ZUNAR, the Malaysian cartoonist who has been harassed and even jailed by the government for his work, is calling for a day of remembrance in the wake of Wednesday’s Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris that left 12 dead, including at least four cartoonists.
As an anniversary of mourning and salute, Zunar tells The Post’s Comic Riffs, Jan. 7 “should be declared as World Cartoonists Day to honor Stéphane Charbonnier, Cabu, Wolinski and Tignous.”
Zunar referred to the cartoonists Stéphane Charbonnier (pen name “Charb”), Jean Cabut (“Cabu”), George Wolinski and Bernard Velhac (“Tignous”); a fifth cartoonist, Philippe Honoré, was later named among the victims who died.
Zunar, who received the 2011 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award from the Cartoonist Rights Network International, made a point of condemning the attack against the satirical weekly.
“Acts of violence, barbarity and brutality are against Islamic teaching,” Zunar, who is Muslim, told Comic Riffs.
“My stand is clear: Every cartoonist should be allowed to criticize parties through his [or] her cartoons,” Zunar told The Post in an e-mail. “Any disagreement over the said cartoons should be responded in a civilized manner, i.e., intellectual discourses, open debates and other civilized damage-control methods. Even though we do not agree with the contents, we should respect the cartoonists’ rights to express their views.”
Zunar also urged a unity of purpose in the aftermath of the attack, the suspects of which reportedly include at least confirmed jihadist.
“In regards to Islamic content issues, as a Muslim myself, I would like to challenge the Muslim authorities around the world to work closer with cartoonists to produce cartoons that can show the true image of Islam: a religion of peace, tolerance and moderation.
“Terror is unacceptable in a civilized world.”