Charlie Hebdo criticised for cartoon ‘mocking drowned Syrian boy’

France’s Charlie Hebdo magazine is courting controversy again – this time with cartoons on migrants.

One drawing plays on the harrowing photo of Aylan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian child whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey after a failed attempt to cross by boat with his family to Greece.

It shows a toddler in shorts and a T-shirt face-down on the shoreline beside an advertising billboard that offers two children’s meal menus for the price of one.

“So close to making it…” the caption says.

Another cartoon has a caption: “Proof that Europe is Christian”.

It shows a Jesus-like figure walking on water, saying “Christians walk on water”.

Alongside him a smaller figure wearing shorts is up-ended in the water, saying: “Muslim children sink”.

So is this racist, hateful and inappropriate as some suggest or a savage indictment of Europe’s failings towards migrants?

Views were mixed on the streets of the French capital.

Parisian Jean-Gibert Kutarba said: “Whether it is Charlie Hebdo or anything else, you can’t joke about it, especially on this topic. It is just too much.”

Not everyone agrees.

“I have got fairly mixed feelings,” said Zineb Khalfallah.

“I understand perfectly Charlie Hebdo’s sense of humour and I know that many French people don’t understand this humour. In my view, it should not be taken literally. It is mocking the European authorities for allowing such horrors.”

The satirical magazine became a symbol of freedom of speech after it was the target of a deadly attack by Islamist militants in January for publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad.

Nonetheless, some asked then. Others are asking now. Has Charlie Hebdo overstepped the mark?

Categories: Toons

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