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By BBC News Service
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.
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.
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.
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.
Speaking of Muslim anger the LA Times Wire Services noted the following on 2/17/08:
Groups of youths set fire to schools and cars in a sixth consecutive night of violence across Denmark, mostly in immigrant heighborhoods, police said. Forty three people were arrested.
The vandalism started last weekend and some believe it intensified with the reproduction of a cartoon of Mohammed in Danish newspapers Wednesday.
The unrest spread across Denmark, with youths lobbing rocks at police and firefighters in Copenhagen, Aarthus, Ringsted, Slagelse and other cities, officials said.
Neville's note: Just who are these pesky, rascally unnamed "youts"? Must be the Swedish youth and the Norwegian youth that are pissed off about that cartoon, right? NOT!!! It's the
damn Muslims again and we wish the Politically Correct wire services would have the stones to call a spade a spade. Just like in France two years ago when Muslim gangs were
running around Paris burning cars for 4 months pretending to be "upset" about not assimilating, the wire services deliberately failed to mention who was doing this. These MUSLIM gangs are consistently portrayed as
Well this isn't West Side Story. The Danes and the French didn't put up with the Nazis when they invaded their countries. They fought back as best they could through the resistance groups until the
Allies could get their collective acts together. It's past time to get pissed off and fight back now or the time will pass when it is too late to save your countries.
You are being invaded and systematically conquered. How long are you going to put up with this crap? Deport the Muslims! Deny the Muslims entry into your countries. Deny the Muslims work opportunities and government assistance. Punish employers who hire illegal immigrants. It's working right now
Arizona and Oklahoma. They will self-deport. Illegal immigrants are leaving those states and heading home to Mexico or to other sanctuary states in the U.S. that haven't figured it out yet.
By Flemming Rose
At a lunch last year celebrating his 25th anniversary with Jyllands-Posten, Kurt Westergaard told an anecdote. During World War II Pablo Picasso met a German officer in southern France, and they got into a conversation. When the German officer figured out whom he was talking to he said:
"Oh, you are the one who created Guernica?" referring to the famous painting of the German bombing of a Basque town by that name in 1937.
Picasso paused for a second, and replied, "No, it wasn't me, it was you."
For the past three months Mr. Westergaard and his wife have been on the run. Mr. Westergaard did the most famous of the 12 Muhammad cartoons published in Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 -- the one depicting the prophet with a bomb in his turban. The cartoon was a satirical comment on the fact that some Muslims are committing terrorist acts in the name of Islam and the prophet. Tragically, Mr. Westergaard's fate has proven the point of his cartoon: In the early hours of Tuesday morning Danish police arrested three men who allegedly had been plotting to kill him.
In the past few days 17 Danish newspapers have published Mr. Westergaard's cartoon, which is as truthful as Picasso's painting. My colleagues at Jyllands-Posten and I understand that the cartoon may be offensive to some people, but sometimes the truth can be very offensive. As George Orwell put it in the suppressed preface to "Animal Farm": "If liberty means anything, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
Sadly, the plot to kill Mr. Westergaard is not an isolated story, but part of a broader trend that risks undermining free speech in Europe and around the world. Consider the following recent events: In Oslo a gallery has censored three small watercolor paintings, showing the head of the prophet Muhammad on a dog's body, by the Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has been under police protection since the fall of 2007. In Holland the municipal museum in The Hague recently refused to show photos by the Iranian-born artist Sooreh Hera of gay men wearing the masks of the prophet Muhammad and his son Ali; Ms. Hera has received several death threats and is in hiding. In Belarus an editor has been sentenced to three years in a forced labor camp after republishing some of Jyllands-Posten's Muhammad cartoons. In Egypt bloggers are in jail after having "insulted Islam." In Afghanistan the 23-year-old Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh has been sentenced to death because he distributed "blasphemous" material about the mistreatment of women in Islam. And in India the Bengal writer Taslima Nasreen is in a safe house after having been threatened by people who don't like her books.
Every one of the above cases speaks to the same problem: a global battle for the right to free speech. The cases are different, and you can't compare the legal systems in Egypt and Norway, but the justifications for censorship and self-censorship are similar in different parts of the world: Religious feelings and taboos need to be treated with a kind of sensibility and respect that other feelings and ideas cannot command.
This position boils down to a simple rule: If you respect my taboo, I'll respect yours. That was the rule of the game during the Cold War until people like Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, Andrei Sakharov and other dissenting voices behind the Iron Curtain insisted on another rule: It is not cultures, religions or political systems that enjoy rights. Human beings enjoy rights, and certain principles like the ones embedded in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights are universal.
Unfortunately, misplaced sensitivity is being used by tyrants and fanatics to justify murder and silence criticism. Right now the Organization of Islamic Countries is conducting a successful campaign at the United Nations to rewrite international human-rights standards to curtail the right to free speech. Last year the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution against "defamation of religion," calling on governments around the world to clamp down on cartoonists, writers, journalists, artists and dissidents who dare to speak up.
