Where to draw the line between freedom of speech and incitement of hatred was the main question discussed at an exhibition and panel discussion on the post Charlie Hebdo events, organized by the AAU Department of International Relations . The event took place Thursday, Feb. 26.
Daniela Lences Chalaniova, an AAU professor, opened the discussion with a presentation of Daniel Cagel’s political cartoons and his fellow cartoonists from Cagel.com website.
Cartoons are predominantly targeted at the rise of radical Islamic activism on the European continent, social reaction to the events in Paris and Copenhagen, and rising anxiety among citizenry.
“Pencil is becoming mightier than the sword,” according to Chalaniova. Clement Steuer from Oriental Institute and Czech Academy of Science continued with explaining the reaction of the French community to the Charlie Hebdo attack, and the perception of Islam in France.
Steuer argued that the French-Muslim relations have roots in 19th century since establishing the first colonies in Northern Africa. The French Empire has significantly contributed to deislamization of African states using propaganda and violence. Regardless the religious neutrality, France is still fighting with xenophobia and racist movements.
The last speaker, Jakub Janda, a representative from European Values think-tank, spoke on the value of freedom of expression and possible policies that should be taken regarding past events.
“Freedom of speech is under attack, and not metaphorically,” said Janda.
In order to issue reasonable and effective policies towards radical Islamists it is necessary to set a discussion in political space and question every idea. Moreover, decisions should be scrutinized in order not to repeat the mistakes of the Bush administration after 9/11.
After-panel discussion was mostly about the misperception of Muslims in Europe and misuses of religious figures for personal political ideology, both by the West and the Islamists. The public discussed incredible increase in support of far right parties and problems with immigration policies of the EU.