Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist who is known for his depiction of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a fuse, was attacked in his home January 1st by a Somali man armed with a knife and an axe.
In February 2008 the Danish Security and Intelligence Service arrested two Tunisian citizens and a Danish citizen who they suspected of planning to kill Westergaard. Since then Westergaard’s house has been heavily fortified and is under close police protection. Police officers were also attacked by the intruder and shot him in the right leg and left hand. He was hospitalized, but not seriously injured, police said.
The 28-year-old Somali man will probably be charged not only with trying to kill Westergaard and attacking police officers but also with planning terror-related activities. Danish intelligence officials said the suspect is connected to the radical Islamist al-Shabaab militia, sympathizes with al-Qaida, and has been under surveillance by the Danish Intelligence Service for some time.
The Danish-Muslim Union condemns the attack and every form of extremism. Also the Muslim Council of Denmark condemns the attack on Kurt Westergaard and says “violence is by no means acceptable. Actions of this sort are irreconcilable with Islam”.
In Norway the debate on the so called Muhammad cartoons is back on the agenda as a result of the January 1 attack on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
Per Edgar Kokkvold, secretary general of the Norwegian Press Association, is critical of the general decision among Norwegian newspapers not to publish the caricatures. Not to publish the “harmless drawings is not to show respect of Muslim belief, but to bow down in fear of Islamist terror;” Kokkvold says. “The freedom of speech and religion is of such fundamental significance to our way of life that it is of utmost importance to draw the line,” he continues.
Akhtar Chaudhry, vice president of the Norwegian Parliament, says the attack on Westergaard is repelling, and an unacceptable attack on the freedom of speech. Even so, Chaudhry believes it is wrong to publish the caricatures in Norwegian newspapers and asks everyone to keep their calm and reconsider their responsibility not to arouse feelings that might contribute to tensions between different groups in society.
The Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who in the autumn of 2007 published a drawing of Muhammad as a “roundabout dog”, received a threat over the phone January 4. The caller, who was later tracked to Somalia, spoke in broken Swedish and said that after Kurt Westergaard Vilks was next. Lars Vilks says he gets many threats, but this time chose to notify the police because of the assault on the Danish cartoonist.
One of the controversial Danish cartoonists who sparked riots in the Muslim world in 2005 by drawing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad is set to return soon with new works reflecting on the incident.
Kurt Westergaard, the Danish caricaturist forced into hiding after the publication of his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005, is set to return with a new set of potentially controversial drawings. According to a report in the Copenhagen Post, Westergaard is expected to have 26 illustrations in a new book that compiles the sardonic columns by Danish writer Lars Hedegaard for the Berlingske Tidende newspaper.
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After drawing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a lit bomb in his turban in 2005, Kurt Westergaard has lived under constant police protection. Now Jordan wants to prosecute the Dane. In a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview he discusses the legal summons and his anger.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Westergaard, I am assuming you’re not planning a vacation in Jordan this year?
Westergaard: No, I don’t think so!
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The prosecutor general in Amman has issued a subpoena against you. He wants you to face a court in Jordan for the cartoon you drew of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.
Westergaard: Yes, but so far I haven’t received an official summons to court. I have already contacted the Jordanian Embassy in Berlin and asked them if they could inform me what the punishment would be. If I went to Amman would I be arrested as soon as I put my foot on Jordanian soil? But I never got an answer.
After drawing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a lit bomb in his turban in 2005, Kurt Westergaard has lived under constant police protection. Now Jordan wants to prosecute the Dane. In a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview he discusses the legal summons and his anger. SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Westergaard, I am assuming you’re not planning a vacation in Jordan this year? Westergaard: No, I don’t think so! SPIEGEL ONLINE: The prosecutor general in Amman has issued a subpoena against you. He wants you to face a court in Jordan for the cartoon you drew of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. Westergaard: Yes, but so far I haven’t received an official summons to court. I have already contacted the Jordanian Embassy in Berlin and asked them if they could inform me what the punishment would be. If I went to Amman would I be arrested as soon as I put my foot on Jordanian soil? But I never got an answer.
Prophet Muhammad with a time bomb in his turban: That is how the film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders begins. The Danish cartoonist responsible for the drawing explains to SPIEGEL ONLINE why he wants his drawing removed. SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Westergaard, the anti-Koran movie made by right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders begins with your drawing of the Prophet Muhammad showing him with a time bomb in his turban. You are taking legal action against Wilders as a result. Why? Westergaard: The Danish Association of Journalists will file for an injunction today to force Wilders to take my cartoon out of the film. I don’t want my cartoon taken out of its original context. It was a cartoon aiming at fanatic Islamist terrorists — a small part of Islam. The cartoon must not be used against Muslim society as a whole. That was not my intention. SPIEGEL ONLINE: And this is what you think Wilders is doing with his film?
Pre-dawn police raids in Denmark have netted five people suspected of involvement in a plot to kill a cartoonist whose depiction of the Prophet Muhammad helped spark international violence two years ago. Danish police conducted a series of pre-dawn raids Tuesday morning_and arrested several individuals suspected of planning to murder one of the 12 cartoonists whose unflattering depictions of the Prophet Muhammad led to worldwide protests in 2006. Those arrested include several “people with a Muslim background” with both Danish and foreign citizenship, according to the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which originally published the caricatures in the autumn of 2005. The paper reports that cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was the target of the plot and that Danish authorities have been investigating the threat for some time.
Danish police arrested at least three people today in a terror plot to kill one of the 12 cartoonists behind the Prophet Mohammad drawings that sparked an uproar in the Muslim world and in Britain two years ago, authorities said. One of the three was a Dane of Moroccan descent, and two were Tunisian. The arrests were made in pre-dawn raids in Aarhus, western Denmark, “to prevent a terror-related murder,” the police intelligence agency said. It did not say how many people were arrested nor did it mention which cartoonist was targeted. However, Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the drawings on September 30, 2005, said the suspects were planning to kill its cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, 73.