The French magazine has published a cartoon depicting victims of the Italian earthquake as lasagna; outrage has followed
The cartoon is headlined “Earthquake, Italian Style” and shows a bloodied and bandaged man under the caption “Penne tomato sauce”, an injured woman under the caption “Penne gratine”, and the feet of corpses under layers of “Lasagna”.
The caricatures are meant to depict the victims and survivors of the August 24 earthquake in Italy which killed 300 people and left the country in mourning.
The epicentre of the earthquake was the Italian town of Amatrice, which the town's mayor Sergio Pirozzi said “is gone” the day after the earthquake.
It is also home to the all'amatriciana, an Italian dish made with tomato sauce and guanciale ham; each of the caricatures in the Charlie Hebdo cartoon is named after an Italian dish.
Needless to say, the cartoon has sparked national outrage in Italy.
"The drawings are repugnant," said Italian Justice Minister Andrea Orlando, the AFP reported.
"I don't think it's useful to comment further as I think that would produce precisely the sought after effect... that is to create a scandal," and draw attention to the cartoons, he added.
The wire service reported Italian senate leader Pietro Grasso as saying he respected "the freedom of satire and of irony” and “I am free to say that all this is disgusting".
"How the f**k do you draw a cartoon about the dead!" said Pirozzi, according to state news agency Ansa.
But people were quick to catch on to that too, with social media users around the world saying – if one were to paraphrase – “when Charlie Hebdo mocked religion and dying refugees, you called it 'freedom of speech, but now you're saying this isn't funny”.
The mention of the dying refugees was a reference to the other (of several) controversial cartoon Charlie Hebdo had published of the three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi who drowned in 2015 while fleeing Syria; his tiny was found washed up on a Turkish beach.
After the mass sexual assaults in Germany on New Year's eve last year, in which gangs of men of "Arab or North African appearance" attacked hundreds of women in Cologne, Hamburg and other German cities, Charlie Hebdo depicted Alan as a grown up-groper in Germany.
The French embassy in Rome issued a statement on the latest Hebdo cartoon, AFP reported, saying it “in no way represents France's position".