Multiculturalism & The Charlie Hebdo Attack

Multiculturalism & The Charlie Hebdo Attack

What exactly is the connection (if any) between the two? 

By Professor Sune Laegaard (Roskilde University)

January 7, 2016          Picture: Penn State/Flickr.

This article is part of The Critique’s Great War Series Part II: Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech & Religious Violence Exclusive.


Much of the debate following the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015 amounted to predictable re-runs of discussions about limits to free speech that have become standard fare after the Danish Mohammed Cartoons but date all the way back to the Satanic Verses controversy. Many commentators saw the attack as confirmation of their already settled view about free speech and religion, toleration and offense. To people in favor of limits to free speech, the magazine’s transgressions of these limits explained the attack, even if they did not justify it. To opponents of limits to free speech, the attack showed that one cannot pacify Islamists by restraining one’s speech and therefore that one shouldn’t [See Biggar, Cohen-Almagor, Pinto, Jones & Cliteur for divergent views on the free speech debate].

These debates often take the form of crude dichotomies – either you are for completely unrestricted speech or you agree with the terrorists, for example – which reduce many different questions to one and ignore the spectrum of possible positions. But the attack also raised a different question about the possible connection between the attack and multiculturalism: did the attack show anything about what we should think of multiculturalism? This is a more general and less predictable debate, which I focus on here.

While many commentators did connect the Charlie Hebdo attack and multiculturalism, it was often not very clear what the connection was supposed to be. It was unclear both a) what the connection was supposed to be and b) what sense of multiculturalism the attacks were supposedly related to. As long as these two questions are not answered, it is impossible to address the issue about multiculturalism and the Charlie Hebdo attack.

To get clearer about this complicated issue, we must distinguish between both different senses of multiculturalism and different ways in which there might be a connection between the attack and a given sense of multiculturalism. Only once the different senses of multiculturalism and possible claims about the link between multiculturalism and the Charlie Hebdo attack are explicated and distinguished can we proceed to a more substantial discussion of the significance of the attack for multiculturalism. I will therefore articulate and distinguish some importantly different understandings of ‘multiculturalism’ and then discuss different claims about the possible connection between the Charlie Hebdo attack and the different senses of multiculturalism.


Descriptive senses of multiculturalism

It is first of all necessary to distinguish between two fundamentally different senses of multiculturalism (Lægaard 2013: 171-175) [1]. One is a descriptive sense, where the label ‘multicultural’ simply is used to denote the fact that a given society (or state, city, university etc.) is diverse in certain ways classified as ‘cultural’. So to say that France is a multicultural country is to say that it is culturally diverse.

Cultural diversity can mean different things depending on what one fills in to the notion of ‘cultural’. When people talk about cultural diversity they usually have specific differences in mind. Whereas the salient differences in a Canadian context, where the notion of multiculturalism was coined, are the differences between English and French language and between indigenous peoples and the majority population, the salient differences in Europe concern something else. When Europeans talk about multiculturalism they have differences due to immigration in mind. So to say that France is a multicultural country usually is to say that it houses large numbers of immigrants and their descendants.

But not all immigration is thought of as an instance of multiculturalism. Exchange students from North America and internal working migrants within the European Union, e.g. skilled workers from Eastern Europe exercising the right to free movement of labor within the common market, are not usually categorized as cases of multiculturalism. Rather, multiculturalism debates concern specific groups which are thought different in salient ways from the majority of the population. These differences are often labelled ‘cultural’, but they might equally be ethnic or religious.


Normative senses of multiculturalism

The other main sense of multiculturalism is normative. This denotes specific political views about how diversity should be handled by the state or society. So normative multiculturalism is a response to descriptive multiculturalism, but it consist in evaluative and prescriptive claims about what we should do, what a good multicultural society consists in, and what rights cultural minorities should have. We furthermore only count political responses to descriptive diversity as instances of multiculturalism if they somehow accommodate the kind of diversity in question. So multicultural policies are policies which support, recognize or otherwise accommodate minority groups.

A society can be multicultural in the descriptive sense without being multicultural in the normative sense, e.g. if it include sizeable minority groups but does not accommodate or recognize these groups in any way. This has often been the case in Europe, where many countries have resisted the notion that they are ‘countries of immigration’ at all (a label reserved for countries like Canada, the US and Australia).

