Charlie Hebdo’s Latest Cover Shouts: ‘God Exists! He Drowned All the Neo-Nazis of Texas’

8-30-17 Hurricane Harvey flooding
Trucks make their way through floodwaters on a main road leading to the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby Texas, that was in crisis during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on August 30. The latest cover of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo offers a controversial take on Hurricane Harvey. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Charlie Hebdo’s latest cover embraces the French satirical weekly’s reputation as a provocative, controversial voice. Its August 30 issue shouts, “God Exists! He Drowned All the Neo-Nazis of Texas,” referencing the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area.

The cartoon cover art was posted on Charlie Hebdo’s Facebook page on Tuesday, ahead of the magazine’s Wednesday publication. It depicts several Nazi flags, emblazoned with swastikas, half-submerged in floodwaters, as well as a number of arms jutting out of the water and positioned, not coincidentally, in Nazi salutes. Both the flags and hands are being bombarded with heavy rain, the kind that characterized Harvey’s landfall and broke records in Texas.

Charlie Hebdo has a long history of controversial cartoons that have riled up people all over the world. It has featured the Prophet Muhammad, who many Muslims believe should not be depicted at all, including on a 2006 cover with the headline “Mohammed Overwhelmed by Fundamentalism.” The magazine was denounced by the French president at the time, Jacques Chirac, and was sued over that issue.

It has also published covers that shout, “The Koran is worthless—it doesn’t even stop bullets!” and “I slept with my dad to get ahead,” mocking the son of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy. It has portrayed the pope holding a condom aloft, Michael Jackson as a skeleton with hair and the words “Michael Jackson, white at last,” and a naked woman with a piece of fabric sticking out of her backside and the words “Yes to wearing the burqa…on the inside!”

In January 2015, gunmen attacked the magazine’s headquarters in Paris, killing a dozen people, including journalists and police. The motive seemed immediately clear—retribution for depictions of Muhammad. Agence France-Presse reported at the time that the gunmen shouted, “We have avenged the prophet."

The tragic events have not caused Charlie Hebdo to retreat. It has continued to publish powerful, controversial covers in recent years and months. Just last week, its cover about the car-ramming attack in Barcelona, Spain, drew criticism for depicting two people lying in the street in pools of blood with the words "Islam: religion of peace...eternal."

This week, its cover rejoices in the supposed death of neo-Nazis during a catastrophic natural disaster. The cartoon looks like a mishmash of American news, pairing the recent white nationalist and neo-Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the hurricane.

However, there is no evidence thus far that any of the storm’s victims were neo-Nazis. Houston, which has a large Jewish community, is the fourth-largest city in the country and tends to lean toward the liberal side of the political spectrum. Though Texas went to Donald Trump during the 2016 election, Harris County voted for Hillary Clinton—54 percent to 41.6 percent.