Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that became famous for provoking violent worldwide protests by Muslims after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005, has refused to do so again, with its editor-in-chief commenting, “Violence works.”
In case you did not know, the word for submission in Arabic is “Islam.”
Summit News The decision follows the beheading of school teacher Samuel Paty in Paris for showing similar cartoons to pupils in his class and another attack yesterday in Nice during which three people were killed near a church, including a woman who was decapitated.
Now Jacob Nybroe, editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, says his newspaper will not accept ads being run by Danish political party the New Right, which includes cartoons of Mohammad, due to the risk of a violent backlash.
The Original Mohammed Cartoons in Jyllands-Posten
The cartoons are being run in collaboration with Charlie Hebdo to “show support for the victims of Islamic violence,” but Nybroe says his newspaper can play no part in it. “Security for us is unfortunately not a theoretical, moral, or political consideration,” Nybroe said.
“I wish it was different, that we could express ourselves freely, as we do in all other matters. But violence works,” he added.
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 Fridayevening wielding an axe and a knife.
At the time, Westergaard was looking after his five-year-old granddaughter, Stephanie. He was confronted with a terrible choice: risk being killed in front of his granddaughter, or trust that the PET, Denmark’s security and intelligence service, knew what they were talking about when they had told him terrorists usually don’t harm family members but stick to their target.
Westergaard chose to escape into his bathroom, which had been specially fortified as a “panic room”, while Stephanie was left sitting in the living room. From the bathroom he alerted the police as his assailant reportedly battered the reinforced door with the axe, shouting, “We will get our revenge!”
“Those minutes were horrible,” Westergaard recalled yesterday. “But I think I have got through this fairly well – and so, it seems, did my grandchild. That, of course, is the main thing. I would not have been able to live with myself if something had happened to her.”
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.
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 his wife 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.
At the Radisson SAS in Aarhus (sometimes a hotel room took the place of a holiday cottage), the Westergaards were asked to leave as their presence was considered a safety risk. At another hotel, while the couple were unloading luggage from their car, they came to the attention of two men and two women who were apparently of Middle Eastern origin.
“May you burn in hell!” one of the men shouted at Westergaard. Read More
“Only in one circumstance do we show caution – that is, in fact, a censorship inflicted on us by threats: we do not show drawings of the Prophet Muhammad,” Nybroe explained.
After Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons to spark a debate about criticism of Islam, the move prompted global violent riots as well as numerous threats against newspaper staff.
Below video is an example of the worldwide protests that resulted from the Danish cartoons:
The backlash was described by former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as “Denmark’s worst international crisis since World War II.”