This week's editor

Mariam Ali

Mariam Ali is Associate Editor for openDemocracy's Arab Awakening page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Digital Citizenship: from liberal privilege to democratic emancipation

On the anniversary of the Magna Carta, a call for a new debate on the conception of citizenship. Let’s seize the opportunity to transform our utopian dreams into everyday life.

Prisons and radicalization in France

To make prisons less of a locus for radicalization, what is needed is more Muslim ministers, less overcrowding, more wardens and more respect for the legitimate claims of Muslims.

Korrika: the world's biggest language festival?

On March 19, hundreds of thousands of Basque citizens will participate in an initiative that passes a baton from hand to hand without interruption; the same baton that has become a symbol of the Basque language itself.

Global terrorism as anti-movement

In an anti-movement can be found, in perverted fashion, those demands which a movement could have pursued – the call for justice, equality, dignity, respect and ultimately a brighter future.

How European Union switchboard "demoicracy" works

The complexity of the changing nation-state under the duress of globalization is currently snagged on a simplistic drive to fast-forward the past, driven by the desire to stay local.

Home–grown terrorism: a republican failure

The issue of home–grown terrorism, among other factors, is caused by a failure of governments to implement the republican idea of protecting citizens not only from vertical, but also horizontal power imbalances.

What freedom of speech? Of foxes, chickens, and #JeSuisCharlie

Most Europeans, at both elite and mass level, have a grossly inflated idea of the extent of freedom of speech in Europe, a direct consequence of the uncritical and self-congratulatory discourse on the topic.

France's identity crisis: seeds of change

The traumatic attacks in Paris provoked agonised public debate. But to be productive this needs to range more deeply through France's colonial history and modern society. 

No, we are NOT all Charlie: your view

Cas Mudde's article on the Charlie Hebdo attacks went viral. Here's what some of you had to say in the comments.

Charlie Hebdo numero 1178: all is forgiven?

Mutual recognition between people and cultures moves in mysterious ways, the cartoon its Rorschach test. 

Charlie Hebdo: We no longer dream of the Republic. France needs a renewal of faith

Were the demonstrations of January 11 the signs of a Republican renewal? No. Less than a third of the Republic's work is done.

Free speech in the French Republic

Since the touchstone of a free speech regime is in how well it protects speech that most find revolting, its defenders have to be willing to speak also for those whose opinions they don’t find respectable.

Redefining laïcité: French integration and the radical right

Perhaps it is not the Muslim communities of France that must change, so much as the notion of laïcité.

Charlie Hebdo: stop pointing fingers and drop the reductive approach

It is time everyone stopped intentionally misinforming audiences with uninformed rudimentary analyses.

Charlie Hebdo and the right to offend

The right to offend, which the French secular republic with its long tradition of anti-clericalist satire holds particularly dear, is in everyday conflict with the values of the republic’s second largest religion.

Je Suis Hypocrite?



Surely #JeSuisCharlie was more than just a convenient slogan for the day?


Charlie Hebdo – one week later

It has been exhausting having to confront the visceral divisions among us about the nature of what happened, the roles of religion, geopolitics, and racism. And the possibility that the west, thinking it ‘is Charlie’, has been spitting on their graves.

Letter from Paris

My friends and I, either in the past or more recently, all had some kind of personal and/or activist link with people among the victims…

Charlie Hebdo and western denial

The recent attacks in Paris were the latest round in a conflict of violence, not of “values”. The primary perpetrators of this violence are western states, with Islamist terrorism representing an inevitable blowback.  

Charlie Hebdo: justice for all

I am for leaving believers in peace. Believers are individuals like any other, neither superior, nor inferior to atheists or agnostics. 

A silent cry in the crowded streets of Bilbao

Once again, thousands have marched in the city of Bilbao to protest the "policy of dispersal" against Basque prisoners and call for their repatriation.

#QuiSommesNous? A Socratic dialogue on “L’Affaire Charlie Hebdo”

Freedoms are not unlimited but who, when and how can we limit them? Two colleagues agree to disagreeContent warning: graphic and potentially offensive imagery, including torture.

I am not Charlie

The Danish cartoons were assembled to humiliate a vulnerable minority. In subsequent debates, the idea of freedom of speech has been subverted to undermine the right of Muslims to speak up on their own behalf.

The Paris demo: I was there

Some say they have understood this call: only the future will tell. But the future is now. 

Charlie Hebdo: the Prophet does not want to be avenged

Those who hold Muslims accountable for these acts, or demand that they apologize for them, are delusional. Beyond Europe, Al-Qaeda has declared open war against most Arab and Muslim-majority countries, especially those allied to the west. 

Charlie Hebdo, refuse the logic of war

European governments and civil society can respond to terrorism by affirming and building democratic institutions and thereby refusing the logic of war. Initially, this seemed to be the French civic reaction.

Bernard Maris, the fury of capitalism and the fury of terrorism

Have we been reduced to the 'clash of civilizations' where, in the name of security, a state of emergency forces all to close ranks in a staged, imaginary conflict where all possibility of dissent is erased? In memoriam.

Six (possibly) civilising uses of incivility

Civilisation depends on some incivility, carefully applied. It depends also on civility, liberally applied

"Support the right to make fun of extremists": an interview with Caroline Fourest

We are facing a political threat, a totalitarian Islamist threat that manifests in terrorism. Journalists are defending something which is elementary to our democracy: our freedom to breathe and to laugh.

Charlie Hebdo: Free speech, but not as an absolute value

Debates over what limits to free speech are acceptable are entirely valid – whether or not we approve of Charlie Hebdo images, or their mass republication on numerous websites this week. 

How Muslim are the Muslim terrorists?

If a person chooses to identify as a Muslim, we do not question her identity because that is disrespectful, especially if we are not Muslims ourselves.

No, we’re not all Charlie Hebdo, nor should we be

I respect your right to show solidarity with the victims of this horrible crime by reposting those drawings, but only if you respect my right not to do so because I happen to find them bigoted and incendiary.

When words have meaning and history goes both ways

The massive police hunt for French Islamic terrorists responsible for the attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, January 7, has come to a bloody end this Friday afternoon.

On Charlie Hebdo, freedom of speech, terrorism, and the value of lives

Muslims, especially in France, have nothing to apologize for. This does not mean they shouldn't take a stance and condemn these acts of violence. But they should not apologize.

Charlie Hebdo, a non-clash of civilisations

The Charlie Hebdo attack was an act of violence by deranged individuals. It should not be interpreted as a replay of the Huntingtonian clash of civilisations, somehow justifying past stigmatisation and future backslash against Muslim populations.

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