Last week, this blog stood in solidarity with Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and the rest of the newspapers in Denmark who reprinted his cartoon after police uncovered a conspiracy by radical Islamists to murder him. Now Westergaard has gained a reward for his courage in confronting radical Islam and demanding freedom of speech — homelessness. Der Spiegel tells the story:
Draw a picture offensive to Muslim extremists, and you might find yourself without a roof. Ask Kurt Westergaard, one of the twelve Danish cartoonists whose autumn 2005 Muhammad caricatures lead to violent protests throughout the Muslim world. He was booted from his police-protected hotel room on Feb. 15 for being “too much of a security risk.” And now the 73-year-old cartoonist and his wife are without a place to live.
Westergaard was forced to leave his actual residence in November after the Danish security and intelligence agency, PET, informed him of a “concrete” plan to murder him, according to the paper that originally published the cartoons, Jyllands-Posten. Westergaard and his wife have been living under police protection since.
DS reports that the Muslim community in Denmark has taken pains to keep their protests rational. While voices in Muslim nations demanded blood, Danish Muslims simply protested the decision to reprint the cartoons. Nevertheless, the hotelier evicted Westergaard anyway, and now he not only cannot return home, he has nowhere else to go.
Many of us work in the business of critical writing or punditry. In the US, that vocation or avocation rarely calls for any personal sacrifice, except for a little name-calling by Internet trolls now and again. We forget that the exercise of critical speech in other areas sometimes means risking everything — and Kurt Westergaard and his family are prime examples of this truth.
UPDATE: Forgot to hat-tip Allahpundit at Hot Air.