Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Arrests in Denmark

So far we can find reports of these arrests on the BBC site and on Sky News. Both make the mistake of repeating that images of Mohammed are “strictly forbidden” by Islam, which is not precisely true and about which there is some discussion going on.

However, they report the news that a group of people who “were allegedly planning to kill Kurt Westergaard, a cartoonist at Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the drawings” have been arrested very early this morning in the Aarhus region after a long period of surveillance.

The BBC tells us that “three of those detained are Danes and the other two are foreigners”. Sky is more specific, explaining that three are Danish citizens.

Kurt Westergaard and his wife have been under police protection for several months.
In a statement on Jyllands-Posten's website, Mr Westergaard said: "Of course I fear for my life when the police intelligence service say that some people have concrete plans to kill me.

"But I have turned fear into anger and resentment."

The BBC's Thomas Buch-Andersen in Copenhagen says the arrests have stunned people in Denmark, where the furore over the cartoons was thought to have passed.
The last comment from the BBC chap I find hard to believe as the “furore” reappeared in news stories regularly and it was well known to all (except, perhaps, the BBC who at the time considered that the publication of cartoons was a dark blot on Danish society) that a number of people involved were still in hiding.

Furthermore, as Flemming Rose reported on his blog a week ago, the President of Iceland was interviewed by Al-Jazeera during his official visit to Qatar and asked to apologize for the Danish cartoons. Iceland, as Mr Rose points out, was part of Denmark from the fourteenth century until 1944 but has been a flourishing independent country since then.

It seems that President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson refused to apologize and pointed out some obvious political and geographic facts to his interviewer.

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