A 28-year-old Somali man has been charged with terrorizing a Danish cartoonist for drawing a caricature of the founder of Islam. The alleged terrorist, whose name remains under a gag order, is also charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has faced numerous death threats for his 2006 drawing of the Muslim prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb-shaped turban and has been forced to live under police guard since 2008. Muslims around the world demonstrated, many violently, after the drawing was published.
Last October, two Chicago men were charged with terrorism for plotting to murder Westergaard and the former cultural editor of the newspaper for whom he worked for 27 years, the Danish Jyllands-Posten. Last week, three men were arrested by police in Indonesia on suspicion of plotting to attack the Danish Embassy in Jakarta.
Armed with a knife and a hatchet, the Somali suspect forced his way into the 74-year-old retiree's Denmark home before he was shot by police in the hand and leg while trying to escape.
According to Danish intelligence, he is linked to al-Shahab – a local Somali terrorist group – and al-Qaeda leaders in eastern Africa. However, al-Shahab leaders have denied any connection to the suspect.The suspect could face a sentence of life in prison – which in Denmark is generally reduced to 16 years in prison, according to the Associated Press.
Although he claimed he was only trying to frighten the cartoonist, Westergaard contended his alleged attacker “became a terrorist the very moment he tried to kill me.”
The cartoonist, who was not injured, added, “I am an old and peaceful man, and I am not vindictive, but of course, I believe he should be punished in line with the terror laws.”