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Cartoonist slams Islam ahead of Merkel speech

The Local · 8 Sep 2010, 21:15

Published: 08 Sep 2010 16:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Sep 2010 21:15 GMT+02:00

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Kurt Westergaard, who was in Germany to receive the M100 Media Prize 2010, made his remarks to the Thursday edition of the daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, according to an advanced publication.

“In my opinion you can’t compare Islam with Christianity. It isn’t a likeable religion, rather in all sorts of regards, a reactionary religion,” he said.

Westergaard, 75, has received death threats and even escaped a murder attempt because of a 2005 cartoon he drew for Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, portraying the Muslim prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

In his interview with the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Westergaard cited the persecution of homosexuals in Islamic countries, which he branded “barbaric.” He said, however, that he would “always argue that people have the right to practice this religion.”

And Merkel wasn't deterred from making a speech defending press freedom and Westergaard on Wednesday night in Potsdam.

"[We] are talking here about the freedom of opinion and of the press. It's about whether in a Western society with its values, he is allowed to publish his Muhammad cartoons in a newspaper or not," Merkel said.

"It is irrelevant whether his caricatures are tasteless or not, whether he thinks they are necessary or helpful, or not. Is he allowed to do that? Yes, he can."

At the same time Merkel slammed as "abhorrent" plans by US pastor Terry Jones's Dove World Outreach Center in Florida to mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks by burning Korans.

The remarks come at a time of sharp focus on Islam and the integration of Muslim communities in Germany in the wake of Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin’s controversial remarks about immigration last week. Politicians including Merkel have condemned Sarrazin’s provocative comments about Muslims but also raised the importance of having a frank debate about integration.

Westergaard's cartoon and 11 others like it sparked protests in Muslim countries around the world. In January a Somali man allegedly broke into Westergaard's home and threatened to kill him with an axe and a knife. In 2009 two men were arrested in Chicago allegedly with plans to attack the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Westergaard told reporters that his cartoon, depicting Muhammad with a turban with a lit fuse, would live on even if he was killed.

"Maybe they will try to kill me and maybe they will have success, but they cannot kill the cartoon," Westergaard said before being awarded the prize.

Merkel meanwhile was criticised by Germany's Central Muslim Council (ZMD) for attending the event.

The chancellor was honouring someone "who in our eyes kicked our Prophet, and therefore kicked all Muslims," ZMD head Aiman Mazyek told the radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur.

Story continues below…

He said giving Westergaard a prize in this "highly charged and heated time" was "highly problematic."

But Merkel's spokesman earlier Wednesday defended her decision to give the keynote speech.

"The chancellor is sending out to all people in Germany, Muslims or not, the message that press freedom, which will be the focus of her speech, is a precious commodity," spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular briefing.

DAPD/AFP/The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:29 September 8, 2010 by HollyMacarony
Islam is not reactionary but some Muslims certainly are.

And no you cant compare Christianity with Islam because Christianity is Polytheism and Islam is Monotheism.

PS: This Islam/Muslim bashing is kinda getting old.
20:39 September 8, 2010 by twizzer
The old guy looks actually happy with his work ..... damn full of humur. Just look at his pink pastel neckscarf.......
21:42 September 8, 2010 by Joshontour
Wow, Holly I've been a Christian for many years and never new we were polytheistic. You must have made that up all by yourself. The Bible says there is one God, but you must have some inside information that we don't know about.
23:53 September 8, 2010 by wxman
This guy has balls. We need more like him around the world.
00:49 September 9, 2010 by lovelybug
Yes he has balls , but what did he get from his balls :) Lets be honest and think for one moment , what change or betterment he made in the world by doing what he did. Any positive impact or rift between people???? Which kind of freedom of speech this is???
00:52 September 9, 2010 by martell
More brave people like Westergaard, a spearhead symbol of democratic values.

Less religion which belongs in the closet and private rooms but not in a government and in a state.

No cults which have the destruction of Western values as their goal.

