Ground Report | New Delhi: Kurt Westergaard, the controversial creator of the Prophet of Islam, has died at the age of 86. Kurt was from Denmark and was associated with a newspaper as a cartoonist. These sketches, made in the mid-2000s, provoked widespread outrage in the Muslim world against Denmark.
According to the Associated Press, Westergaard’s family reported his death to the media on Sunday evening. The family told the Berlingsk newspaper that Westergaard died in his sleep after a long illness. (Kurt Westergaard)
Danish media reported that Westergaard died on July 14, a day after his birthday. In the early 1980’s, Westergaard began working as a cartoonist for the newspaper Gelendzposten. Gelendzposten is one of the largest newspapers in Denmark. Kurt has been associated with the newspaper since he was 75 years old.
Westergaard gained worldwide fame in 2005 when 12 controversial cartoons were published in Geland’s Post. To Muslims, sketching the Prophet of Islam falls into the category of blasphemy and blasphemy.
These sketches, and especially Westergaard, provoked widespread outrage in the Muslim world, and in 2006 there were violent protests against Denmark in Muslim countries. Controversial cartoons were also published in several newspapers in neighboring Norway, Denmark.
During the protests, angry mobs set fire to the embassies of Denmark and Norway in Syria. Political observers in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic have called the cartoons the most serious foreign policy crisis in recent history in Denmark and Norway.
As a result of the riots, Westergaard was threatened with death and forced to seek protection from the police. Three people were arrested in 2008 on charges of plotting to assassinate Westergaard. In 2010, a 28-year-old Somali man with a knife and ax broke into Westergaard’s home. The Somali man was later sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“I want to be remembered as a man who fought for freedom of expression,” Westergaard was quoted as saying by the Berlin newspaper. But there is no doubt that there will be some who will remember me as the devil who insulted the religion of more than a billion people.
Westergaard’s survivors include his widow, five children, 10 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. Arrangements for Westergaard’s last rites were not immediately known.