Danish cartoonist welcomes drawing supporting freedom of speech

June 4th, 2008 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Oslo, June 4 (DPA) A Danish newspaper cartoonist who was the alleged target of a murder plot over a controversial drawing of the Prophet Mohammed welcomed a Norwegian newspaper’s decision to publish a drawing in defence of freedom of speech, reports said Wednesday. “Freedom of speech is the most important thing we have,” Kurt Westergaard told the online edition of Oslo daily Aftenposten, adding that his Norwegian colleague at the Adresseavisen would likely face threats.

The Adresseavisen, published in Trondheim, Tuesday ran a cartoon of a man with a bomb-belt around his waist and a T-shirt emblazoned with the text “I am Mohammed and no one dares to publish me.”

Managing editor Arne Blix said the cartoon did not depict the prophet “but was a comment on events in Islamabad,” referring to the bombing Monday of the Danish embassy in Pakistan that claimed six lives, including two Pakistini nationals employed by the embassy.

Westergaard made a drawing of the prophet with a bomb in his turban, one of 12 cartoons printed by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, that sparked violent protests early 2006.

The cartoons have been mentioned as a possible motive for the Islamabad bombing.

Westergaard’s cartoon was reprinted earlier this year by leading Danish newspapers after Danish security police said they had foiled a plot to murder him. He now lives under strict security.

Some Muslim representatives in Norway said they expected protests over the drawing while Blix said the publication was “important for the innocent victims impacted by terrorism and for freedom of speech.”

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