This is not the first time Pakistan has discovered an image posted on BNI many years ago that they say is “blasphemous” and demand its removal. The image is of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard holding his world-famous cartoon of the prophet Muhammad with a bomb on his head. Below is the image in question from BNI:
Here is the full view of Westergaard’s original Muhammad head bomb cartoon as published in Jyllands Posten in Denmark in 2005.
Below is the email I received from WordPress.com, which is neither the web host nor the platform for the Bare Naked Islam website. Many years ago it was, but now WordPress.com is simply the software provider.
Hello, Bare Naked Islam:
A Pakistan authority has demanded that we disable the following content on your WordPress.com site:
Unfortunately, we must comply to keep WordPress.com accessible for everyone in the region. As a result, we have disabled this content only for Internet visitors originating from Pakistan. They will instead see a message explaining why the content was blocked.
For your reference, we have included a copy of the complaint. No reply is necessary, but please let us know if you have any questions.
— Begin complaint —
So, who is Kurt Westergaard, you ask ?
The Guardian A decade after a Danish newspaper sparked global outrage by publishing 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, including one of the messenger’s turban as a fused bomb, the man responsible for the drawing says he feels anger but no regret. Kurt Westergaard’s notorious caricature, published by the Jyllands-Posten daily newspaper on 30 September 2005 would trigger deadly protests in the Muslim world, as Danish embassies and flags were torched in the Middle East.
In September 2005, the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was asked by his newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, to draw the prophet Muhammad “as you see him”. He did, and it changed his life. The resulting cartoon was deemed blasphemous by hardline Muslims around the world and drew death threats. More than four years later, after Westergaard had already been forced to spend a harrowing few months on the run with his wife Gitte, a 28-year-old man of Somali origin forced his way into their home last Friday evening wielding an axe and a knife.
From the outside, Westergaard’s house in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-biggest city, looks like your average suburban home. But according to the cartoonist, it is a “fortress without a moat”, equipped with security cameras and armoured windows. Living under the constant threat of revenge, he has always had to take precautions when leaving his home – visits to the gym, for example, could not be at predictable hours, so he would change his schedule every week. He carries a personal alarm and tracking device everywhere, and every day a police car would escort him to and from his work at Denmark’s biggest-selling daily newspaper.
Westergaard had been one of 12 artists who agreed to the commission for Jyllands-Posten, but his drawing of a bearded man with a bomb in his turban became the most famous – or notorious. He says he didn’t “necessarily” depict Muhammad; the bearded man might just as well have been a fundamentalist – a Taliban fighter, for example. Some of the other cartoons, meanwhile, clearly did not depict the prophet. But soon after 30 September 2005, when the 12 images appeared under the headline “The Face of Muhammad”, they collectively became infamous as “the Muhammad cartoons”.
Within months, however, things had turned violent. In February 2006, as he sat by his son’s swimming pool in Florida, Westergaard heard that the Danish embassies in Damascus, Beirut and Teheran had been set on fire by protesters. His daughter-in-law turned white and begged him not to go home.
“At that point I realised that Denmark had lost its innocence,” Westergaard told me last year. Despite his daughter-in-law’s pleas, he went home as fast as he could, into a storm later described as Denmark’s worst international crisis since the second world war.
But the true danger to Westergaard only became clear on 8 November 2007, more than two years after the publication of the cartoons, as he and Gitte were getting ready for a trip to Paris. They had already packed their suitcases – but they never left for France. Instead, the couple were urgently evacuated by the PET, who believed three men were planning to kill the cartoonist in his home.
In all, they were forced to move nine times and drive nine different cars as they migrated from holiday cottage to holiday cottage on the outskirts of Aarhus, spending no longer than four weeks anywhere.