- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2008

COPENHAGEN (AP) — Police said today they have arrested three persons 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.

Two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan origin were arrested in pre-dawn raids in western Denmark, the police intelligence agency said.

The Dane was suspected of violating Danish terror laws but likely will be released after questioning as the investigation continues, said Jakob Scharf, the head of the PET intelligence service. The two Tunisians will be expelled from Denmark, he said.

The agency did not say 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.

“There were very concrete murder plans against Kurt Westergaard,” said Carsten Juste, the paper’s editor in chief.

The cartoons were later reprinted by a range of Western publications, and they sparked deadly protests in parts of the Muslim world.

Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.

Mr. Westergaard, 73, and his wife Gitte, 66, had been living under police protection, Jyllands-Posten reported.

“Of course I fear for my life when the police intelligence service says that some people have concrete plans to kill me. But I have turned fear into anger and resentment,” Mr. Westergaard said in a statement published on Jyllands-Posten’s Web site.

PET, the police intelligence service, called the action “preventive,” saying it decided to strike “at an early phase to stop the planning and the carrying out of the murder.”

In the uproar that followed the publishing of the cartoons, Danes watched in disbelief as angry mobs burned the Danish flag and attacked the country’s embassies in Muslim countries, including Syria, Iran and Lebanon.

Jyllands-Posten was evacuated several times because of threats and posted security guards at its office outside Aarhus and in Copenhagen.

The paper initially refused to apologize for the cartoons, which it said were published in reaction to a perceived self-censorship among artists dealing with Islamic issues, but it later said it regretted that the cartoons had offended Muslims.

The Danish government also expressed regrets to Muslims but noted that it could not interfere with the freedom of the press.

Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Copenhagen-based Islamic Faith Community, a network of Muslim groups that spearheaded protests against the cartoons in Denmark, said he hoped yesterday’s arrests would not rekindle the uproar.

“We urge Muslims to take it calmly,” he told the TV2 News network.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide