A year after the anniversary of the attacks on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the publication stoked controversy again on Thursday as it published a cartoon suggesting that the three-year-old drowned Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi, may have grown up to become a “groper in Germany.”
In a clear reference to the reported mass sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve allegedly by refugees and asylum seekers, the magazine seemed to suggested that if Aylan had survived the journey to Greece, he would have been among the alleged migrants involved in the alleged assaults.
The image was drawn by Laurent Sourisseau, also known as “Riss,” a longtime contributor and its current publishing director. Sourisseau was in the office when the publication’s offices were attacked last January. That attack left 12 people dead; Sourisseau was shot in the shoulder, the Washington Post reported.
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The cartoon sparked a debate on social media, with several people calling out Charlie Hebdo on Twitter for the “disgusting” and “racist” cartoon and others pointing out that the cartoon was a critique of the Islamophobia prevalent in Europe.
“The cartoon isn’t an attack on migrants. It’s an attack on our own fickleness,” wrote the Independent newspaper.
Guardian journalist Oliver Burkeman wrote on Twitter: “So – *is* anyone (who has some authority) defending that Charlie Hebdo cartoon as not just massively racist[sic]?”