Arbil (Iraq), Jan 17: The father of a drowned Syrian toddler wept when he saw a cartoon depicting his son as an adult involved in sexual harassment, and has said that the family is "in shock."
"When I saw the picture, I cried," Abdullah Kurdi yesterday told AFP by telephone, adding: "My family is still in shock."
He also said in a written statement that the cartoon in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo 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.
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. Charlie Hebdo ran a cartoon depicting Aylan as a man chasing after a woman with a caption asking, "What would have become of small Aylan if he grew up?"
"Someone who gropes asses in Germany," it said, alluding to a rash of crime targeting women at New Year's festivities in Cologne that has been blamed on migrants.
The Charlie Hebdo drawing has triggered sharp criticism on social networks while Aylan's relatives in Canada expressed "disgust". The magazine, contacted Thursday by AFP, declined to comment.