Who cares about polytheism or monotheism LOL Europe does not need this.
03:49 September 9, 2010 by saucymugwump
HollyMacarony wrote: Islam is not reactionary but some Muslims certainly are.

Try reading some of the Koran. You will discover that it is a violent sect and has codified second-class status for women. Adulterers are to be stoned. Apostates are to be killed. Nonbelievers are to be given three choices: convert, pay an infidel tax (jizya), or be killed. And so on. Hardly a tolerant sect.

HollyMacarony wrote: Christianity is Polytheism and Islam is Monotheism

You are saying that because of the Holy Trinity, where Christians worship God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, not to mention the many Saints. Yes, Christianity is polytheistic, even though most Christians do not realize it.

However, Islam is also polytheistic, to be specific, bitheistic. Okay, bitheistic is not a word; let's try ditheistic. The entire point of the article was that Muslims go postal whenever Muhammad is insulted. Therefore, Islam is a religion of two gods, Allah and Muhammad.
05:58 September 9, 2010 by munichiscool
Friends , lets start a Bible lesson. I hope majority of you have not read it :). Christianity not only degrades but also humiliates the women. See below please :

"If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. [c] He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. " (Deuteronomy 22:28)

So according to Bible ,

1. A man can rape a girl

2. If it is found then he has to pay his father. Is it the price to rape a girl????

3. After humiliating a girl and raping her , he has to marry her. How much more humiliated for a girl wil be when she marries her rapist?

4.And then she have to live the whole life with her rapist.

So friends, there are so many exampels of women disgrace and violence against them in Bible that I can write here the pages.

Please open your eyes before saying anything against others.
06:11 September 9, 2010 by b_raz
'The entire point of the article was that Muslims go postal whenever Muhammad is insulted. Therefore, Islam is a religion of two gods, Allah and Muhammad'

The above conclusion is completely wrong, It is one of the fundamental principles of Islam that he who worships anyone except Allah (God) is not a Muslim and Muhammaad (PBUH) is one of the Prophets, just like Jesus, Moses. It is also emphasized that it is obligatory for every muslim to respect all Prophets.

The point is why would you insult a person? A Prophet ! to whom sentiments of Millions of people are attached and then consider and label it as a 'freedom of speech'. Is this a freedom of speech? for the west to insult THE MOST RESPECTABLE PERSON IN THE MUSLIM WORLD.
08:13 September 9, 2010 by ReaderX
Yes it is freedom of speech and you no one does not have to like or agree with it.

Further Catholicism teaches the worshiping of saints. However other denominations of Christianity do not. Just as with Islam, Judaism, Christianity has more then one denomination. So before one start blaming the entire religion on anything one should get their facts straight.

As for the passage in regards to raping women. This was an Old Testament law that was done away with once Jesus died for the sins of man kind. So again. Try studying a bit before you go and try to sound big on the Internet.

This law was given in part because at the time of writing there were no jails. Most criminals were sentenced to death instead of being incarcerated somewhere. As to why this was not a crime punishable by death, ask god that.

As for Islam being the only religion that claims to make women cover their heads.

Well 1Corinthians 12:16 in the Bible claims otherwise


So is this disgraceful or treating women as inferior to man? That's a different story but again people this is 2010, before you go on the Internet and start bashing one group whom you oppose due try to research it a bit more before spouting off about it.

