Danish police conducted a series of pre-dawn raids that broke a conspiracy to murder an editorial cartoonist. Both Danish citizens and foreign nationals plotted to kill Kurt Westergaard, one of the cartoonists that created critical images of the Muslim prophet Mohammed two years ago as part of a series in defense of free speech and open criticism. The cartoons set off riots throughout the Islamic world, and produced death threats to all of the artists who participated:
Danish police said Tuesday they have arrested several people suspected of plotting to kill one of the 12 cartoonists behind the Prophet Muhammad drawings that sparked a deadly uproar in the Muslim world two years ago.
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, according to Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the drawings on Sept. 30, 2005, the suspects were planning to kill its cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. It said those arrested included both Danish and foreign citizens.
“There were very concrete murder plans against Kurt Westergaard,” said Carsten Juste, the paper’s editor-in-chief.
When the paper first printed the cartoons, it refused to apologize for its exercise in free speech. That steadfast approach didn’t last long. As the riots spread around the world, the paper finally apologized for having offended Muslims. That approach apparently hasn’t worked, either. The Westergaard family and the paper itself has had to live under police protection ever since, and more than two years later, terrorists still plan to assassinate him — for drawing a cartoon.
Westergaard drew the most memorable of the Prophet cartoons, which can be found here. His entry had the turban worn by Mohammed depicted as a bomb, with Arabic writing on it that presumably represents “Allahu akbar”. The story got even more complicated when Muslim provocateurs started circulating faked cartoons that crudely represented Mohammed as a pig, a dog, and a horned devil. That stirred the anger even further against Westergaard especially, as his was probably the most critical of the original 12 cartoons.
Once again, this shows that dialogue won’t stop terrorism. More than two years after the apology and the rioting, Muslim extremists still wanted Westeraard dead for the crime of criticizing their prophet. Freedom cannot coexist with such people. Either we oppose them or we wind up under their thumb.