“A society can be multicultural in the descriptive sense without being multicultural in the normative sense”

According to common conceptualizations of multiculturalism, ordinary liberal policies such as non-discrimination and individual rights do not count as multicultural policies. Multiculturalism policies are rather understood as policies that ‘go beyond’ standard liberal rights and which are furthermore group-differentiated. Examples include special exemptions for specific groups from generally applicable laws, e.g. dispensations from animal welfare legislation in order to conduct ritual slaughter or from traffic safety requirements in order for Sikhs to wear turbans rather than safety helmets. Multicultural policies can also take the form of official recognition with the symbolic function of acknowledging the presence of minority groups and their status as members of society, or special support for minority cultures.


Causal connections between multiculturalism and the attack

Regarding the question about the possible connection between multiculturalism and the Charlie Hebdo attack we can similarly distinguish between different kinds of connections. I will distinguish between whether the supposed connection is causal or of some other, non-causal, kind.

A causal connection would mean that multiculturalism and the attack relate as cause and effect. The most obvious version of such a claim would be that the attack is an effect of multiculturalism. This minimally means that, had we not had multiculturalism, the attack would not have happened. But it must mean more than this, for the same could be said about a lot of other things, e.g. the Charlie Hebdo itself, the existence of which is also a necessary precondition for the attack. So to say that multiculturalism is a cause of the attack must also mean that there is some specific connection between multiculturalism and the attack that somehow made the attack happen.

If the claim is that multiculturalism was the cause of the attack, we must then specify which sense of multiculturalism is at play in this claim. The first understanding is the claim that descriptive multiculturalism, i.e. the fact of diversity, caused the attack. As noted above, multiculturalism can denote many different forms of diversity. If this claim is to have any plausibility it has to be specified so as to pick out the specific types of difference that characterize the attackers and which sets them apart from Charlie Hebdo and French mainstream society.

The attackers, Cherif and Said Kouachi, can be categorized as different from French mainstream society in many ways. They were not immigrants, but born in France of Algerian descent. They were ethnically different and came from a Muslim religious background. This was understandably made central to the framing of the attack, not least because they shouted that they had avenged the Prophet Muhammed, who had been the object of several cartoons in Charlie Hebdo. So there is a salient religious difference, which apparently was seen by the attackers as the relevant difference that motivated the attack.

Jean Baptiste Roux/Flickr
Jean Baptiste Roux/Flickr

Multiculturalism is about groups delimited on the basis of specific differences, e.g. in terms of ethnicity or religion. So if the claim is that multiculturalism was the cause of the attack, this means that the presence in France of these specific groups, Muslims, or Muslims of Algerian or Maghrebian origin, caused the attack.

While it is trivially true that, had there been no Muslims of Algerian descent in France, then the Kouachi brothers would not have been there to attack Charlie Hebdo, it is also clear that the mere presence of even sizeable groups of Muslims due to immigration does not in itself cause attacks like the one on Charlie Hebdo. There have been Muslims in France for decades without something comparable happening and the vast majority of Muslims do not engage in such attacks. So while descriptive multiculturalism is a necessary condition for the attack, since the attackers came from a minority group, it is far from a sufficient condition or a full explanation of why the attack took place.

“It is clear that the mere presence of even sizeable groups of Muslims due to immigration does not in itself cause attacks like the one on Charlie Hebdo”.

Many commentators have pointed to a range of other explanatory factors. Some point to facts, not about France or Europe, but about the broader Arab and Muslim world. Seyla Benhabib (2015) [2] for instance diagnoses the attacks as extreme expressions of ‘Muslim rage and Arab Muslim civilizational despair’ over the general situation in the Middle East. Anna Triandafyllidou (2015) [3] argues that ‘the seeds of minority Muslim youth recruitment in Europe’, of which the Charlie Hebdo attack is one expression, ‘has more to do with today’s global-local connections rather than with failed integration’. Something like this has to supplement the appeal to the mere presence of Muslims in France as an explanation of the attack.

Jean Baptiste Roux/Flickr
Jean Baptiste Roux/Flickr

But there is a further complication having to do with the fact that ‘the presence of Muslims in France’ is not a simple fact, but a description which is chosen over other alternative descriptions of the same state of affairs, and which is accompanied by a range of political assumptions, connotations and contextually dependent meanings, e.g. that Muslims are potential terrorists.

The description of diversity has changed over time in most European countries – people who in the sixties and seventies were labelled and thought of as guest workers, were re-conceptualized as permanent immigrants. Additionally there has also been a change in the specifying descriptions used to distinguish between different groups of immigrants. Where immigrants were mainly differentiated on the basis of their country of origin up till the eighties, they have subsequently been re-categorized on the basis of whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims (Malik 2015) [4]. So the claim that there are Muslims in France, while true, is not a neutral fact, but a choice of one specific description over others that equally well pick out the same group of people.

