Danish Muhammad Cartoon Reprinted

BBC News, February 13, 2080

Danish newspapers have reprinted one of several caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad which sparked violent protests across the Muslim world two years ago.

They say they wanted to show their commitment to freedom of speech after an alleged plot to kill one of the cartoonists behind the drawings.

Three suspects were held in Denmark on Tuesday “to prevent a murder linked to terrorism”, officials said.

The cartoons were originally published by Jyllands-Posten in September 2005.

Danish embassies were attacked around the world and dozens died in riots that followed.

‘Defiant’

Jyllands-Posten and many other major newspapers—including Politiken and Berlingske Tidende—reprinted the caricature in their Wednesday editions.

The cartoon depicts Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse.

The editors say no-one should feel their life is threatened because of a drawing.

“We are doing this to document what is at stake in this case, and to unambiguously back and support the freedom of speech that we as a newspaper will always defend,” Berlingske Tidende said.

The cartoon was also broadcast on national television, and even newspapers that were originally against the publication of the caricatures are now backing the campaign to defend freedom of speech, the BBC’s Thomas Buch-Andersen in Copenhagen says.

One Danish tabloid published all 12 drawings, the Associated Press news agency reported.

‘Deeply shaken’

On Tuesday, the head of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (Pet), Jakob Sharf, said its operatives had carried out pre-dawn raids in the Aarhus region.

The three suspects—two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan origin—had been detained “after lengthy surveillance”, he added.

The Danish citizen will be released pending further investigation, while the Tunisians will be held until they are expelled from the country.

The Pet did not identify the target of the alleged plot, but the online edition of Jyllands-Posten said its cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, was the focus.

The newspaper, based in Aarhus, said Mr Westergaard, 73, and his 66-year-old wife, Gitte, had been under police protection for the past three months.

In a statement on Jyllands-Posten’s website, Mr Westergaard said: “Of course I fear for my life when the police intelligence service say that some people have concrete plans to kill me.

“But I have turned fear into anger and resentment.”

The editor of Jyllands-Posten, Carsten Juste, said he and his staff had been “deeply shaken” by the news.

“We’d become more or less used to death threats and bomb threats since the cartoons, but it’s the first time that we’ve heard about actual murder plans—that’s new,” he said.

Muslim anger

The BBC’s Thomas Buch-Andersen in Copenhagen says the arrests have stunned people in Denmark, where the furore over the cartoons was thought to have passed.

Mr Westergaard was one of 12 artists behind the drawings but he was responsible for what was considered the most controversial of the pictures.

The cartoons were later reprinted by more than 50 newspapers, triggering a wave of protests in parts of the Muslim world.

The demonstrations culminated a year ago with the torching of Danish diplomatic offices in Damascus and Beirut and dozens of deaths in Nigeria, Libya and Pakistan.


Danish police have made several arrests near the city of Aarhus to counter an alleged plan to murder the cartoonist of Prophet Mohammad.

The head of Danish security police Jakob Scharf said the suspects had been under surveillance for some time and were arrested as “a preventive measure”.

Public broadcaster Danmarks Radio (DR) announced that at least five arrests were made.

The Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s cartoons sparked large-scale protests in several Muslim countries and triggered boycotts of Danish goods.

Westergaard and his wife have for several months lived under police protection and have had to move to several secret locations.

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