Jordan to try Danish artist over Mohammed cartoon

A Jordanian court will begin this month the trial of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard over a controversial caricature of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, but it was unclear if he will attend, AFP reports:

Zakarya Sheikh, spokesman for a group of local media outlets that sued Westergaard in 2008 for depicting Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, said on Thursday the artist and others have been summoned by a magistrates’ court in Amman to stand trial on April 25.”

A copy of the subpoena obtained by AFP says Westergaard “is accused of the crime of blasphemy.”

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“These legal measures seek to prevent attempts to insult Islam and incite racial hatred against Muslims worldwide, particularly in Europe,” Sheikh told AFP.

In a later report AFP noted Westergaard said Friday he had not been informed of a trial against him in Jordan and said he would in any case not attend:

“In any case, I have no intention of going even if I am asked to,” Westergaard said Friday, pointing out that “I do not want to risk becoming familiar with the Jordanian prisons, which would be hell.”

“I have not done anything illegal in Denmark. I only did my job and I will always defend the right to freedom of expression,” he said, reiterating meanwhile that he had “never had the intention to offend Muslims and their faith with my caricature.”

The drawing, he insisted, was “a condemnation of terrorists who commit acts of terror in the name of Islam.” […]

Westergaard himself has faced numerous death threats and even assassination attempts since the initial publication of his drawing in the Jyllands-Posten daily, which has also been the target of a number of attack plots.

Indeed, DPA reports:

A Danish court Friday remanded a Tunisian-born man in custody on suspicion of plotting an attack on the Danish newspaper that published controversial caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. […]

Previously, three other Swedish men – also suspected of being part of the plot – remain in custody in Denmark.

All four men were arrested on December 29 in a joint operation conducted by Danish and Swedish police.

According to the police, the men had planned to kill as many people as possible during the attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Our opinion: Muslims must understand that Islam is not above criticism, and that people in civilized countries will not sacrifice free speech — especially not when it comes to addressing acts of terrorism and other hate crimes committed in the name of Islam.

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Religion News Blog last updated this post on CET (Central European Time)