A Danish court has found four men guilty for planning a bomb attack on a newspaper for its publication of satirical cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in 2005.
The four were Muslim residents in Sweden and were arrested in December 2010, just days before the attack was planned. They had been under surveillance by Swedish and Danish intelligence agencies.
The men have pleaded not guilty to charges of terrorism and each face a potential 16-year jail sentence. One of them had pleaded guilty to the possession of illegal weapons.
Danish police had said the attack on the Copenhagen offices of Jyllands-Posten newspaper was planned “to kill as many as possible.”
The Copenhagen newspaper was the first to publish political cartoons satirizing the Prophet Mohammad. One of the cartoons showed him wearing a bomb as a turban.
The publication was greeted with international furor, sparking riots in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Muslim extremists around the world rioted, issued threats and engaged in hate speech in response to the publication of the cartoons — thereby themselves perpetuating the image many people have of Islam as a violent and intolerant religion.
Jyllands-Posten’s publication of the cartoons of Muhammad sparked riots in Muslim countries.
Munir Awad, Omar Abdallah Aboelazm and Munir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, a Tunisian citizen, were picked up by police on 29 December 2010 at a flat near Copenhagen.
Sabhi Ben Mohamed Zalouti was arrested a day later after crossing into Sweden, then extradited back to Denmark.
A machine-gun with a silencer, a pistol and 108 bullets, and rolls of duct tape were among items found in the men’s possession when they were arrested.
Surveillance recordings played during the trial showed the four men meeting in Stockholm and discussing martyrdom, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper and what they should do — kill as many people as possible inside the building housing the paper and take one hostage. The recordings also revealed them discussing what to do about women and children.
At a prayer service in Denmark before their arrest, the men were heard on a surveillance tape saying “when you meet the infidels, cut their throats.”