'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. ~ Abraham Lincoln
08:41 September 9, 2010 by MonkeyMania
I think the prophet Muhammad is a wing-nut. I wonder now if The Local will respect my "Freedom of Speech and thought" and "Freedom of expression" and leave my comment.
08:48 September 9, 2010 by Joshontour
You people who think that Christians worship three different Gods, are seriously misguided. You have no understanding of Christianity and are not at all qualified to teach what other people think. It would be the same as if I said you worship Allah, Muhammad, and the Black stone. Not that I need to defend the "trinity" because God can certainly defend himself; but I am a Father to my son, a Brother to my siblings, a Husband to my wife, and a son to my parents. Does that make me 4 different people? No, I am still one person. H20 can be liquid, it can be solid, it can be gas, and can change between all those states and also be in all three states at the same time (See the polar circles)- does that make it 3 different elements? No it is still the same element regardless of its state. Maybe this is too hard for you to understand or you have never looked at it like this before. Either way, stop lying and saying Christians are polytheistic.
10:03 September 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Islam is indeed reactionary. So is Christianity and every other religion that finds its basis in fables, fairy tales and superstition. To hell with them all, I say.
10:28 September 9, 2010 by Heinrich der Zweite
@ Prufrock2010

And my grandma would shut up saying " If you don't eat up your dinner, you won't

go to heaven"
10:58 September 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Well, I hoped you listened to Granny. Heaven awaits.
11:16 September 9, 2010 by Heinrich der Zweite
No more dinners!
11:28 September 9, 2010 by munichiscool
ooopppsss........... the following lines are not from a pornographic magazine. They are from Bible ( Sonf of Solomo... chapter 7) . Amazing... I just imagine my 5 year kid coming to me and telling..... Papa papa----how does the vag.. of Mom smells to you? I read in Bible today that it smell like wine... really :)

" 1. How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

2. Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.

3. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.

4. Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.

5. Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.

6. How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!

7. This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.

8. I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;

9. And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

10. I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.

11. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.

12. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.

13. The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.


Amazing............. and death by stoning ............

"22:23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;

22:24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. "(Deuteronomy 22)

11:38 September 9, 2010 by Jazzineva
Yeegawds. This guy may have the right to offend but geez, why give him an AWARD for provoking rage? What makes him different from Terry Jones? I don't get it. But I've lost a lot of respect for Merkel on this one.

By the way, be sure and check out Spiegel's article today on how the Koran burner was thrown out of his own church in Germany.
11:56 September 9, 2010 by b_raz
Yes it is freedom of speech and you no one does not have to like or agree with it

This is a Hate speech ! and it is my freedom of speech to condone it !

whether u agree with it or not !

EU has strict laws against hate speech, try denying holocaust in the public .. which can be termed as freedom/hate speech and you will get 7 years sentence ..
12:19 September 9, 2010 by saucymugwump
Hey munichiscool, all of the quotes you referenced are from the Old Testament. By definition, Christians reject the violence of the OT and embrace the teachings of Jesus. For Islam to be equivalent to Christianity, there would need to be an Islamic New Testament, not to mention a pacifist version of Muhammad. Fat chance of that happening.

Hey, Joshontour, it is you who is seriously misguided. I grew up Catholic and I will wager I have read more of the Bible than you ever will. Both Christianity and Islam are polytheistic because believers pray to multiple entities. If Muhammad were not considered to be a god, Muslims would not riot when infidels made fun of him in cartoons. If Jesus and Mary (the mom) were not considered to be gods, Christians would not pray to them and ask for favors, guidance, and intercession. In both religions, God/Allah are the boss, but don't even try to tell us that people do not pray to the supporting cast.
13:32 September 9, 2010 by androidclown
This is not a freedom of speech this is definitely inappropriate and insulting.

People has to respect the beliefs of others.

Islam banned making pictures of their prophets.

In Pre-Islamic Arabia people worship idol statues, spirits vs. and with Islam they tend to believe in one god and destroyed all then statues. Islam banned drawing pictures or sculpturing in the fear of people will again start to worship to the idols vs..

People get angry now to the drawings, they think that people are mocking with their prophets because unlike Christianity in Islam there is no real drawing of Mohammed.
16:00 September 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Islam has earned the right to be mocked, parodied, scorned and insulted, just has every other religion.

Punkinside captured it to a T. Great explanation of religious schizophrenia. How about doing a riff on the Virgin Mary?
16:53 September 9, 2010 by Anton Grambihler
Individual Freedom of Expression is more important than media controlled Freedom of Expression.

