Thursday, 29 Jul 2021

Cartoonist whose Muhammed drawing sparked outrage in Charlie Hebdo massacre dies

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A cartoonist who drew the Prophet Muhammed which later sparked outrage has died, aged 86.

Kurt Westergaard's depiction of the Prophet angered those in the Muslim world.

His family have said he died following a long illness, reports Berlingske newspaper.

Westergaard was a cartoonist for the conservative Jyllands-Poston newspaper from the early 1980s.

He became world famous in 2005 for his controversial depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in the newspaper.

His cartoon, which showed a turban bomb, was one of 12 pictures published by the paper to make a point around self-censorship and criticism of Islam.

Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are offensive to some Muslims and regarded as taboo in Islam.

The cartoons lead to protests in Denmark, and its government received complaints from ambassadors of Muslim-majority states.

In 2015, 12 people were killed in an attack at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in France, a satirical magazine, after it published the cartoons.

According to Berlingske, the drawing in question had actually been printed once before but without sparking much controversy.

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Westergaard received death threats after they were published, and was a target of assassination attempts.

He went into hiding but then decided to live openly in a heavily fortified house in Aarhus, Denmark.

Danish intelligence service arrested three people in 2008, who were later charged with planning his murder.

Two years later, police caught a 28-year-old Somali armed with a knife at his house.

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Mohamed Geele was convicted of attempted murder and terrorism and later jailed for nine years in 2011.

In his later years, he lived with a bodyguard at secret addresses due to the attempts against his life.

Westergaard said he had no regrets about his satirical drawing when he spoke to Reuters news agency in 2008.

He told them: "I would do it the same way (again) because I think that this cartoon crisis in a way is a catalyst which is intensifying the adaptation of Islam," he said.

"We are discussing the two cultures, the two religions as never before and that is important."

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