Brave Angela Merkel Honors Mohammad Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard
Brave Angela Merkel with cartoonist Kurt Westergaard at an awards ceremony. (Reason)
Muslims were upset that German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at an awards ceremony today with Danish Mohammad cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel risked angering Muslims by speaking at an awards ceremony on Wednesday for a Dane whose cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed provoked sometimes violent protests by Muslims five years ago.
The 75-year-old cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose drawings of Mohammed that offended Muslims worldwide first appeared in Danish paper Jyllands-Posten in 2005, was due to receive a prize Wednesday evening at a conference on freedom of the press.
At a time of fierce debate in Germany over disparaging remarks about Muslim immigrants made by a central bank member, some Muslims criticized the center-right chancellor and the media said she was taking a risk by honoring a man whom many Muslims believe insulted their faith.
Aiman Mazyek of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany said in a statement: “Merkel is honoring the cartoonist who in our view trampled on our Prophet and trampled on all Muslims.”
“By having her photo taken next to Kurt Westergaard, Merkel is taking a huge risk,” wrote the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung before the ceremony.
“It will probably be the most explosive appointment of her chancellorship so far.”
The mass-circulation Bild, which has voiced admiration for Bundesbank member Thilo Sarrazin for depicting Turkish and Arab immigrants as welfare spongers who fail to integrate, praised Westergaard and said Merkel’s presence showed Germany “does not back down in the face of threats from Islamist fanatics.”