On innocence: Blasphemy, pan-Islam and the uneven mediation of utopia

On Barak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter suggests that despite the fact that they are typically couched against one another, human rights and key horizons and sensibilities of contemporary Islamism should not be viewed as incompatible spheres, but rather as homologues, and as significant others. One of the only channels open for the post-revolutionary entry of Islamists into instrumental politics was also one of the avenues most ill-suited to accommodate it - the Egyptian legal system. Under Islamist government, more than two dozen blasphemy cases have gone to trial, and nearly all defendants have been found guilty. A typical incident and one of the most prominent cases to arrive to court just before the Innocence of the Muslims outrage was the case of a Christian teacher Bishoy Kamel from Sohag in central Egypt. Many of the factors that contributed to the global firestorm around Innocence of the Muslims could be traced back to the medium specificity of the video’s production and dissemination.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedia and Utopia
Subtitle of host publicationHistory, Imagination and Technology
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781351558709
ISBN (Print)9781138962644
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


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