Danish police arrested three people this morning on suspicion of planning to murder Kurt Westergaard. Westergaard had drawn the famous caricature of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.
The three are a Danish citizen of Moroccan origin and two Tunisian citizens. The Tunisians have been in Denmark for eight years, are married to Danish Muslim women and have children. PET chief Jakob Scharf said they would soon release the Dane and deport the Tunisians over lack of enough evidence to keep them in custody. He said they intervened "at a very early phase" because they "didn't want to take any unnecessary risks." They will be expelled without court proceedings under the 2002 anti-terror law, which gives police powers to arrest and expel foreigners on suspicion.
A 22 year old Danish woman from Gjellerupparken called up Nyhedsavisen and identified herself as the wife of one of the Tunisian men arrested. She said that it's an injustice and that they weren't given their rights. Her husband has a permanent residence permit in Denmark. She said she had no idea whether he had been deported already or not.
Kurt Westergaard (73) and his wife Gitte (66) had been living under police protection for more than three months because of "concrete murder plans" against Westergaard, Jyllands-Posten reported. Westergaard said he was scared at first, but later turned his fear "into anger and resentment." He told Denmark's TV2 News network that the couple had been forced to move between several locations, both in Denmark and abroad. He praised the intelligence service for providing protection.
Denmark's three largest newspapers: Jyllands-Posten, Politiken and Berlingske Tidende announced they will publish Westergaard's caricature Wednesday. This will be the first time that Berlingske Tidende publishes the drawing. The foreign ministry is concerned this will start off another Mohammed cartoon crisis.
The Danish Media Museum in Odense meanwhile announced it has no plans to cancel its planned exhibition of the cartoons next year and does not fear a new cartoon crisis.
Danish imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen refuses to take responsibility every time somebody in Denmark plans a terror attack. He says he doesn't understand why journalists call him all the time. If somebody plans to kill somebody else it has nothing to do with the religion or with other Muslims and therefore it's unnecessary for him to disassociate himself.
He says that he's as indigent as all Danes about what's happening in Denmark and is nostalgic for how Denmark used to be in the old days.
Kassem Ahmad, the head of the Islamic Society in Denmark, says that nobody in Denmark deserves to live in fear. A press release said that nobody in Denmark deserves to live in fear. Anybody who feels insulted by the cartoons should protest. There is freedom of expression in Denmark and we have concluded with the issue.
The Islamic Society appeals for calm from the politicians and the media not to misuse this unpleasant instance to fan the flames or for their own gain. They reject any form of taking the law into one's own hands. It doesn't help their cause when some people want to seek out their own form of justice.
"It is very alarming indeed and of course we condemn strongly any one violating Danish laws," Sheikh Radwan Mansour, the imam of a mosque in Aarhus, told Akhbar.Dk. "But I call on politicians and media outlets not to level impromptu charges before law takes its course to figure out whether these youths were victims of victimizers."
"I think it is all fabricated," Munir Bin Ali, a young Danish Muslim from Aarhus, told Akhbar.Dk. "It is the easiest thing in Denmark nowadays to concoct charges against Muslims. The charges are always there."
Sources: China Post, Islam Online (English), DR 1, 2, 3, Berlingske Tidende, Nyhedsavisen 1, 2 (Danish)
See also: Århus: Five arrested for cartoonist murder plans