A church in Madrid has decided to recreate the nativity scene using the image of drowned Syrian child Aylan Kurdi to highlight the plight of migrants.
The photo of the drowned toddler went viral in September, and as Breitbart London reported yesterday, helped change the tone of the debate around Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis in favour of the “refugees” trope.
Now The Local reports that a group called “Mensajeros de la Paz” (Messengers of Peace) have incorporated the image into a nativity scene at the San Anton church in the Chueca district of Madrid.
The church already has an ultra-liberal reputation, allowing pets to attend Mass and streaming live-feeds on huge widescreen TVs. The faithful can also go to Confession via an iPad app.
In the nativity scene, Aylan takes the place of the baby Jesus while his parents act as Mary and Joseph. The stable becomes a refugee tent, while the floor is a map of Europe with the main routes taken by migrants.
It was designed by Spanish artist Ikella Alonso for Messengers of Peace, a charity founded by priest Ángel García Rodríguez in 1962 that has been dealing with the migrant crisis.
The image has appeared throughout the media since September. Speaking on the its effectiveness, Dr Claire Wardle, research director at the Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Colombia University, said: “2015 was the year the Syrian refugee crisis hit the European consciousness, but it’s easy to forget that this was not the case before the Aylan Kurdi image.
“In April, over 700 refugees and migrants lost their lives when their boat capsized off Lampedusa. After one day of coverage, the story disappeared, despite the tragic loss of life.
“The photo of Aylan Kurdi galvanised the public in a way that hours of broadcasts and thousands of column inches wasn’t able to do. It has created a frame through which subsequent coverage has been positioned and compared.”