Manama: Jordan’s Queen Rania has responded to a controversial cartoon by French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in a manner that reflects best her character: Compassion, style and grandeur.
The satirical weekly last week published a cartoon depicting two pig-like men with their tongues hanging out chasing two terrified women.
Queen Rania of Jordan.
An insert at the top the cartoon contains the drawing of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose heartbreaking photo, lying dead face-down on a beach, became a potent symbol of the crisis of the refugees seeking shelters in Europe.
The question next to Aylan’s drawing was: “What would little Aylan have grown up to be?” The answer at the bottom was: “Ass groper in Germany”, referencing the New Year’s Eve sex attacks in the German city of Cologne.
The cartoon was widely condemned by several media figures and activists as overtly racist and outrageously shocking, particularly that Charlie Hebdo had already misused the image of the drowned Aylan for “disgusting” satire when Europeans displayed sympathy for Syrian refugees.
However, Queen Rania opted for a different approach to express her rejection of the cartoon and its message.
On Friday, she posted her own sketch on Twitter, using the iconic image of the drowned Aylan and drawings of him as a child happily playing, as a student and as doctor. At the top was the same question as Charlie Hebdo’s “What would little Aylan have grown up to be?”
Aylan could've been a doctor, a teacher, a loving parent... Thanks @osamacartoons for sketching my thoughts pic.twitter.com/M2z4Z3mJe0— Rania Al Abdullah (@QueenRania) January 15, 2016
“Aylan could've been a doctor, a teacher, a loving parent...” Queen Rania answered in a post to the close to her 4.5 million followers on the social media platform.
She posted the cartoon in Arabic, French and English and thanked Osama Hajjaj for sketching her thoughts.
Queen Rania’s cartoon was highly acclaimed by online users who hailed her approach to express her sentiments and attitudes and to reject the “blasphemous” abuse of a dead child.
Several users highlighted that Queen Rania‘s genuine compassion set her apart from those who used tragedies to further their own agendas without any consideration for other people’s feelings.
In January last year, Queen Rania and her husband King Abdullah II participated in a unity march in Paris following the terror attacks on the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. She said that she felt offended that people used Islam to explain their terrorist attacks.
"As a Muslim, it pains me when someone derides Islam and my religious beliefs," Queen Rania posted on Facebook.
"It also pains me when someone derides other religions and other people's religious beliefs. But what offends me more, much more, are the actions of the criminals who dared to use Islam to justify the cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians. Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and mercy.
"It is a source of comfort and strength for more than 1.6 billion Muslims... Today, I join His Majesty King Abdullah in Paris to stand in solidarity with the people of France in their darkest hour... To stand in unity against extremism in all its forms and to stand up for our cherished faith, Islam.”