The aunt of the three-year-old boy who washed up dead on a Turkish shore has labelled a cartoon from controversial satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as "disgusting". The magazine ignited yet another race row after it suggested that drowned toddler, Alan Kurdi, whose death caused worldwide anguish, would have grown up to become a sexual abuser. The drawing insinuates that the boy's future would be similar to the "butt gropers" who sexually assaulted women in Cologne, Germany on New Year's Eve.
The drawing shows two predatory men with bulging eyes gleefully chasing fleeing women with their hands outstretched towards their buttocks. Under the stereotypical banner labelled "migrants" is a small sketch of the toddler lying face-down on a beach. The text asks rhetorically: "What would have become of little Aylan [Alan] had he grown up?" Under the lewd drawing the answer reads: "A butt groper in Germany."
"I hope people respect our family's pain. It's a big loss to us," Alan's aunt, Tima Kurdi said from her home in British Columbia, Canada. "We're not the same anymore after this tragedy. We're trying to forget a little bit and move on with our life. But to hurt us again, it's not fair."
In a tweet, Kurdi asked: "Where is the humanity?" She said that she has not yet spoken to Alan's father, Abdullah, but is concerned how he will react when he sees it. "I'm sure it will hurt him a lot. I was in tears when I was reading about it, so I'm worried about Abdullah," she said. In a Christmas message to the public, Abdullah Kurdi pleaded for "a little bit of sympathy" for Syrians fleeing war, death and persecution.
The magazine has a history of attracting controversy and its drawings regularly spark a fierce debate over freedom of expression. But it also causes anger, with many saying that the publication simply goes too far. Shortly after Alan's death in September, Charlie Hebdo published a drawing which said: "Proof that Europe is Christian: Christians walk on water... Muslim children sink."
Twitter users have slammed the latest cartoon as "vile," "disgusting" and a "new low" for the publication. The magazine was also accused of "vicious excesses" to make a point.