German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad caused anger in 2006. A depiction of Muhammad’s turban as a fused bomb sparked global outrage when it was published in Denmark.
Presenting him with a press freedom award, Mrs Merkel said Mr Westergaard was entitled to draw his caricatures. “Europe is a place where a cartoonist is allowed to draw something like this,” she said.
Germany’s Central Muslim Council (ZMD) criticised Ms Merkel for attending the award ceremony. A ZMD spokesman, Aiman Mazyek, told public broadcaster Deutschlandradio that the Chancellor was honouring someone “who in our eyes kicked our prophet, and therefore kicked all Muslims”. He said giving Mr Westergaard the prize in a “highly charged and heated time” was “highly problematic”.
Perhaps Merkel might like to follow this up by promoting an exhibition of caricatures from Der Stürmer – all in the interests of celebrating Europe’s commitment to freedom of expression, you understand.