about the Islamic attempt to murder Kurt Westergaard.
Attempt to Kill Danish Cartoonist Fails
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 1, 2010
COPENHAGEN (AP)—The police foiled an attempt to kill an artist who drew a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad that sparked outrage in the Muslim world, the head of Denmark’s intelligence service said Saturday.
Jakob Scharf, who heads PET, the Danish intelligence service, said a 28-year-old Somalia man was armed with an ax and a knife when he tried to enter the home of the artist, Kurt Westergaard, in Aarhus on Friday evening.
The attack on Mr. Westergaard, whose rendering was among 12 that led to the burning of Danish diplomatic offices in predominantly Muslim countries in 2006, was “terror related,” Mr. Scharf said in a statement.
“The arrested man has according to PET’s information close relations to the Somali terrorist group, Al Shabab, and Al Qaeda leaders in eastern Africa,” he said.
The man was suspected of having been involved in terror-related activities during a stay in East Africa and had been under PET’s surveillance, but not in connection with Mr. Westergaard, Mr. Scharf said.
The police shot the Somali man in a knee and a hand, authorities said. The police in Aarhus said that the suspect was seriously wounded, but that his life was not in danger.
The man, who had a permit to live in Denmark, was to be charged Saturday with attempted murder for trying to kill Mr. Westergaard and a police officer, Mr. Scharf said. His name was not released.
Mr. Westergaard, 75, who had his 5-year-old granddaughter on a sleepover, called the police and sought shelter in a specially made safe room in the house, the police said.
Officers arrived two minutes later and tried to arrest the suspect, who wielded an ax at a police officer. The officer then shot the man.
Mr. Westergaard could not be reached for comment. According to his employer, the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Mr. Westergaard said the assailant had shouted “revenge” and “blood” when trying to enter the room where he and his grandchild had sought shelter.
Mr. Westergaard remains a potential target for extremists nearly five years after he drew a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban. The drawing was printed along with 11 others in Jyllands-Posten in 2005.
Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.
Law enforcement officials have said twice before that they had learned of plots against Mr. Westergaard.
Mr. Scharf said the new case “again confirms the terror threat that is directed at Denmark and against the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in particular.”
Rick U. writes: