Danish Newspaper Allegedly Forces Controversial Cartoonist Into Retirement in Wake of Threats From Muslim Extremists

Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard recently survived worldwide calls by Muslims for his murder and a recent attack at his home by a Muslim with an axe. His newspaper the Jyllands-Posten daily newspaper has responded by effectively firing him — allegedly to avoid further death threats from extremists. If true, it is only the latest example of newspapers and publishers caving in to such threats, including the shameful act of censorship by Comedy Central and a similar act by Yale University Press.

Recently, a leading Danish newspaper issued an apology to Muslims everywhere for printing the cartoon images of Mohammed.

The 75-year-old cartoonist said that he wanted to continue to work but was put on leave from the newspaper. He accepted retirement even though he insists that the newspaper in the past has allowed people to continue to work.

If he was willing to continue to work, I cannot think of a worst message to send. One would expect the newspaper to allow him to continue if nothing else as a symbol of its resolve to stand by freedom of speech and the press.

For the full story, click here.

17 thoughts on “Danish Newspaper Allegedly Forces Controversial Cartoonist Into Retirement in Wake of Threats From Muslim Extremists”

  1. At least they were honorable about the cowardice. The American press not so much.

  2. Gyges

    I’m simply asking a couple of questions; you can answer either or both (or none) as long as they are my questions and not your interpretation of them – OK?.

    PS The second question is not to “we” but to “you”.

  3. So here is a straaaaange turn of events…

    this morning on Facebook there were a number of pages devoted to drawing the prophet Mohammed. Needless to say some of the drawings were benign but most were disgusting. So nooooow, there are a handfull (when search is done) ‘Ban draw mohammed on May 20th’ pages.

    Even more intersting is what you see and read on the new ‘ban’ pages..


    less vitriole, more civil discussion, and yes, even a few pictures of Mohammed.

    …perhaps all was not in vain?

  4. Buckeye,

    Your argument makes little sense. You’re asking two different questions. The first is, why should we ask Europe to have our standards and the second is why shouldn’t we agree with the demands of whoever holds the biggest stick.

  5. “In a February interview that addressed censorship surrounding the Danish cartoons, including on South Park, Stone told the Huffington Post: “Cartoonists, people who do satire — we’re not in the Army, we’re never going to be f***ing drafted, and this is our time to stand up and do the right thing. And to watch the New York Times, Comedy Central, everybody just go, ‘No, we’re not going to do it, because basically we’re afraid of getting bombed’ sucked. I was so disappointed.” ”

    I’m off the fence now…when Parker/Stone decide that their disapointment is related to an abrogation of their rights of free speech…and file charges against Viacom….then I will draw a tasteful picture of Muhammed and join their fight….

  6. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/nyregion/27nyc.html

    http://revolutionmuslim.com/ [not working]


    the controversy hasn’t hurt their numbers…at all!

    and I am still in my least favorite place about this stuff….on the fence….I don’t believe in intimidation but neither do I believe that poking a rabid dog with a stick is an’expression’of free speech.

    Maybe they should all just get married……

  7. Tootie and Wootsy – According to the stories, there were 12 cartoons published originally in 2005 – probably in 12 different issues. That could be considered deliberatly taunting a known extremist, especially after the original reactions to the first of them.

    All 12 were republished in 2009 – in one issue, I think – we’re working with limited facts here.

    Since they have been reprinted all over the US and the internet, the “followers” will be busy if they plan to track down all the culprits at this point.

    I stand by my original point that expecting other countries to adhere to OUR standards may be unrealistic, given their very different history.

  8. “If your family was personally threatened, would you REALLY continue to agitate your enemy? I suspect the Danish newspaper and Comedy Central have consulted security experts and are following their advice. Just guessing.”

    I think there is a big difference between deliberately taunting and baiting a known extremist and then screaming “intolerance!’ when they finally react….and responsibly using a right to free speech. I know better than to give car keys to children or drunks too….

    that said….if they are operating on American soil and making threats to American citizens….show them the door….and if they carry out a violence here, then….THEN, you have a right to your whatevers…..

  9. Buckeye: How has the man continued to agitate the Muslims? How can he take back what he did? They will not leave it alone.

  10. Gyges

    Not at first. Later he had his Brownshirts, but not enough to cow millions of Germans. They listened and loved it. The Danes and the rest of Europe paid the price for his freedom of speech.

    We missed having sugar, cars, and various other commodities, but our physical structures remained intact – and noone was sent to a death camp. Their history is different, so why do we think they should adhere to OUR ideas of “freedom of speech”? Chauvinism?

    If your family was personally threatened, would you REALLY continue to agitate your enemy? I suspect the Danish newspaper and Comedy Central have consulted security experts and are following their advice. Just guessing.

  11. Buckeye,

    During Hitler’s rise to power his followers tended to silence the opposition with violence or threats of violence.

    Wait a second… that last part sounds familiar.

  12. We seem to continue to expect other nations (and religions) to adhere to OUR standards of “freedom of speech”. Why? Is it because we don’t have their history of war caused by allowing a crazed despot his freedom of speech leading to the holocaust? Think it can’t happen here? I’m not so sure – especially lately.

  13. May 20 is International Draw mohammed Day. The pen is mightier than the sword. A crying shame we seem to have forgotten it.

  14. I always said, if you give into the terrorists, you admit they are right. This includes beefing up security, changing the laws of the land, instilling fear in your populace, and apologizing for subjective harm.

  15. cow·ard·ice \ˈkau̇(-ə)r-dəs, dial -(ˌ)dīs\, n.,

    : lack of courage or resolution

    It’s hard to stand without a spine whether you give it away or it is taken.

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