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Free Content Caricaturizing Freedom: Islam, Offence, and The Danish Cartoon Controversy

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I argue in this paper that the publication of cartoons caricaturing Islam by Jyllands- Posten is problematic for a number of reasons. First, within liberal political theory itself, there are reasonable arguments that the depictions (at least two) perpetuate prejudice and verge on hate speech. Second, such depictions weaken the social conditions that make possible a thriving democracy (i.e., participation) by marginalizing the already marginalized. Moreover, the caricatures perpetuate an Orientalist discourse about the nature of Islam and the non-West, and hinder global intercultural dialogue and understanding between nations.

Keywords: Danish cartoon controversy; Islam; freedom of speech; intercultural dialogue

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/safm.1.1.173_1

Affiliations: Wilfrid Laurier University.

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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  • Studies in South Asian Film and Media (SAFM) is the most promising new journal in the field. This peer-reviewed publication is committed to looking at the media and cinemas of the Indian subcontinent in their social, political, economic, historical, and increasingly globalized and diasporic contexts. The journal will evaluate these topics in relation to class, caste, gender, race, sexuality, and ideology.
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