New Charlie Hebdo Cartoons ‘Mock’ Death of Syrian Refugees

New Charlie Hebdo Cartoons ‘Mock’ Death of Syrian Refugees


Infamous for its controversial and often offensive cartoons, the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo has published two cartoons in its latest issue, allegedly mocking the death of three-year-old Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi whose body had washed up on a Turkish shore earlier this month.

The first image, which can be seen on the cover of the magazine, depicts a drawing of the now iconic picture of little Aylan, with the caption ‘So close to his goal’, and a headline above that reads ‘Welcome to migrants!’.

The second image, entitled ‘Proof that Europe is Christian’, shows a child upside down in the water while a man next to him – supposedly Jesus – stands on the water and says ‘Christians walk on water, Muslim kids sink’.

With growing worldwide attention to and sympathy for the refugees crisis, the cartoons have been met with vast online criticism, stirring debate and controversy over the drawings. While some people labeled the images as offensive, others commented that the cartoons are an honest, satirical reflection of how the French view migrants.

According to the Independent, Maajid Nawaz, founder of the think-tank Quilliam, commented on Facebook saying: “Taste is always in the eye of the beholder. But these cartoons are a damning indictment on our anti-refugee sentiment.

“The McDonald’s image is a searing critique of heartless European consumerism in the face of one of the worst human tragedies of our times.

“The image about Christians walking on water while Muslims drown is (so obviously) critiquing hypocritical European Christian “love”.

“Fellow Muslims, not everything and everyone are against us, every time. But if we keep assuming they are by reacting like this, they will surely become so.

However, on the other hand, Peter Herbert, chair of the Society of Black Lawyers, has tweeted that the organization is likely to sue Charlie Hebdo before the International Criminal Court, considering to their latest cartoons as “an incitement to hate crime”.

On January 7 2015, 11 people were killed when two gunmen stormed the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. Al-Qaida in Yemen took responsibility for the attack and cited controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed as the reason for the onslaught.

The violent attack caused a global outrage that resulted in mass demonstrations across the world. On social media, many people adopted the phrase ‘Je suis Charlie’ (French for ‘I am Charlie’) to express their support for the magazine and freedom of speech in general.
Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau, the artist who drew the latest controversial cartoons, is said to be under 24-hour police protection since the January attack. Sourisseau was hit in the shoulder during the shooting and has since taken on the role of acting editor of the magazine.

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Ester Meerman is an independent journalist who has been reporting from Egypt since January 2011.

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