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The ultimate flowchart guide to having an opinion on Charlie Hebdo

Bengali writings translator Arunava Sinha helpfully compiled all the arguments surrounding the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in one flowchart:

This checks out. Debates on Charlie Hebdo have repeatedly gone back and forth on whether free speech rights should be absolute, whether or when the media should publish potentially offensive cartoons or other forms of speech, and the role of radical Islam in Europe.

But as the "however" step shows, these discussions often seem more about justifying Islamophobia against everyday Muslims, who are just as overwhelmingly peaceful as every other religious group, than they are about protecting rights that are seriously endangered.

This section of Sinha's chart could plausibly also include "however" lines making similarly sweeping judgements of Western society, such as, "The West is hypocritical" or, "Western society must reform itself."

But the final "and yet" section nails the most over-rehearsed cliché of them all: citing the famous quote from Voltaire's biographer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall, to argue that free speech is good but racism is bad, which is a great sentiment but does not quite resolve the issues at stake here.

Further readingVox got no threats for posting Charlie Hebdo cartoons, dozens for covering Islamophobia.

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