Charlie Hebdo criticised for drowned Syrian boy illustration

Charlie Hebdo draws criticism worldwide over publishing cartoon illustration of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A seller of newspapers stocks several Charlie Hebdo newspapers at a newsstand in Nice, France

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is denounced worldwide over illustrating the three-year-old Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi who became the symbol of the refugee crisis after drowning while attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos with his family.

Kurdi’s lifeless body was picked up from a beach in Turkey's southwestern Bodrum coast on Sept 2 after he was found lying face down in a red t-shirt.

The first cartoon published by Charlie Hebdo feature Aylan lying face down on a beach with the words ‘so close to his goal…’ written above him. In the background a billboard featuring Ronald McDonald reads, "two children's menus for the price of one."

In the second cartoon that was titled "the proof that Europe is Christian," a figure that looks like Jesus stands on the water, while a figure -presumably meant to be Aylan - has the upper body, including the head buried in the water, as the caption read “Christians walk on water...Muslim kids sink."

The two cartoons were circulated on social media on Tuesday. Some social network users have defended that the images are not mocking the toddler but they draw attention to Europe’s failure over the refugee crisis.

However, many social media users on Facebook and Twitter have condemned Charlie Hebdo for being racist and xenophobic, describing the cartoons as "disgusting" and "unacceptable."

Newspapers including Morocco World News, Toronto Sun, and Daily Mirror also denounced Charlie Hebdo, saying the cartoons about Aylan Kurdi mock the Syrian toddler’s death.

Toronto Sun published a headline that reads "Aylan Kurdi's death mocked by Charlie Hebdo."

British newspaper Daily Mirror published its headline, "Charlie Hebdo publishes cartoons mocking dead Aylan Kurdi with caption 'Muslim children sink.' ”

However, according to Reuters, a spokeswoman from Charlie Hebdo stated that the magazine is unaware of any denouncements filed against it.

The magazine has a history of printing controversial material offending various religious figures including Jews, Christians as well as publishing derogatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.

Its headquarters in Paris was attacked on January 7 2015, when two masked gunmen stormed into the office killing 12 people including a police officer.


TRTWorld and agencies