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Charlie Hebdo Depicts Drowned Syrian Boy As Sexual Attacker

The cartoon has sparked a debate about what Charlie Hebdo was really trying to say about attitudes to refugees.

Posted on January 14, 2016, at 4:01 a.m. ET

Satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo has been criticised for a cartoon that depicts Alan Kurdi, the young Syrian boy who drowned last year, as a sexual pervert.

"What would little #AylanKurdi have grown up to be? Ass groper in Germany." ~ #CharlieHebdo on #Cologne #Migrants

What would little Aylan have grown up to be? An arse groper in Germany.

The images of 3-year-old Alan lying lifeless on a Turkish beach last year were seen as a personification of the horror of the refugee crisis, shocking the world.

AP Photo/DHA

Later, in Cologne, there were widespread reports of sexual attacks on women on New Year's Eve, apparently carried out by men of "Arab or North African" descent.

Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters

The cartoon has provoked outrage in France.

Charlie hebdo toujours plus loin dans l'immonde, le raciste, le dégueulasse.

Charlie Hebdo is always filthy, racist, disgusting.

Chez #Charlie, on aime rire de la mort. Enfin, seulement de celle des "Autres"... 😒 #CharlieHebdo #Pyromanes

At Charlie, we love to laugh at death. However, only that of 'others'.

Wow. Woooooooooow. Ca dépasse tout entendement là (attention dessin atrocement raciste)

Wow. Wooooow. This is beyond all understanding (caution, horribly racist drawing).

There was much the same response in Britain.

A new low for Charlie Hebdo as cartoon suggests dead 3-year-old refugee Alan Kurdi would have become sexual attacker

Disgusting cartoon in Charlie Hebdo ("what would've become of Aylan had he grown up? A groper") via @faizaz

I support Charlie Hebdo's right to offend. Their latest offering is disgusting, racist, and lacks humour #Gotitwrong

There was also criticism from a UN Human Rights Council member of staff.

This is outrageous.

Some, however, have defended the cartoon's intent.

In the crassest, most tasteless way possible, they are trying to make a serious point about media coverage of refugees: (3) #charliehebdo

This is, of course, by far the first time Charlie Hebdo has sparked accusations of racism by using a crass joke to make a subtle point. (5)

But it's worth noting that often its satire isn't meant to be funny at all - it's meant to point out our own hypocrisy. (6) #charliehebdo

In September, another drawing by the same cartoonist, Riss, also mocked Alan Kurdi's death.

That has nothing2do w/ freedom of expression - its distasteful & disgusting! #charliehebdo mocks death of migrants

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