Danish cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, who depicted Prophet Mohammed wearing a turban made of a bomb and caused a wave of violence in 2006 has died at the age of 86.
Berlingske, a Danish newspaper, reported the artist’s death on Sunday. They cited information from the artist’s family. The cartoonist died after a long illness. The caricature of Mohammed was first published by Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten– a Danish newspaper in Sep 2005.
Numerous newspapers reprinted the cartoon at the start of 2006. This formed part of the public discourse on free speech. Muslims were not happy with this publication and they even boycotted Danish products. Several Danish embassies were closed around especially in predominantly Muslim countries.
During that time, the cartoonist stated that he wanted to communicate that some people exploited the prophet to legitimize terrorism. A number of Muslims stated that the Quran prohibits the use of the image of the prophet. Others interpreted the image as depicting Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist.
“I want to be remembered as the one who struck a blow for freedom of speech,” Westergaard told Berlingske.
“But there is no doubt that there is someone who will instead remember me as the Satan who insulted the religion of a billion people.”
During the last years of his life, Kurt Westergaard, lived under police protection and Danish authorities arrested a number of persons linked to alleged plots against his life.
In Feb 2011, a Danish court sentenced a Somali national to 9 years in prison for an attempted attack on Westergaard at his home in 2010.
Westergaard is survived by his wife Gitte and 5 children. He had 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, according to the Berlingske report.
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