Danish cartoonist who drew blasphemous image of Prophet dies

Kurt Westergaard. Pic: BBC World Service. License details here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who infamously drew an image of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wearing a bomb as a turban, has died aged 86.

Westergaard died in his sleep on July 14 after a long period of illness, Danish media reported.

Westergaard worked as a cartoonist for the right-wing Jyllands-Posten, one of Denmark’s leading newspapers.

He became known worldwide in 2005 for his blasphemous depiction of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Jyllands-Posten, which published 12 editorial cartoons of the Prophet (pbuh).

The images, particularly Westergaard’s, sparked a huge wave of anger in the Muslim world and escalated into anti-Denmark protests by Muslims worldwide in 2006.

Several newspapers in Norway also published the cartoons. Danish and Norwegian embassies in Syria were burned down by crowds during the demonstrations.

In the aftermath of the uproar, Westergaard received several death threats and was forced to have police protection.

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In 2010 a 28-year-old Somali man broke into his home with an axe and knife. He was later sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“I would like to be remembered as the one who struck a blow for the freedom of expression. But there’s no doubt that there are some who will instead remember me as a Satan who insulted the religion of over one billion people,” Westergaard had said.

Jyllands-Posten said in an editorial that with the death of Westergaard “it is more important than ever to emphasise that the struggle for freedom of expression, which became his destiny, is the struggle of all of us for freedom.”

Meanwhile, Westergaard’s death has been widely celebrated by Muslims on social media.

The academic Dr Tallha Abdulrazaq said: “Lol good riddance. I hope it wasn’t a pleasant end, and I’m certain he’s regretting it right now. I hope your fun was worth it, scumbag.”

And American blogger Daniel Haqiqatjou simply said: “Roast in peace.”

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