French magazine’s Aylan cartoon sparks controversy

Charlie Hebdo faces harsh criticism after caricature associating drowned Syrian toddler with sexual assaults in Germany

Photo by: AA (Archive)
Photo by: AA (Archive)

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is again criticised for its cartoons targeting refugees

French magazine Charlie Hebdo has caused an international uproar after a cartoon in its latest edition appears to link the drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi with those who committed sex attacks in German cities on New Year’s Eve. 

The caricature shows a drawing of the boy’s drowned body on one side and a depiction of two men chasing women on the other side.

Kurdi’s body had washed ashore on Turkey's southwestern Bodrum coast last September. The images of him lying face down on the beach had prompted international outcry, making him the symbol of the refugee crisis.

"What would little Aylan have grown up to be? A bum groper in Germany,” the caption read.  

More than 600 criminal complaints were recorded related to assaults on women in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve. Among 32 people who were identified as committing the assaults, 22 of them were asylum-seekers.

This is not the first time “Charlie Hebdo” has been denounced for its illustrations on Kurdi. Two cartoons following the toddler’s death were defined as “racist and xenophobic” by social media users, while others defended them, pointing out the aim was to draw attention to Europe’s failure concerning the refugee crisis.

The magazine's current publishing director, Laurent Sourisseau, nicknamed Riss, is the author of the recent contentious cartoon, which has drawn major criticism on social media. 

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