No bomb in his turban, but a price on his head:
Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard
WHEN THE DANISH NEWSPAPER Jyllands-Posten first published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005 as a provocation to domestic Muslims, the paper’s editor and staff knew they was courting trouble. But they could scarcely have imagined just how much chaos the cartoons would eventually cause, including deadly riots and a boycott of Danish products across the Muslim world. Were it not for some quick work on the part of the Danish Intelligence Service and the Norwegian police, the affair could have finished the newspaper and its staff off for good.
In late summer the Jyllands-Posten increased security at its headquarters (I wrote about it here), and these preparations have proven themselves to be a wise precaution. According to today’s edition of the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, thirty-seven year-old Iraqi Kurd Shawan Saeed Sadek Bujak, a suspected member of a Norwegian-based terror ring who was arrested last July in the German city of Duisburg while visiting there with his family from Norway, and who has been in Norwegian custody ever since, has finally confessed that he is involved in a plot to blow up the Danish newspaper’s headquarters. Trond Hugubakken of Norway’s Police Security Service confirmed the plot today.
Westergaard's Mohammed caricature has become
a popular symbol of Scandinavia's anti-immigrant movement
The police say that the three-member group of which the suspect is a member is linked to a Pakistani al-Qaeda group that was involved in the London bomb attacks of 2005. The Norwegian authorities arrested the other two members in Oslo in early July. During the raid also discovered bottles of acetone and hydrogen peroxide for use in manufacturing so-called “Satan’s Mother” bombs. (See video here.)
There is no information on when the alleged bomb attack on Jyllands-Posten was to take place, but the upcoming publication of the memoirs of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, a target of hatred throughout the Muslim world for his depiction of the Prophet with a bomb in his turban, suggests the attack could have been imminent. Westergaard has received countless death threats and only barely escaped an assassination attempt at his home in January of this year. On September 10 a one-legged Chechen terrorist detonated a bomb in a Copenhagen hotel. It apparently had been intended for the newspaper's office in the capital.
On September 8, Westergaard received the "M100 Media Prize" for "his unbending dedication to freedom of the press" from German chancellor Angela Merkel at a ceremony in Potsdam. But many European Muslims remain unimpressed by such heroics. Aiman Mazyek of Germany's Central Council of Muslims told the press that Westergaard "has, in our view, trampled our prophet beneath his feet."
As Eddie the Shipboard Computer says in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "I can see this relationship is something we're all going to have to work at."