French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo has once again drawn the attention of the netizens through a cartoon. This time, the mag's latest controversial caricature featuring football icon Lionel Messi has raised eyebrows.
In the cartoon, Muslim women are seen wearing a blue burqa covering their body from top to toe, but what catches the attention is the text 'Messi 30' written on their dresses. Every football fan knows that it is the number used by the Argentinian football player for Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.
The caption reads: Taliban (written in the red letter) is "worse than we think" (written in the black letter).
What does the cartoon Indicate?
The cartoon subtly tells the current conflict in trouble-hit Afghanistan after the Taliban ended Ashraf Ghani's rule to return to power after two decades with the US withdrawing its troops.
It is believed that the cartoon is trying to convey the Taliban's link with Qatar, which will hold the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Notably, Messi has joined the Qatar-backed Paris Saint-Germain club.
The football icon signed a two-year deal reportedly for $41m (â¬35 million) per season after bidding farewell to Barcelona.
Politically, Qatar had recognised the previous Taliban government between 1996 and 2001 and did not have ties with Ashraf Ghani's government that came to power in Afghanistan under the US' watch. Interestingly, the Taliban had choosen this country as the neutral venue for the peace talks with the US.
According to Amy Mak, the founder of a grassroots activist organization aiming to preserve America's 'Judeo-Christian values, stated on Twitter that "it holds a mirror to the West. [sic]"
She added, "Qatar will host the next FIFA World Cup and has recently financed the signing of Messi by PSG Will the West Protest or Continue to bury their heads in the sand? [sic]."