This change in categorization has happened in response to political developments and is therefore associated with surplus meanings in addition to the mere fact that some people are Muslims. The Iranian revolution was among the first of these political events which influenced the understanding of Islam and Muslims, but in the French context the headscarf affair from 1989 and onwards is central, and was merely enforced by the 2001 attacks and subsequent developments. This means that the category ‘Muslim’ is associated with potential terrorism and is seen in large parts of French and European society as more or less inherently in tension with liberal democracy in general and secular French republicanism in particular.

So to the extent that it makes sense to say that the presence of Muslims in France is part of the causes of the attack, this might in turn partly be due to the way in which French society has chosen to categorize immigrants as Muslims rather than, e.g., Maghrebians, and especially due to the way in which Muslims have then been framed as a political problem and threat to French society. In other words, while the presence of Muslims might be part of the cause of the attack, this might in turn be partly due to the French discourse about Muslims.

The upshot is that the first version of the claim that there is a connection between multiculturalism and the attacks, namely the claim that descriptive multiculturalism caused the attacks, is on the one hand true, but only in a fairly trivial and inadequate sense. On the other hand there might in turn be explanations for this that actually place part of the responsibility with French society rather than with Muslims. In any case the crucial explanatory work will have to be done by other causal factors than descriptive multiculturalism.


Normative multiculturalism as the cause

One such alternative explanation of the attack could be normative multiculturalism. This would then be the claim that multiculturalism ideology or policies were the cause of the attack. The postulated connection is still causal, but the supposed cause is now not the fact of diversity but the policy responses to this diversity. Kenan Malik (2015) [4] elaborates a version of this line of explanation. Malik recounts how French policies have ‘treated North African immigrants and their descendants in a “multicultural” way—as a single community, primarily a Muslim one’ and how these policies have led young Muslims to express their grievances through identity politics, e.g. through radical Islamism like that fuelling the attack.

Valentina Calà /Flickr.
Valentina Calà /Flickr.

While this is true and important, it faces one problem as a justification for the claim that normative multiculturalism caused the attack, namely that France – more than any other European country – has explicitly and vocally rejected multiculturalism both as ideology, policy and rhetoric (Shachar 2015) [5]. When Malik writes that French policies have treated minorities in a multicultural way, this paradoxically means the opposite of what normative multiculturalism prescribes. Malik points to the discursive identification of all North African immigrants as ‘Muslims’ and the systematic exclusion and disregard of racism and discrimination directed at them. But normative multiculturalism aims at precisely the opposite, namely inclusion, recognition and support with a view to equality and acceptance of differences. To Malik, any categorization of people in cultural or religious groups is a form of multiculturalism, whether this happens to immobilize these groups politically, as Malik argues has been the actual aim of British municipal multiculturalism; whether it has taken the form of officially exclusionary policies as the German policies governing Gastarbeiter; or whether it is an informal discursive exclusion, like in France.

“France – more than any other European country – has explicitly and vocally rejected multiculturalism both as ideology, policy and rhetoric”

So the claim that normative multiculturalism was the cause of the attack is immediately and clearly false on any ordinary understanding of normative multiculturalism. Malik’s diagnosis could rather support the opposite claim, namely that the attack was caused by the absence of multiculturalism policies, which, it might be argued, could have addressed and perhaps pre-empted some of the grievances that might be part of the motivating factors behind the attack. Even if this is too strong a claim (one can, after all, not infer from the fact that the attack happened during an absence of multiculturalism policies that such policies would have prevented the attack), it at least shows that the claim that the attack was caused by normative multiculturalism is wrong.


Non-causal connections between multiculturalism and the attack

Rather than claiming that multiculturalism caused the attack, one could think that the attack had some other form of connection to multiculturalism. One such non-causal connection could be a constitutive one. This would then be a claim that, although multiculturalism did not cause the attack (at least not in any interesting sense), the attack nevertheless showed something about what multiculturalism consists in or involves. In order to assess this type of claim, we again need to consider whether the sense of multiculturalism involved is descriptive or normative and then to reflect on what the connection more precisely is supposed to be in each case.