Angela Merkel needs to demand that people who disagree with the officially mandated truths about World War II not be subject to imprisonment.

What is being covered up?
17:26 September 9, 2010 by punkinside
The virgin mary just took a page from the book 'how to sleep around without getting stoned to death in ancient judea'

I imagine, if they did in fact exist, that it went something like this:


f**k f**k f**k I'm pregnant! What am I gonna tell Joe? Damn that sexy roman soldier, I'm such a sucker for men in uniform. What do I do? I'm sooooo getting stoned. Ermmmm he's the son of god! Yeah, that'll fool him.

18:22 September 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Terrific! I think you nailed it again!
19:30 September 9, 2010 by Joshontour
Hey saucy, I said Christians,... not Catholics. Only Catholics mention Mary and the saints in their prayers, only Catholics bow down to statues, pictures of Mary holding the baby Jesus, and dead Jesus hanging on a cross, and only Catholics consider the Pope to be infallible. That is a pagan religion created in 325 by the council at Nicaea and has nothing to do with the religion handed to the Apostles. As far as your "wager" is concerned ... don't humour yourself, just the fact that you said more "of" the Bible proves to me you haven't. I have read it cover to cover many times over. More "of" the Bible implies that you haven't even read through it once. So what was that wager again?
20:12 September 9, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Catholics will be surprised to learn that they're not Christians. Oh, well...

I've read the Bible a few times, too. But like any work of fiction, it gets rather stale over several readings. The works of Mark Twain are much more interesting and insightful, and much more humorous.
22:54 September 9, 2010 by BR549
I really feel sorry for all people belonging to (and believing) in ANY organised religion. They base their beliefs and opinions on those of others and not their own. Blind, controlled and foolish. just like religious leaders want them...easily controlled and submissive.

This "cartoonist" is nothing more than a CARTOONIST. His job is to poke, stir controversy and joke... NOTHING MORE. He is a true professional, doing what he is supposed to do. Nothing more, nothing less.

Wake up, folks. Life moves on...
09:40 September 10, 2010 by Keith_F
Islam, Christianity and every other religion that finds its basis in fables, fairy tales and superstition is reactionary. The comments here have proved that already. When you play with the basic beliefs, then people will get pissed off. It is a shame that people let events or better said the made up events from the past rule their tomorrow.
18:11 September 10, 2010 by yanksavage
In response to the first post. Christianity is NOT Polytheism. You don't understand Christianity adn the concept of the Trinity, so please don't comment on it. Furthermore, it is Islam, that is seen, with reason, as violent and oppresive. It's time for Mulsims to reform their 'religion'
18:49 September 10, 2010 by recherche
Christians polytheistic ! What rubbish! But who cares anyway.

But Westergaard is spot on in emphasising the essential nonesense of religion. Especially the hypocrisy that religion is somehow distinct from race and culture. Race and culture produces religion to suit itself. Herd-instinct then takes over.
01:00 September 11, 2010 by Vargaz
In reading all of these comments and watching extremist chaos traverse the globe wreaking destruction and death on countless innocents, one thing is abundantly clear - Religion is and always will be the Scourge of Mankind. And for what? Someone no one has ever even seen, regardless of what name they call.
03:23 September 12, 2010 by ww77ww
@ b_raz

Comparing this to holocaust denial is ludicrous. This is not the bleeding heart cliche "hate speech", it is questioning the motives of a religion, a religion like all others that seeks conquest and expansion.

EU laws regarding free thought are just one reason the union should fail. The holocaust can stand alone on its truths, if lunatics choose to pretend it didn't happen, facts alone can make them look foolish or insane. By making such idiocy illegal, it makes their movement look dangerous and exotic, which attracts disenchanted people - the ranks of which are growing by the day. It then makes defacto political prisoners in a supposedly free and just society, which attracts even more attention. It's a dangerous game.

People who blindly cry "hate speech" when their delicate minds are offended are those who deserve to rot in prison.
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