Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Arrests in Plot Against Danish Cartoonists

Today Danish police arrested an unspecified number of suspects in an alleged plot to murder one of a dozen cartoonists whose caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 sparked riots in Muslim communities around the world. "The purpose of the clampdown was to prevent a terror-related homicide," police chief Jakob Scharf said. The detainees are suspected of planning to kill Kurt Westergaard, who in September 2005 provided the newspaper with a cartoon of Muhammad wearing a bomb in his turban. Protests prompted by publication of the cartoons included consumer boycotts of Danish goods and the torching of Danish embassies. More than fifty people died in the ensuing violence.

Last week the The Museum of Danish Cartoon Art (!) in Copenhagen announced it was planning to buy the 12 caricatures, with the aims of showing them in an exhibition about freedom of expression. "If the library acquires them, we would like to show them together with media reports about the publication and the protests against it,” Museum director Ervin Nielsen said.

“We hope we can secure all of the works to preserve them for the future. The caricatures have become a part of Danish history,” Royal Library spokesperson Jytte Kjaergaard told The Art Newspaper.

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