Freedom of Expression,  Terrorism

Defend Kurt Westergaard


“I locked myself in our safe room and alerted the police. He tried to smash the entrance door with an axe, but he didn’t manage.” – Kurt Westergaard

This is the news from Denmark:

A Somali man has been charged with trying to kill a Danish artist whose drawing of the Prophet Mohammed sparked riots around the world.

The suspect, who was shot by police outside cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s home in the city of Aarhus on Friday, was carried into court on a stretcher.

Police say he broke into the house armed with an axe and a knife.

The suspect, who denies the charge, was remanded in custody. Police say he has links with Somali Islamist militants.

The radical al-Shabab group in Somalia hailed the attack.

Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Muhamud Rage told AFP news agency: “We appreciate the incident in which a Muslim Somali boy attacked the devil who abused our prophet Mohammed and we call upon all Muslims around the world to target the people like” him.

The suspect, who cannot be named for Danish legal reasons, was charged with attempted manslaughter.
The BBC’s Julian Isherwood in Copenhagen says he was wearing bandages on his arm and leg and a cloth over his head to conceal his identity as he was carried into court for a remand hearing in Aarhus.

Police say the 28-year-old suspect broke into Mr Westergaard’s home and shouted in broken English that he wanted to kill him. He is also alleged to have attacked police with an axe when they arrived at the scene.

The cartoon illustrates the invocation of Mohammed, by those associated with jihadist politics, for the purpose of their advocacy of violence against the innocent.


The attack on the cartoonist was a deliberate affirmation of that observation, not a protest against racism or anti-Muslim bigotry.

The campaign against the MoToons in 2006 was artificial. It was stirred up by individuals with a history of involvement in extreme politics and political violence.

Those people included Anwar al Awlaki Awlaki, who is a supporter of Al Shabab, and a recruiter of diaspora Somalis, among others, to jihad.

Listen to the tape below, recorded in 2006, where Awlaki uses the murder of a (surprise, surprise) Jewish poet in Mohammed’s time as an exemplary tale in the MoToon circumstances.

The prophet said “If he had calmed down, like others who follow his opinion, are of the same opinion as his, have calmed down, he wouldn’t have been assassinated. But he has harmed us and he has defamed us with his poetry and none of you would do this, except we would deal with him with the sword.

But he spoke against us. He spoke against me and he defamed me with his poetry. And then he made it clear to the Jews – if any one of you, you the Jews, or the polytheists, if any one of you try to defame me through your words, this will be the way we deal with you. There is nothing between us and you except the sword. There will be no dialogue, there will be no forgiveness, there will be no building of bridges, there will be no attempts of reconciliation, there will only be the sword between me and you”.

It is not the cartoons that provoked this murderous assault. Rather, it is an ideology of hatred, and authoritative religious edicts, such as this one, which lead jihadists to slaughter.

We have no way of knowing whether the assailant was following Awlaki’s command. However, we do know that Awlaki is regarded as a religious authority for Al Shabab, and that he has inspired other would be jihadists in the west to fight in Somalia.

Until his links with Major Hasan catapulted him to fame, Awlaki’s writings and talks were only closely followed in the West by Islamist groups, including a number in the UK (pdf), and those who opposed him.

How many would-be assailants have Awlaki and his ilk inspired?