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Westergaard remains defiant; urges free speech

Kurt Westergaard, who drew the well known caricature of the prophet Mohammad with turban resembling a bomb, made a couple of speeches yesterday the day after the fourth anniversary of the original printing of the 12 Danish Mohammad cartoons. He spoke at Princeton as well as Yale (off campus for security concerns). Here’s reports

From the Yale Daily News:

Answering questions about whether his work intended to target Muslims rather than Islamic terrorists, Westergaard said he never drew cartoons about “Muslims because they were Muslim.”

“I was provoked by terrorists themselves,” he said.

From the Daily Princetonian:

“You have the right to speak. You have the right to vote. You have the right to demonstrate,” Westergaard told the audience. “But there is one right you do not have, and this is the right not to be offended.”

Fox News covers Westergaards U.S. visit with a summary of the history of the aftermath of the cartoons.

Community Comments

#1 Michael Armando
October/3/2009
@ 11:37 am

Of course. The real test is if we can handle harsh words and pictures.

This is what separates the boys from the men.

#2 Mike Peterson
October/3/2009
@ 9:23 pm

I still don’t understand why it is courageous to purposely offend people. That is, to go after extremists is positive. But his cartoon is offensive even to moderate Muslims — as would be a cartoon linking Christ to the excesses of the Inquisition.

If he claimed an ironic exemption — If he said that he drew the cartoon as a reflection on how a message of peace has been turned into a message of intolerance by a minority of extremists, I would applaud his efforts. But as near as I can tell, he simply wanted to piss people off. And my tolerance of that has tailed off sharply since about the eighth grade.

#3 Ted Rall
October/4/2009
@ 3:27 pm

Westergaard engaged in an act of graphic terrorism.

The real target of terrorists such as the 9/11 hijackers is moderate fence-sitters. They hope to provoke their enemies (in the case of the 9/11 attackers, the United States and the West) into harsh retaliation, thus exposing them as the monsters that they considered them to be all along. Overreaction is exactly what they want. When the “victims” does something stupid, like invade two Muslim countries, it turns millions of former centrists’ sympathies in favor of the terrorists. The smartest thing the U.S. could have done after 9/11 was nothing. Or reached out to ask the world what it had done to deserve it. And treated the attacks as a police matter.

Westergaard and the other Danish cartoonists turned the terrorists’ tactics against them, deliberately provoking Muslim extremists, who played right into their hands by exposing themselves as embassy-burning morons–and thus painting the cartoonists as free speech heroes. It’s a nasty but brilliant bit of agitprop, and it did more to make Islamists look stupid than a million daisy cutter bombs.

#4 Woodrow Barlettani
October/4/2009
@ 11:43 pm

pictures say a thousand words, and eighth graders have rights too. Maybe it woke up some Islamic folk, like the KKK woke up some christian folks. In the words of Gandhi ,” an eye for an eye, the whole world walks around blind”

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