Danish papers reprint Muhammad cartoon

Lars RefnCOPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark’s leading newspapers Wednesday reprinted a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad that triggered rioting in Muslim countries two years ago. The newspapers said they republished the cartoon to show their firm commitment to freedom of speech after the arrest Tuesday of three people accused of plotting to kill the man who drew the cartoon depicting the prophet wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse.

The Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which first published the drawings on Sept. 30, 2005, reprinted Westergaard’s cartoon in its paper edition Wednesday. Several other major dailies, including Politiken and Berlingske Tidende, also reprinted the drawing.”We are doing this to document what is at stake in this case, and to unambiguously back and support the freedom of speech that we as a newspaper will always defend,” said the Copenhagen-based Berlingske Tidende. Tabloid Ekstra Bladet reprinted all 12 drawings. At least three European newspapers – in Sweden, the Netherlands and Spain – also reprinted the cartoon as part of their coverage of the Danish arrests.

Intelligence police arrested two Tunisians and a Danish citizen of Moroccan origin in western Denmark on Tuesday for allegedly plotting to kill Westergaard. The Danish suspect was released Tuesday after questioning, his lawyer Henning Lyngsbo said.”He has no knowledge about the case,” Lyngsbo told The Associated Press. “It doesn’t seem that the evidence is very strong.”

Associated Press, 13 February 2008