Marine Le Pen. AFP file photo.
BARCELONA, Spain – French far right leader Marine Le Pen charged Sunday that the widely-shared picture of a three-year-old Kurdish boy, who drowned as his desperate migrant family was trying to reach Greece, was aimed at exploiting emotions.
During a speech at a gathering of her National Front party Le Pen placed her emphasis on immigration and terrorism, raising a standing ovation, the French newspaper Le Monde reported.
“They (politicians) want us to stop thinking. We have no lessons to learn, especially when they throw you the death of a child in the face to further their sinister project,” she remonstrated.
The controversial leader was referring to the news agency photograph of Alan Kurdi, whose lifeless little body, face down in the sand on a beach in Turkey from where his family had left in a boat of other refugees hoping to make it to Greece, brought home the tragedy of the migrants for many around the world.
The boy died with his brother, who was a year older, and their mother. They were hoping to reach Canada to join a relative.
Europe is facing a refugee crisis of immense proportions, as desperate Syrians and Iraqis try to flee death and destruction in their countries.
Thousands of refugees arrived in Germany on Sunday, as European Union leaders argued in Luxembourg over how to share the burden of an influx that has spiked dramatically over the past several weeks.
"Immigration is a fundamental problem,” Le Pen declared. “Immigration is not a chance, it is a burden!"
She claimed there was a direct link between runaway immigration and a rise in terrorist acts in recent years.
"On this issue as on others, the National Front becomes the compass of the French, as it is on Islamic fundamentalism, which further increases by this out of control immigration," stressed Le Pen.