Open Letter on Blasphemy, Islamophobia, and the True Enemies of Free Expression

Open Letter on Blasphemy, Islamophobia, and the True Enemies of Free Expression

Book - 2016
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An impassioned defense of the freedom of speech, from St?phane Charbonnier, a journalist murdered for his convictions

On January 7, 2015, two gunmen stormed the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. They took the lives of twelve men and women, but they called for one man by name: "Charb."

Known by his pen name, St?phane Charbonnier was editor in chief of Charlie Hebdo, an outspoken critic of religious fundamentalism, and a renowned political cartoonist in his own right. In the past, he had received death threats and had even earned a place on Al Qaeda's "Most Wanted List." On January 7 it seemed that Charb's enemies had finally succeeded in silencing him. But in a twist of fate befitting Charb's defiant nature, it was soon revealed that he had finished a book just two days before his murder on the very issues at the heart of the attacks: blasphemy, Islamophobia, and the necessary courage of satirists.

Here, published for the first time in English, is Charb's final work. A searing criticism of hypocrisy and racism, and a rousing, eloquent defense of free speech, Open Letter shows Charb's words to be as powerful and provocative as his art. This is an essential book about race, religion, the voice of ethnic minorities and majorities in a pluralistic society, and above all, the right to free expression and the surprising challenges being leveled at it in our fraught and dangerous time.
Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2016.
Edition: First English language edition.
ISBN: 9780316311335
0316311332
Characteristics: xiv, 82 pages ; 19 cm.

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Oh, what a little gem of a book! Completed TWO DAYS before he and 11 colleagues were brutally assassinated by Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamists, on 2015-01-07. This is Charb's Last Will and Testament. This edition has a 7-page Foreword by Montreal-raised Adam Gopnik. His life may have been snuffed out by fanatics in the name of a cruel, jealous, and intolerant god, and a fundamentally insecure self-appointed prophet, but Charb's irreverent words will live on, and his logic is unassailable: individuals or groups of people who cannot observe their founding myths through the lens of humour are to be pitied, even if their random acts of theologically sanctioned violence are simultaneously feared. Religions have come, and religions have gone. The day will come when Saudi Arabia's oil will no longer be needed, and the funding for Islamic killers will dry up. If Iran and Pakistan and North Korea, and the USA have not already blown up the world, it would be nice to come back to life and observe a less frightened world....

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