If we start out by considering a descriptive sense of multiculturalism, i.e. the sense of multiculturalism denoting the fact of diversity, how could the attack show something about what multiculturalism consists in? One proposal could be that the attack showed how the diversity characterizing European multiculturalism is not just a decorative ‘boutique multiculturalism’ (Fish 1997) [6] which diversifies and adds color to the ordinary European cultural palette. Rather than an addition to ordinary liberal democracy and market capitalism, multiculturalism involves, it might be claimed, fundamental disagreements about both political institutions and forms of social interaction. The attack was of course a conspicuous and radical expression of a non-liberal and non-civil orientation. But this shows how diversity is not just a surface phenomenon having to do with modes of dress, cuisine and ‘culture’, but involves fundamental fissures and divisions. The connection between multiculturalism and the attack could be that the attack showed the true depth of diversity and the possible consequences of introducing this kind of diversity into European societies. Rather than trying to explain the attack with reference to the fact of diversity, this claim instead uses the attack to explain the depth of multicultural diversity and what this might entail. As such it might be understood in quite different ways.

One is in an alarmist way, which boils down to an identification of diversity and terrorism. This claim, while unfortunately not uncommon in ordinary public debates, is clearly a wild overstatement that cannot be taken seriously as such. Europe has witnessed far more separatist terrorism due to independence movements such as those in the Basque country, Northern Ireland and Corsica, than Islamist groups (Europol 2015) [7]. Even though the Madrid and London bombings were unusually violent and dramatic, this is not something unknown to Europe either, which witnessed similar radical terrorist attacks perpetrated by especially militant leftists during the seventies. So the alarmist version of the claim should not be accepted.

A more cautious version of the claim might be that the diversity characteristic of multiculturalism, i.e. the diversity due to immigration from especially the Middle East, involves disagreement in terms of values [See Clarke for discussion of sacred values & the Charlie Hebdo attack]. This is an empirical claim that has to be substantiated, e.g. with reference to value-surveys comparing immigrant populations and native Europeans. Without going in to these contested empirical issues, it is at least safe to say that it is certainly not the case that all immigrants from the Middle East are, e.g., opposed to liberal democracy – just as there clearly are segments of native Europeans who are opposed to liberal democracy. The great majority of first generation immigrants to Europe precisely come here to escape illiberal and undemocractic states and support liberal democracy, and European societies have themselves spawned illiberal and undemocratic groups spanning from neo-Nazis and revolutionary leftists to avowedly illiberal regimes like Victor Orban’s Fidesz led government in Hungary. So even this more cautious version of the claim can at most be a matter of degree – and even then it is a controversial claim in need of substantive empirical support.

A third version of the claim would retain the insight that diversity is not just about superficial cultural practices but jettison both the alarmism and the claim about fundamental differences between immigrants and native Europeans. The claim would then simply be that the attack alerts us to aspects of diversity that are often either overlooked entirely (by proponents of multiculturalism who focus only on cultural differences) or exaggerated and overstated (e.g. by proponents of the clash of civilization thesis and similar views, cf. Huntington 2002) [8]. Diversity is not just a matter of cultural practices, national origin or visible skin color. It goes deeper than this, but does so in multiple intersecting ways. One has to do with underlying values and beliefs. As noted, the Kouachi brothers themselves framed the attack in religious, and more precisely in Islamist terms. This framing is crucial but it should not be uncritically accepted or left to stand alone. There are many Islamists who never go as far as the Kouachi brothers did, and many explanations for why precisely they in fact carried out the attack links the availability of narratives about a clash between Islam and western liberal democracy to additional factors such as urban segregation, socio-economic deprivation and cultural marginalization of immigrants living in the French banlieus (see e.g. Hansen 2015 and Reitz 2015) [9]. So the attack shows how religious difference in general and Islamist views in particular are part of the ‘super-diversity’ characterizing European multiculturalism (Vertovec 2007) [10].


The attack and normative multiculturalism

I have now considered some ways in which the attack might be thought to show something about descriptive multiculturalism. What about normative multiculturalism; does the attack tell us anything about what normative multiculturalism consists in or involves?

Normative multiculturalism denotes views about which policies the state should adopt to accommodate minority groups. But there is quite a lot of disagreement on exactly which policies a multicultural state should adopt. Some proponents of multiculturalism link protection of minorities to debates on free speech. Since the attack was directed at a prominent venue for free speech, it is relevant to consider whether the attack tells us anything about such forms of normative multiculturalism.

If multiculturalism has implication for free speech policy, and if the attack forces us to take a specific stance on free speech, then the attacks might show normative multiculturalism to be mistaken. But this presupposes both that the attack somehow forces us to take a specific stance on free speech and that this is a stance that is in conflict with what multiculturalism requires. But both of these conditions are far from obviously fulfilled.

