- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 13, 2008

COPENHAGEN (AFP) — Danish authorities yesterday arrested three persons suspected of plotting a cartoonist’s assassination for his depiction of the prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban that enraged Muslims two years ago.

Three of Denmark’s largest newspapers said they would reprint the cartoon today to show they would not be intimidated by fanatics. It was one of 12 Muhammad cartoons published in 2005 and then again in 2006 that led to violent protests in Muslim countries.

Investigators said they foiled the plot in its early stages in a pre-dawn raid in the western Denmark city of Aarhus. The police intelligence agency, PET, said two Tunisians and a Danish citizen of Moroccan origin were arrested.

The case shows that, unfortunately, there are in Denmark groups of extremists that do not accept and respect the basic principles on which the Danish democracy has been built, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

Yesterday’s arrests were meant to prevent a terror-related assassination of one of the cartoonists behind the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, PET chief Jakob Scharf said. Investigators think the plot had not advanced far enough to try the suspects.

Mr. Scharf said the 40-year-old Danish suspect faced a preliminary charge of violating a Danish terrorism law. The two Tunisians will be expelled from Denmark, he said.

He did not name the intended target, but Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten said it was the paper’s cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard.

Mr. Westergaard, 73, drew one of the 12 Muhammad caricatures first published by the paper on Sept. 30, 2005, and then reprinted by other Western media in early 2006.

Islamists oppose any depiction of the prophet.

Jyllands-Posten and two other Danish papers, Politiken and Berlingske Tidende, said they would reprint Mr. Westergaard’s cartoon in today’s editions. Jyllands-Posten posted the cartoon on the front page of its Web site yesterday.

Actions of this kind have no place in Islam as it was understood, lived and told by the prophet Muhammad, the moderate Muslim Council of Denmark said in a statement.

In the uproar that followed the publishing of the cartoons, angry Muslims burned the Danish flag and attacked the country’s embassies in Muslim countries including Syria, Iran and Lebanon. Danish products were boycotted in several Muslim countries.

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