Heroes– Danish Newspapers Respond

In response to a recent Islamofascist murder plot uncovered in Denmark, 17 newspapers (there is safety in numbers) published Muhammad cartoons.  Maybe there is someone willing to fight for freedom of expression in the West!

excerpts (from AFP):

At least 17 Danish newspapers printed a controversial cartoon of Prophet Mohammed Wednesday, vowing to defend freedom of expression a day after police foiled a murder plot against the cartoonist.

Three of the country’s biggest dailies were among those that published the cartoon, which featured the prophet’s head with a turban that looked like a bomb with a lit fuse.

The caricature was one of 12 cartoons published in September 2005 by the Jyllands-Posten daily which sparked violent protests in a number of Muslim countries in January and February 2006.

On Tuesday, Danish police said they had arrested three people, a Dane of Moroccan origin and two Tunisian nationals, suspected of plotting to kill the cartoonist of the turban cartoon, Kurt Westergaard.

The newspapers that printed the cartoon on Wednesday said they did so to take a stand against self-censorship.

“Freedom of expression gives you the right to think, to speak and to draw what you like… no matter how many terrorist plots there are,” conservative broadsheet Berlingske Tidende wrote in an editorial.

The newspaper — which had not previously printed the caricature despite the massive controversy that engulfed Denmark for months in 2006 — urged “the Danish media to stand united against fanaticism”.

Tabloid Ekstra Bladet meanwhile published all 12 of the original cartoons.

….Even the centre-left newspaper of reference, Politiken, which was most critical of Jyllands-Posten’s decision in 2005 to publish the cartoons, joined in the cries of condemnation.

The alleged murder plot was “deeply shocking and worrying” and “shows that there are fanatic Islamists who are ready to make good on their threats and there are people in this country who neither respect freedom of expression nor the law,” an editorial read.

…Members of Denmark’s Muslim community have distanced themselves from the alleged murder plot, but opposed the publication of the cartoon on Wednesday.

I…He said it was possible the reprinting could prompt “negative reactions abroad.”

The Danish foreign ministry said meanwhile it was following the situation closely across the world.

During the 2006 controversy, demonstrators burned Danish flags and threatened the Scandinavian country.

The protests culminated in February with the torching of Danish diplomatic offices in Damascus and Beirut and the death of dozens of people in Nigeria, Libya and Pakistan.

The cartoonist at the heart of the controversy, Westergaard, told tabloid BT on Wednesday that he never expected to end up the target of a death threat.

“With this drawing I wanted to show how fanatical Islamists or terrorists use religion as a kind of spiritual weapon. But naturally I never imagined these kinds of reactions,” he said.

He said he considered himself an atheist, adding: “I feel that I am fighting a righteous fight to defend freedom of expression, which is under threat.”

At least 17 Danish newspapers printed a controversial cartoon of Prophet Mohammed Wednesday, vowing to defend freedom of expression a day after police foiled a murder plot against the cartoonist.

Three of the country’s biggest dailies were among those that published the cartoon, which featured the prophet’s head with a turban that looked like a bomb with a lit fuse.

The caricature was one of 12 cartoons published in September 2005 by the Jyllands-Posten daily which sparked violent protests in a number of Muslim countries in January and February 2006.

On Tuesday, Danish police said they had arrested three people, a Dane of Moroccan origin and two Tunisian nationals, suspected of plotting to kill the cartoonist of the turban cartoon, Kurt Westergaard.

The newspapers that printed the cartoon on Wednesday said they did so to take a stand against self-censorship.

“Freedom of expression gives you the right to think, to speak and to draw what you like… no matter how many terrorist plots there are,” conservative broadsheet Berlingske Tidende wrote in an editorial.

The newspaper — which had not previously printed the caricature despite the massive controversy that engulfed Denmark for months in 2006 — urged “the Danish media to stand united against fanaticism”.

Tabloid Ekstra Bladet meanwhile published all 12 of the original cartoons.

The Danish press has unanimously condemned the alleged murder plot against Westergaard, who has lived in hiding for the past three months.

Even the centre-left newspaper of reference, Politiken, which was most critical of Jyllands-Posten’s decision in 2005 to publish the cartoons, joined in the cries of condemnation.

The alleged murder plot was “deeply shocking and worrying” and “shows that there are fanatic Islamists who are ready to make good on their threats and there are people in this country who neither respect freedom of expression nor the law,” an editorial read.

It said the media should stand behind Jyllands-Posten “when it is threatened with terrorism”.

Members of Denmark’s Muslim community have distanced themselves from the alleged murder plot, but opposed the publication of the cartoon on Wednesday.

Imam Walid Abdul Pedersen, a Protestant who converted to Islam, said: “It’s not a good idea to reproduce it and the newspapers could have defended the cartoonist differently, without resorting to provocation.”

“It’s good to have a dialogue on freedom of expression, but you shouldn’t seek out a confrontation from the start,” he said.

He said it was possible the reprinting could prompt “negative reactions abroad.”

The Danish foreign ministry said meanwhile it was following the situation closely across the world.

During the 2006 controversy, demonstrators burned Danish flags and threatened the Scandinavian country.

The protests culminated in February with the torching of Danish diplomatic offices in Damascus and Beirut and the death of dozens of people in Nigeria, Libya and Pakistan.

The cartoonist at the heart of the controversy, Westergaard, told tabloid BT on Wednesday that he never expected to end up the target of a death threat.

“With this drawing I wanted to show how fanatical Islamists or terrorists use religion as a kind of spiritual weapon. But naturally I never imagined these kinds of reactions,” he said.

He said he considered himself an atheist, adding: “I feel that I am fighting a righteous fight to defend freedom of expression, which is under threat.”

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