GEORGE TOWN: Penang PAS today delivered a stern warning to all media outlets against stoking racial tensions by depicting its leader as a cartoon character.
The warning was issued after a Chinese daily published a caricature of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang recently.
State PAS commissioner Muhammad Fauzi Yusof reminded press agencies of the terror attack at the office of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, two years ago.
He said those who published offensive content like the cartoon run by Nanyang Siang Pau would be responsible for “devastating” consequences if racial tensions erupted as a result of their actions.
He described Hadi, being the vice-president of the World Ulama Congress, as a revered Muslim figure across the world.
“This man is a leader among ulama worldwide. If this cartoon is circulated worldwide, it would only anger the Muslim world again,” Fauzi said after leading a delegation to register the state party’s complaint at the Nanyang office here.
“If you remember last time, there was a French newspaper that published a caricature that angered the whole Muslim world.”
On Jan 7, 2015, two armed men of Algerian origin forced their way into the office of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing 12 people and injuring 11 others, after the publication published cartoons satirising Prophet Muhammad.
The victims included editors, journalists and cartoonists.
Fauzi said heads of media agencies should not try to sell their newspapers with stories that angered Muslims as the result could be devastating.
“If they keep doing this, they must be responsible for any racial tensions that may occur,” he said.
Fauzi reminded the press of its role to deliver accurate news and not “stoke the fires” of racism.
“We hope they really do not repeat this again.”
Earlier, Fauzi and a delegation of three PAS leaders paid a visit to Nanyang’s office at Weld Quay.
Fauzi said they had a cordial talk over the cartoon issue and that the meeting was fruitful as the local Nanyang team was “excited” to meet him and other PAS leaders.
On April 8, Chinese daily Nanyang published an illustration with the title “Monkey Show Act” lampooning Hadi and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia by depicting them as monkeys on a tree named Act 355.
The cartoon was referring to Hadi’s move last week to table a private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355), which seeks to increase shariah penalties.
The cartoon had one monkey wearing a songkok and labelled as “speaker”, with another wearing a turban labelled “Hadi Awang”.
After the furore over the cartoon however, the news portal issued an open apology to Hadi and Pandikar yesterday.
In Petaling Jaya this afternoon, members of PAS Youth protested outside the Nanyang headquarters demanding that the newspaper apologise directly to Hadi and Pandikar, which the daily’s chief editor Chan Aun Kuang, said they would do.