France : Outrage over Charlie Hebdo’s refugee cartoons

September 16, 2015 3:00 am


cartoon. Photo / Twitter

Charlie Hebdo is facing legal action after publishing a series of
allegedly racist and hateful cartoons mocking the death of Syrian
toddler Aylan Kurdi.
The drowned three-year-old toddler has
become the symbol of the refugee crisis after haunting pictures appeared
showing his body being carried off a Turkish beach last week.

Critics claim Charlie Hebdo has overstepped the mark. Photo / Charlie Hebdo
Critics claim Charlie Hebdo has overstepped the mark. Photo / Charlie Hebdo
But the latest edition of the satirical French
magazine depicts the dead Aylan lying face down in the sand under the
caption “So Close to Goal”.
Above him is an advertisement for McDonald’s reading: “Two children’s menus for the price of one”.

Another depiction of the dead Aylan shows him next to
Casimir, an orange dinosaur, under the caption “Welcome to Children’s
There is also a cartoon mocking Aylan’s religion, with a caption reading: “Proof that is Christian”.
shows a Jesus-like figure next to the words “Christians walk on water”
and a little boy upended in the sea next to the words “Muslim children
The drawings come nine months after 12 people were
murdered by Jihadi gunmen around the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo
after the magazine mocked the Prophet Mohammed in a series of cartoons.

led to millions around the world including politicians and celebrities
rallying under the “Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) slogan, as it came
to represent free speech.
But barrister Peter Herbert, Chair of
the Society of Black Lawyers and former vice chair of the Metropolitan
Police Authority, was among many who said Charlie Hebdo had overstepped
the mark.

Herbert said on Twitter: “Charlie Hebdo is a purely racist, xenophobic
and ideologically bankrupt publication that represents the moral decay
of .”
He added: “The Society of Black Lawyers will consider
reporting this as incitement to hate crime & persecution before the
International Criminal Court.”
Numerous other outraged posts
attacked the “disgusting cartoons”, while others said it was an example
of how Hebdo attacked the “powerless’ rather than the ‘powerful”.

A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi. Photo / AP
A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi. Photo / AP
Aylan was trying to get to Germany from war-torn
Syria with his five-year-old brother, Galip, and his parents. Galip also
drowned, alongside the boys’ mother, Rehan.
The tragedy led to a
vast outpouring of compassion around the world, with countries such as
Britain and France pledging to take in thousands more refugees.
Hebdo continued publication after the January terrorist attacks, and
has since made millions thanks to donations and sales.
But many
have noted how the quality of the publication, which had been struggling
to survive financially before the shootings, has remained low.
of the magazine’s cartoons – which have included a depiction of a black
politician as a monkey – argue that they are using racist and religious
stereotypes to mock racist and religious stereotypes.

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