‘Charlie Hebdo’ Criticized For Cartoon Of Drowned Syrian Toddler

Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French magazine, is facing criticism for its cartoon of the drowned Syrian Toddler, Alyan Kurdi. However, some publications and individuals believe those who criticize the cartoon are missing the point. Most people view the cartoon as an attempt to mock the 3-year-old’s plight, as well as mock the Muslim religion.

The wording in the Charlie Hebdo translates to “Proof that Europe is Christian. Christians walk on water – Muslim children sink.” It showed a child with upper body in the water next to Jesus walking on water. It comes after the shocking and distressing images of the drowned toddler who was found washed up on a Turkish beach last month. Kurdi’s photo spread across the world to help people realize that the refugee crisis is serious, and real people were involved. Maajid Nawaz, Quilliam head, believes that the image really just shows the anti-refugee sentiment in many parts of Europe, according to Metro. He also admitted that taste is “in the eye of the beholder.”

That was not the only cartoon in Charlie Hebdo. The front page used a drawing of the drowned toddler on the beach underneath a McDonald’s-style promotion. It had messages saying “Welcome to migrants!” with the promotional message of “kid’s menus two for the price of one.”

Nawaz says that the Charlie Hebdo cartoon was not mocking the refugees or the Islamic religion, but the view of Europeans. The McDonald’s image is all about heartless European consumerism, while the walking on water cartoon shows how hypocritical Christians in Europe are being. He called for Muslims to avoid getting offended because it was not against them. However, he then warned that reacting like everything is about or against Muslims will lead to that happening.


Charlie Hebdo was in the media’s spotlight eight months ago after a terrorist attack on the company. The Independent reports that 12 people were killed in the attack, but that did not stop the controversial content. Some of the content has attacked the Islamic religion, but there are cartoons about all religions in various copies.

While the cartoon may have been an attack on hypocritical Europeans, many still view the use of Kurdi’s body offensive. Others have said it is a sad look at how Europeans are handling the refugee crisis. Just yesterday, Hungary put up a barrier on its border to Serbia to prevent more refugees crossing into Europe. Germany also put up temporary measures to keep refugees in Austria rather than crossing into its own country. Charlie Hebdo claims it is just showing the hypocritical gestures and says it will continue to do so.

[Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images]