Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Afraid in Denmark

In the Jerusalem Post, Bloomberg writes about Kurt Westergaard, the Danish graphic artist who for the past four years has faced death threats because of the cartoon of Mohammed he published in 2005. Excerpt:
“The worst thing about being stigmatized is that I can’t do anything about it,” Westergaard says. “The more I speak out, the worse it becomes.”

His defiance has had a price beyond becoming a social pariah. In 2007, he and his wife, Gitte, lived in hiding for eight months as the police investigated two Tunisians and a Dane over allegations of a plot against his life. On January 14, two Chicago men and two Pakistanis were indicted in the United States for planning an attack on Morgenavisen Jyllands, the paper Westergaard works for.

Gitte worked as a substitute teacher at a local kindergarten in February 2008, he says. She was fired because other staff feared that her presence would endanger children. When this emerged in local newspapers the next day, an alderman forced the kindergarten to reinstate her and the mayor invited her for tea at the city hall.

Online auction house Lauritz.com last month refused to sell one of his paintings of fabled characters as part of a national effort to raise money for earthquake victims in Haiti, fearing for its employees, the company said on its Web site.

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