It is not that clear what, if anything, the attack forces us to think about free speech. All sane people agree that attacks like this are wrong and should be countered by all means – this is simply a matter of public order and security, which is arguably even more fundamental to liberal politics than free speech. Even if the attack was motivated by Charlie Hebdo’s use of free speech, it was first of all wrong because it violated the right to life of the people attacked and because it additionally did this in a way qualifying it as a terrorist attack supposed to generate fear in European societies at large. So a strong commitment to free speech is not necessary to condemn the attacks. It does not follow from the fact that the attack was wrong and should be condemned that we should take any specific stance regarding free speech.

Even if we are, for other reasons, committed to a strong form of free speech – as any liberal democrat should be – we are not thereby committed to agreeing with Charlie Hebdo’s use of free speech (Laborde 2015, Weinstock 2015) [11]. So although it has been widely thought that the attack forces us to take a specific position on free speech, this is not true.

But even if the attack does not in itself force us to take a specific stance as regards free speech, it does occasion a more general reflection on the relationship between free speech and multiculturalism. So what about the other half of the claim, namely that multiculturalism involves a view of free speech which might be in tension with liberal democratic free speech doctrine?

Multiculturalists believe that minority groups should be accommodated with a view to securing their equal citizenship and fair integration into society (Kymlicka 2012; Modood 2010) [12]. So multiculturalism is not, as sometimes alleged, cultural relativism or a defense of segregation and cultural preservation. Multiculturalism is rather based on shared values of equal citizenship, which multiculturalists merely argue require special accommodations for some groups because of the special burdens these groups face as recent arrivals to and minorities within an established majority society.

While some multiculturalists have argued that multicultural accommodation requires laws along the lines of the kind of hate-speech legislation that is already in place in all European countries, but which has historically not been introduced and justified with reference to ideals of multiculturalism, most of the debate has not really been about law at all. According to Tariq Modood, the debate about free speech following the attack ‘has not really been about the right to free speech, but about how to exercise the responsibility that goes with free speech’ (Modood 2015) [13]. So multiculturalism of this kind does not require any additional criminalization of speech mocking or ridiculing religious minorities or their beliefs, but rather asks for more considerate informal norms.

This means that multiculturalism is not just about formal laws but also informal norms of civility (Lægaard 2011) [14]. Just as previously argued with respect to the Danish Cartoons controversy (Lægaard 2014) [15], the notion of civility standards is important to understand debates like those following on the Charlie Hebdo attack. Simone Chambers argues that criticisms of Charlie Hebdo might be understood as a way of questioning its authority to make clear that Charlie Hebdo does not speak for official France or all French citizens, thereby actually lowering the civility standards and thus keeping the utterances within the domain of civility (Chambers 2015) [16]. Because a commitment to free speech does not imply a requirement to agree with actual uses of free speech rights, such criticism can be consistent with liberal principles of free speech.

Multiculturalism is of course also about official acts by the state. But some of these can take the form of symbolic acts rather than coercive legislation. The state can engage in official counter speech to specific views, which might be protected by rights to free speech but which at the same time challenge the civic equality of all citizens (Brettschneider 2012) [17]. So a multicultural state could protect the right to publish cartoons like those from Charlie Hebdo but at the same time officially express the view that Muslims are equal citizens and that the state, by protecting free speech, does not thereby associate itself with utterances that might be understood to express a denial of their civic equality.

Multiculturalism clearly often supports hate-speech legislation. But this does not necessarily make multiculturalism illiberal, since there are arguments for hate-speech legislation on the basis of liberal premises (e.g. Waldron 2012) [18]. And even if multiculturalists call for criminalization of hate-speech, it does not follow that this criminalization should extend to the kind of speech Charlie Hebdo engaged in. While insulting and provoking, it is far from clear that Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons actually constitute hate-speech. The same was the case for the Danish Mohammed Cartoons, which provoked an even greater uproar than the Charlie Hebdo cartoons; even though Denmark has hate-speech legislation, the Danish public prosecutor decided not to charge the publishers of the Mohammed Cartoons for violation of this legal rule, since the cartoons were not deemed to qualify as hate speech (Lægaard 2007: 486) [19]. Whatever the legal facts of the case, liberal justifications for hate-speech legislation like Waldron’s are not based on subjective feelings of offence or on any special importance of religious beliefs, as critics of multiculturalism often assume (Dasgupta 2015) [20], but rather concern the public assurance of civic equality for minority groups, which does not provide an obvious argument for criminalizing cartoons of Mohammed.



