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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. https://t.co/T1Wh6ZgLZu

Charlie Hebdo is always filthy, racist, disgusting.

Chez #Charlie, on aime rire de la mort. Enfin, seulement de celle des "Autres"... 😒 #CharlieHebdo #Pyromanes https://t.co/fx59U3cCHg

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

Wow. Woooooooooow. Ca dépasse tout entendement là (attention dessin atrocement raciste) https://t.co/aCDaf9ynab

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 https://t.co/1eq2ieTWXn

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 https://t.co/Rs4HZvvltK

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

This is outrageous. https://t.co/TKMf0aqNla

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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