2015

PARIS –The center of discussion after the inhumane act of shooting was, that Charlie Hebdo incident was a direct response by some Muslim influenced people, to the publication’s offensive “hate speech” towards Islamic community.

Charlie Hebdo was know to have repeatedly published controversial depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, which is heavily banned in Islam. “There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity…and it can not be offended under the name of free speech.”, Pope Francis commented following the attack. Additionally, Muslim community has mentioned the publication as “insulting”, provoking discomfort and feeling its religion was “made fun of”. For some people, they wouldn’t think this way because Muslim people are the ones getting targeted upon a sensitive matter.

From Muslim perspective, “hate speech” could be the definition of Charlie Hebdo‘s publication, inciting  mockery, disrespect and discrimination, based on their religion. And even if we don’t perceive as offensive, essential thing is that they do. As David Brooks responded in NYT, drawing a line in “free speech” would go against the very definition of “free speech”, rather “censorship”. But the reality is, we all hate being mocked, insulted, disrespected, and we would feel the same way when we face something similar. Contemplating on drawing a certain line in Freedom of Speech is something we need to work towards as a society.