I have distinguished between different ways of understanding the claim that there was a connection between the attack and multiculturalism. Most of the versions of the causal claim are either uninteresting or false. The non-causal claims are more plausible, but, unlike what is often assumed, do not ground a criticism of multiculturalism. They rather provide an opportunity to reflect on current challenges that multiculturalism may or may not be part of the solution to.

Footnotes & References

[1] Sune Lægaard (2013), ‘Danish Anti-Multiculturalism? The Significance of the Political Framing of Diversity’, in Peter Kivisto and Östen Wahlbeck (eds), Debating Multiculturalism in the Nordic Welfare States (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 170-196.

[2] Seyla Benhabib, ‘Piety or Rage? On the Charlie Hebdo Massacres’,

[3] Triandafyllidou, Anna (2015), ‘European muslims: caught between local integration challenges and global terrorism discourses’, IAI Working Papers; 2015/15, URL:

[4] Kenan Malik (2015), ‘The Failure of Multiculturalism’, Foreign Affairs 94(2),

[5] Ayelet Shachar, ‘The Search for Equal Membership in the Age of Terror’, in After the Paris Attacks: Responses in Canada, Europe, and around the Globe, ed. Edward M. Iacobucci and Stephen J. Toope (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), pp. 65-73.

[6] Stanley Fish (1997), ‘Boutique Multiculturalism, or Why Liberals Are Incapable of Thinking about Hate Speech’, Critical Inquiry 23(2): 378-395.

[7] Europol (2015), European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2015

[8] Samuel P. Huntington (2002), The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order (New York: Free Press).

[9] Randall Hansen, ‘After Paris: Liberalism, Free Speech, Religion, and Immigration in Europe’, in After the Paris Attacks: Responses in Canada, Europe, and around the Globe, ed. Edward M. Iacobucci and Stephen J. Toope (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), pp. 3-12.

Jeffrey G. Reitz, ‘The Status of Muslim Minorities Following the Paris Attacks’, in After the Paris Attacks: Responses in Canada, Europe, and around the Globe, ed. Edward M. Iacobucci and Stephen J. Toope (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), pp. 21-28.

[10] Steven Vertovec (2007), ‘Super-diversity and its implications’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 30(6): 1024-1054.

[11] Cécile Laborde (2015), ‘Don’t let the Paris murderers win’, UCL European Institute comment, 26 February 2015, ;

Daniel Weinstock, ‘The (messy) ethics of freedom of speech’, In Due Course, January 26, 2015,

[12] Kymlicka, Will (2012), Multiculturalism: Success, Failure, and the Future (Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute) & Tariq Modood (2010), Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea (Cambridge: Polity).

[13] Tariq Modood, ‘In remembering the Charlie Hebdo attack we must not forget the responsibility that goes with free speech’, EUROPP: European Politics and Policy blog

[14] Sune Lægaard (2011), ‘A Multicultural Social Ethos: Tolerance, Respect, or Civility?’ in Diversity in Europe: Dilemmas of differential treatment in theory and practice, ed. Gideon Calder and Emanuela Ceva (Abingdon: Routledge).

[15] Sune Lægaard (2014), ‘The Paradox of Civility: The Case of the Danish Cartoons Controversy’, in Islam and Public Controversy in Europe, ed. Nilufer Göle (Farnham: Ashgate).

[16] Simone Chambers, ‘Free Speech and Civility in Pluralist Societies’, in After the Paris Attacks: Responses in Canada, Europe, and around the Globe, ed. Edward M. Iacobucci and Stephen J. Toope (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), pp. 13-20.

[17] Corey Brettschneider (2012), When the State Speaks, What Should It Say? (Princeton: Princeton University Press).

[18] Jeremy Waldron (2012), The Harm in Hate Speech (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press).

[19] Sune Lægaard (2007), ‘The Cartoon Controversy: Offence, Identity, Oppression?’ Political Studies 55: 481–498.

[20] Kaushik Dasgupta, ‘Misreading Charlie Hebdo: Where Critics Went Wrong with the ‘Muslim’ Question’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol – L No. 2, January 10, 2015,

Sune Lægaard
Sune Lægaard
Sune Lægaard, phd, is associate professor of philosophy at Roskilde University, Denmark. He works on multiculturalism and related issues, such as toleration, recognition, secularism, free speech and issues of immigration. He is also co-editor of the international journal Res Publica, published by Springer.
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