The jihadist who attempted to murder Motoonist Kurt Westergaard had something in common with…Jack Nicholson. This superb piece by Thomas Landen highlights the absurdity of the Islamic rage over these cartoons — a rage that continues — and the supine response to that rage by Western authorities.
“Heeere’s Muhammed!,” by Thomas Landen at the Brussels Journal, January 4 (thanks to Looney Tunes):
In Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror movie “The Shining”, Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, in an attempt to murder his wife and 6-year old son, chops his way through a closed door with an axe, shouting “Heeere’s Johnny!” It has become an iconic image.
Last Friday, the Shining was reenacted in real life, when a 28-year old Somali man, armed with an axe, smashed his way through the glass door into the bungalow of the 74-year old cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, in a middle-class suburb of the Danish town of Aarhus. The door, made of reinforced bullet-proof glass, eventually gave way, but Mr. Westergaard, who uses a walking-stick, had time to get to the bedroom of his 5-year old granddaughter, wake her up and lock themselves up in his bathroom.
The Westergaard bathroom has been converted into a panic room. It has a steel door and is equipped with an emergency button directly linking it to the police. It took the officers three minutes to arrive. Meanwhile, the Somali was smashing at the steel door with his axe, shouting “Blood” and “Revenge” as he tried to work his way in: “Heeere’s Muhammed!”
When the police arrived, the Somali attacked an officer with his axe before he was shot in the knee and shoulder by other officers. Mr. Westergaard and his granddaughter escaped unharmed, though the horror they have been through is beyond description. The incident is reminiscent of another real-life horror scene, which unfolded six years ago in broad daylight in an Amsterdam street, when a young Moroccan, named Mohammed Bouyeri, ritually slaughtered the Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh. He slit van Gogh’s throat because the latter had made a documentary movie about the place of women in traditional Muslim societies.
Kurt Westergaard was lucky that Friday’s attack occurred relatively early in the night, around 10 pm, when he was still sitting in his living room and immediately saw what was happening. He was lucky to have reinforced bullet-proof glass, which gave him time to drag his grandchild from her bed and flee with her into the bathroom. He was lucky to have a panic room. If the attack had happened in the middle of the night, when Westergaard was asleep, he might not have had the same alertness and might not have reacted as quickly. He, his granddaughter, or both, might have been hacked to pieces.
Five years ago, when the death threats against the cartoonist started, the Danish authorities converted the Westergaard bungalow into a fortress. They replaced all the windows with bullet-proof glass, transformed the family bathroom into a panic room, and installed surveillance cameras around the house. These measures saved Mr. Westergaard, but only barely so. The Westergaard family will need even better protection in future.
Five years ago, Muslim clerics placed a price of 1 million dollars on Kurt Westergaard’s head because he had drawn a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammed with a bomb tucked inside his turban. This cartoon, Mr. Westergaard said, “was an attempt to expose those fanatics who have justified a great number of bombings, murders and other atrocities with references to the sayings of their prophet. If many Muslims thought that their religion did not condone such acts, they might have stood up and declared that the men of violence had misrepresented the true meaning of Islam. Very few of them did so.”
Very few of them do so today. The newspaper editorial which the “moderate” Gulf News, based in Dubai, wrote on 2 January about the Westergaard assassination attempt reads as follows:
“There is no doubt that the cartoon was deeply offensive to all Muslims. For his work, Westergaard is regarded with the greatest possible contempt by all who believe in the true faith of Islam. Targeting him, however, is descending to the level of a contemptuous and despicable man.
“This revenge attack merely again serves to highlight the insult wrought by Danish newspapers, stoking the embers of insult with the oxygen of hatred.
“Westergaard and his ilk are better forgotten.”
Though Gulf News condemns the assassination attempt, it calls it a “revenge attack” and morally equates it with Mr. Westergaard drawing a “deeply offensive” cartoon. Gulf News criticizes the would-be assassin, not for attempting to kill the cartoonist, but for having “descended to the level” of this “contemptuous and despicable man.” Have we missed something? Did Mr. Westergaard also try to kill a man with an axe? No, he merely made a drawing with a pencil….
Be sure to read it all.