By BEILA RABINOWITZ
April 22, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - In what appears to be a capitulation to Islamic extremists, the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who received numerous death threats by outraged Muslims for depicting Mohammad with a bomb in his turban, was placed on "indefinite leave" by his newspaper "for security reasons."
In January Westergaard was attacked in his Aarhus home by an ax-wielding Somali Muslim. He only escaped harm by hiding in a panic room.
About his forced retirement Westergaard commented, "It's a pity. I have become a too heavy burden and a very big security risk," he said, adding that he had not actually worked for the paper since last November. [source, AFP, Danish cartoonist at centre of Muhammad controversy on leave 'for security reasons', http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=2938023]
According to the Dutch newspaper, Volkskrant, Westergaard plans to continue drawing:
"I know that there are colleagues who are worried about security. I understand their concerns too but I don't want to give way to threats.I was sent on vacation but I cannot stay on vacation forever. Above all, I want to determine the moment when I stop working myself. The chief editors from the Jyllands-Posten have also said that the decision should be mine" [source, translated from the Dutch by Beila Rabinowitz, http://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/article1372101.ece/Bedreigde_cartoonist_Westergaard_tekent_gewoon_door]
The decision that Jylland-Posten faced in this matter was whether or not to give in to the tremendous pressure put upon it by Islamists bent on forcing compliance with Shari'a, especially as it regards depiction of its prophet.
If Westergaard's wish to continue drawing for the Jyllands-Posten is respected it will be an indication that the paper will continue its policy of promoting freedom of expression. However if Mr. Westergaard's leave translates to having been fired, then the publication will have caved to Muslim extremism an unacceptable option to a member of the Fourth Estate.
©2010 Beila Rabinowitz, PipeLineNews.org LLC. All rights reserved.