x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Drowned Syrian toddler’s father wept over Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Jordan’s Queen Rania weighed in on the widely controversial cartoon, posting another cartoon by a Jordanian artist on social media, saying: “Aylan could’ve been a doctor, a teacher, a loving parent.”

bdullah al-Kurdi, the father of the drowned 3-year-old boy Aylan Kurdi from Syria, cries at a morgue as he tries to get his son's body in Mugla, Turkey, 03 September 2015. EPA
bdullah al-Kurdi, the father of the drowned 3-year-old boy Aylan Kurdi from Syria, cries at a morgue as he tries to get his son's body in Mugla, Turkey, 03 September 2015. EPA

Erbil // The father of a drowned Syrian toddler wept when he saw a cartoon depicting his drowned son Aylan Kurdi as an adult involved in sexual harassment.

“When I saw the picture, I cried,” Abdullah Kurdi said on Saturday, referring to the cartoon in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. “My family is still in shock.”

He said the cartoon was “inhuman and immoral” and as bad as the actions of the “war criminals and terrorists” who have caused widespread death and displacement in Syria and elsewhere.

The cartoon shows a pervert chasing a woman, with the caption asking: “What would have become of small Aylan if he grew up?”

“Someone who gropes asses in Germany,” it added, alluding to a rash of crime targeting women at New Year’s festivities in Cologne that has been blamed on migrants.

In response to the Charlie Hebdo drawing, which has triggered sharp criticism on social networks, Jordan’s Queen Rania posted a cartoon on Facebook and Twitter by Jordanian artist Osama Hajjaj depicting the little boy lying face down on the beach alongside an older child with a backpack and finally a doctor.

The queen added the caption: “Aylan could’ve been a doctor, a teacher, a loving parent.”

“Queen Rania gives an elegant and effective rebuttal that refutes the shameful Charlie Hebdo cartoon. She is such a class act!” Facebook user Jane Shartzer commented on the queen’s page.

In September, the queen in a speech in Berlin urged Europeans not to “bolt the door for fear of the unknown” in response to the growing flood into the continent of refugees from Syria’s brutal conflict.

Abdullah’s three-year-old son Aylan’s body was photographed lying face down on a Turkish beach after he drowned on the crossing to Greece – a bleak image that helped focus international attention on the plight of refugees making the perilous journey to Europe.

Aylan’s four-year-old brother and his mother also died in the accident. Aylan’s relatives in Canada expressed “disgust”.

The magazine has declined to comment.

On January 7, 2015, radicalised gunmen killed 12 people in an assault on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, which had been a target since publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2006.

* Agence France-Presse