Royal retort

Queen Rania responds to controversial Hebdo cartoon with sketch of her own


Controversy erupted around the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo this week, just a little more than a year after 11 of its staff members were gunned down in a terror attack carried out by radical Islamists, and now Queen Rania of Jordan has weighed in on it. The paper triggered a major backlash after it published a cartoon titled “Migrants” depicting Aylan Kurdi, the 3-year-old boy who was seen last year in a heartbreaking photo, lying dead face-down on a beach. The graphic image became a symbol of the migrant crisis in the Middle East and Europe. “What would little Aylan have grown up to be?” the Hebdo cartoon, sketched by the paper’s editor, asked. The answer, referencing the recent New Year’s Eve sex attacks in Cologne, Germany, that drew considerable outrage: “A groper in Germany.” Critics blasted the cartoon as “racist” and “Islamophobic” and generally distasteful.

On Friday, Jordan’s Queen Rania responded to the controversial cartoon with a sketch of her own, which she posted on Twitter. “Aylan could’ve been a doctor, a teacher, a loving parent…” Rania said in a post on the social media platform. She posted two versions — one in French and one in English — and had some assistance from editorial cartoonist Osama Hajjaj.

The queen has been an outspoken advocate both in calling on countries to help alleviate the refugee crisis and for the international community to coalesce in a decisive effort to quash ISIS, as she recently said in a talk at an Italian university. Queen Rania has long been a champion of women’s rights and was a guest on the Women in the World stage at our London Summit in October where she talked frankly about the refugee crisis.


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