French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s latest cartoon has been described as “disgusting”, “insensitive”, and “racist” by social media users for suggesting drowned three-year-old Alan Kurdi would have grown up to be a sexual predator.
Under the heading of “Migrants”, the cartoon shows two pig-like men with their tongues out chasing two scared women. Above the image, a small cartoon of Alan’s lifeless body is depicted with the question “What would little Aylan had grown up to be?” Under the cartoon, the answer is stated as “An ass groper in Germany.”
The cartoon implies that all refugees would either become or already are sexual predators, referring to the recent sexual attacks on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany.
Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian toddler, drowned and his body washed up on a Turkish shore in September 2015. The young boy’s death resulted in global outrage and even encouraged Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris to offer to buy an island for refugees.
#JeNeSuisPasCharlie – @Charlie_Hebdo_ you had the condolences of the world and you repay that with tasteless racism and vulgar disrespect.
— Gary Davis (@gary_davis) January 14, 2016
The unbelievably sick Charlie Hebdo, making fun of Aylan Kurdi, once again. Shameless! #JeNeSuisPasCharlie https://t.co/LBBJKUwN28
— Hira (@hira_haroon) January 13, 2016
Disgusting cartoon in Charlie Hebdo (“what would’ve become of Aylan had he grown up? A groper”) via @faizaz pic.twitter.com/iB4myFb1ke
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) January 13, 2016
In response to the cartoon, social media users have reacted angrily, calling it an irresponsible and disgusting act. Some users even tweeted #JeNeSuisPasCharlie (#IAmNotCharlie), citing the popular hashtag #JeSuisCharlie that went viral after the magazine’s offices were attacked last year.
Others said that the cartoon may be combating stereotypes about racism by pointing out absurdities. However, the majority, including journalists and writers, have called the cartoon outrageous.
This is not the first time Charlie Hebdo has used Alan Kurdi in a cartoon. Last year, a cartoon showed Alan with his face down in the sand and a McDonald’s-like-sign stating “Welcome to migrants! So close to the goal. Promotional offer: kids menu two for the price of one.”
Another cartoon appeared to mock migrants by showing a man – supposedly Jesus – standing on water while a child is drowning. The image was captioned “Christians walk on water, Muslim kids sink.”
The latest cartoon comes a week after the anniversary of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris. 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.