Once a slogan of unity, "Je suis Charlie" now divides France

Today, someone who is Charlie is likely to be white and supporter of the caricatures’ publication. At its extreme, the person may back a strict secularism that at times is a cover for anti-Islam. Someone who’s not Charlie is often nonwhite and opposes the cartoons’ publication. The person could go as far as justifying Islamist terrorism or a ban of all criticism of religion.

Once a slogan that transcended political cleavages, “Je Suis Charlie” has now been largely embraced by the right and created splits on the left.

Gérôme Truc, a sociologist at the National Center for Scientific Research, said the slogan had been steadily weaponized as part of “a political fight that seeks to generate divisions, to distinguish those who are with us and those who are against us