Muhammad Caricature Fallout: Denmark Busts Alleged Plot to Kill Cartoonists
Pre-dawn police raids in Denmark have netted five people suspected of involvement in a plot to kill a cartoonist whose depiction of the Prophet Muhammad helped spark international violence two years ago.
Many Muslims, as seen here in Pakistan in 2006, were not pleased about the Muhammad cartoons.
Westergaard's cartoon depicted the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, complete with a lit fuse. It was one of the most offensive of the drawings that ultimately resulted in violence and protests in a number of predominantly Muslim countries, much of it targeting Danish embassies and products. At least 50 people died in the rioting.
The raids and arrests were conducted in Aarhus, located in western Denmark. The Associated Press quotes PET, the police intelligence agency, as saying that the raids were meant "to prevent a terror-related murder" and to do so "at an early phase to stop the planning and the carrying out of murder." According to Danish broadcaster DR, police took five people into custody.
The police did not mention either the number of arrests made or the suspected targets. Carsten Juste, editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, however, released a statement saying that the murder plans against Kurt Westergaard were very "concrete." The cartoonist and his wife have been living under police protection for the last three months as a result of the plot.
The murder plot is just one of a number of aftershocks reverberating from the cartoon crisis. In November 2006, Jihad Hamad -- one of two men behind a failed plot to explode suitcases packed with bombs on a German train -- said in a television interview that the cartoons had prompted him to act. His partner in the plot, Youssef Mohammed el-Hajdib, reiterated that claim in a German court last week.
Denmark's National Library recently announced plans to archive the caricatures that sparked the violent protests.
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