Charlie Hebdo at centre of fresh controversy following publication of Alan Kurdi cartoon

Some have called the new cartoon racist, with others arguing it is satirising recent anti-immigrant sentiment

racism, charlie, hebdo, controversy, publication, alan kurdi, cologne, migration

Image: Francois Mori / AP/Press Association Images

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has again found itself at the centre of controversy, after featuring another cartoon using the image of drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi.

The controversy comes only a week after events were held around France marking the first anniversary of the terrorist shootings at the magazine's office.

The latest cartoon shows an image of Alan's body on the beach, with a heading asking what would happen if he had grown up.

An image below then shows a group of pig-like men chasing women, with a caption reading "a groper of women" - a reference to New Year's Eve attacks in Cologne by groups of men, with 18 asylum seekers among the suspects.

The cartoon has been heavily criticised by users on social media, suggesting it is "disgusting" and "racist":

However, others have argued the cartoon is satirising recent anti-immigrant sentiment in the wake of the Cologne attacks - by contrasting it with the sympathetic response to the plight of migrants following the release of photos of young Alan's body. 

Others again fall between the two camps. Max Fisher of Vox writes that "it seems highly likely to me that Charlie Hebdo is not championing this anti-refugee sentiment but rather satirising it".

However, he adds that "even if the ultimate message of this cartoon is to argue against anti-refugee hysteria and to champion the rights of refugees in Europe, it is nonetheless tasteless... [and] the cartoon does allow for misinterpretation".

The satirical magazine cartoon attracted similar controversy when it featured another cartoon featuring Alan Kurdi last year. The cartoon showed the toddler's body on a beach next to a McDonald's advert, with a caption reading "so close".

Writing in The Guardian earlier this month, journalist Robert McLiam Wilson argued there is widespread misunderstanding of the controversial magazine outside France, suggesting "Charlie’s target of choice has always been the right and the far-right. It is consistently and almost tediously anti-racist".