Pragmatic dogma: understanding the ideological continuities in Iran's response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks

Barry, James 2016, Pragmatic dogma: understanding the ideological continuities in Iran's response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Islam and christian-muslim relations, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 77-93, doi: 10.1080/09596410.2015.1088746.

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Title Pragmatic dogma: understanding the ideological continuities in Iran's response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks
Author(s) Barry, JamesORCID iD for Barry, James
Journal name Islam and christian-muslim relations
Volume number 27
Issue number 1
Start page 77
End page 93
Total pages 17
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication Abingdon, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 0959-6410
Keyword(s) Charlie Hebdo shooting
Iran – politics
freedom of speech – Europe
religion and politics
Arts & Humanities
Iran - politics
freedom of speech - Europe
Summary Ayatollah Khomeini's 1989 fatwa against Salman Rushdie cemented Iran's space within Western discourses surrounding blasphemy and Islam. The fatwa has earned its place within the polarizing debate between free speech and religious tolerance, which fundamentally serves the political ambitions of those involved. This article therefore argues that, in order to understand accusations of blasphemy in Iran, one must address the political concerns in which the accusation takes place since these reveal Iran's tendency towards pragmatic dogma – the practice of meeting the needs of the state in a way that accords with its religious ideology. The responses of Iranian officials to the Charlie Hebdo killings in 2015 provide a useful case study for the analysis of this pragmatic dogma, since the Islamic Republic pursued a different approach to the Charlie Hebdo “blasphemy” from that which it had followed with Rushdie. Instead of condoning the killings, Iran's political and religious elite chose to condemn the actions of both the cartoonists and the gunmen, without outlining a punishment. The article will argue that this case demonstrates many of the continuing themes in Iran's approach to blasphemy, since the Charlie Hebdo cartoons have largely been used to reinforce the Islamic Republic's overall worldview.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/09596410.2015.1088746
Field of Research 2204 Religion And Religious Studies
Socio Economic Objective 0 Not Applicable
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2016, University of Birmingham
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Alfred Deakin Research Institute
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