In the West there is a lack of clarity on these issues. People suggest that Salman Rushdie, Theo van Gogh, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Taslima Nasreen and Kurt Westergaard bear a certain amount of responsibility for their fate. They don't understand that by doing so they tacitly endorse attacks on dissenting voices in parts of the world where no one can protect them.
We need a global movement to fight blasphemy and other insult laws, and the European Union should lead the way by removing them. Europe should make it clear that democracies will protect their citizens if they say something that triggers threats and intimidation.
Mr. Rose, the culture editor of Jyllands-Posten, is writing a book about the challenges to free speech in a globalized world.
By David Randall
Posted Jan.3, 2010
The most prominent of the Danish cartoonists whose 12 drawings provoked outrage throughout the Muslim world in 2006, narrowly survived an assassination attempt late on Friday night. His attacker, who has close ties to both al-Qa'ida and a Somali group that has killed 42 relief workers trying to bring food to displaced people, was shot and arrested by police. He has now been charged with two counts of attempted murder in this, the latest effort to kill Kurt Westergaard or his cartoonist colleagues.
It is less than a year ago that Mr Westergaard, 74, and his wife stopped living in hiding in a succession of "safe houses" provided by the Danish authorities and began to have a more open existence. Their home in Aarhus, Denmark's second city, was said to be like a "fortress", a claim which now looks less than convincing. It was at this house on Friday evening that the man, aged 28 and armed with an axe and a knife, managed to penetrate whatever alarm systems there were, break a window and enter the property.
Inside were Mr Westergaard and his five-year-old grand-daughter. In some reports, the cartoonist grabbed the girl and rushed to the bathroom, which had a reinforced door and a panic button. He managed to lock the door before the intruder, a Somali native who has not been named in line with Danish privacy law, could open it. In other reports, the girl remained sitting on the sofa and witnessed the attack. The the man shouted "Revenge!" and "Blood!" as he tried to smash the door with his axe. Mr Westergaard, who has received previous death threats for depicting the Prophet Mohamed with a bomb-shaped turban, pushed the panic button, and police arrived within two minutes in what they said were "strong numbers".
Fritz Keldsen, of Aarhus city police, told the BBC: "When we saw the suspect, he was moving away from the scene. Then he attacked the police patrol. He did that with such skill that they had to shoot him." It is understood that at one point the man threw the axe at an officer. He was shot in the knee and a hand, and is now under guard at a hospital. Yesterday he was wheeled on a stretcher into court, where he denied the charges.
The cartoonist later said on the website of his newspaper, Jyllands-Posten: "My grandchild did fine. It was scary. It was close. Really close. But we did it." He added he was "quite shocked" but not injured.
Jakob Scharf, head of Denmark's intelligence agency PET, said yesterday: "The arrested man has, according to information, close relations with the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab and al-Qa'ida leaders in eastern Africa." He had won an asylum case and so had a permit to stay in Denmark, but is suspected of having been involved in terror-related activities in east Africa, and had been under PET's surveillance for some time, although not in connection with Mr Westergaard.
Mr Westergaard remains a potential target for extremists, four years after his cartoon, along with 11 other caricatures of Mohamed, was printed in Jyllands-Posten in what the paper described as "an attempt to promote freedom of expression". They attracted almost no attention until a Norwegian paper reprinted them.
A group of Danish imams then visited the Middle East, taking with them the 12 cartoons, plus three other satirical images, not produced by the paper's artists but by right-wing extremists, which were even more incendiary. One of them involved a pig's head; another depicted Mohamed as a paedophile.
There then followed angry demonstrations of Muslim outrage around the world, in which Danish embassies were attacked, flags burnt by protesters who felt the cartoons had profoundly insulted Islam, and some 50 people were killed. And, fuelling the saga for some time were several French, Germany, Italian and Spanish newspapers which reprinted the cartoons in solidarity with the Danes.
Throughout the crisis, the then Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, distanced himself from the cartoons, but resisted calls to apologise, citing freedom of speech and saying his government could not be held responsible for the actions of Denmark's press. Several young Muslims have since been convicted in Denmark of planning bomb attacks, partly in protest at the cartoons. In 2008, Osama bin Laden said Europe would be punished for the cartoons. And militants have put a $1m price on Mr Westergaard's head.
The affair has long since faded from British media, but for the cartoonists - 11 of whom are still in hiding and one of whom suffers from severe stress - and security services in Denmark and elsewhere, it has never gone away.
In 2008, Danish police arrested two Tunisian men suspected of plotting to murder Mr Westergaard. Neither was prosecuted, but one was deported and the other released last Monday after an immigration board rejected PET's efforts to expel him. In October, terror charges were brought against two Chicago men whose initial plan called for attacks on Jyllands-Posten's offices. The plan was later changed to killing the paper's former cultural editor and Mr Westergaard.
Yesterday, an umbrella organisation for moderate Muslims in Denmark condemned the latest attack on the cartoonist, saying: "The Danish Muslim Union strongly distances itself from the attack and any kind of extremism that leads to such acts."