Kurt Westergaard is an ironic and unfit poster child for the freedom of speech: he has pursued legal action against anti-jihadists who have republished his cartoon of Muhammad, and has never demonstrated any awareness of the larger issues at stake in the attempts to murder him and suppress his cartoon. That does not mean, of course, that Mohamed Geele should not be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and the freedom of speech of Westergaard defended — in spite of Westergaard himself. And “moderate Muslims” in the West should explain exactly how Geele is misunderstanding the religion that he explicitly invokes as his motivation — but they won’t, of course.
Geele says he didn’t intend to kill Westergaard, which makes this a War Is Deceit Update: “Somali attacker ‘only aimed to scare Danish cartoonist,'” by Slim Allagui for AFP, January 19 (thanks to Block Ness):
AARHUS, Denmark (AFP) – A Somali man charged with trying to kill a Dane who caricatured the Prophet Mohammed pleaded not guilty to attempted murder on the first day of his trial Wednesday, insisting he had only aimed to scare the cartoonist.
“I was irritated and frustrated by his comments. I wanted to frighten him but not to kill him,” Mohamed Geele, 29, told a packed court in the central Danish town of Aarhus, speaking calmly in Danish….
Geele, who is suspected of breaking into 75-year-old Kurt Westergaard’s home on January 1 last year wielding an axe and trying to kill him, could face life in prison if found guilty on all counts: attempted terrorism, attempted murder, attacking a police officer and illegal arms possession….
Geele, who Danish intelligence police say is linked to the Somali Islamist movement Al-Shebab, insisted he had “bought the axe to help a friend cut down a tree.”
“But I brought it with me to Aarhus because I was very angry with (Westergaard) and wanted to break down his door to talk with him,” acknowledged the defendant, who appeared calm and collected before the court, wearing a black sweater, jeans and glasses.
Geele, who had an obvious limp from injuries he sustained during his arrest, stressed that he was “a Muslim who follows the precepts of Islam and who prays and goes to the mosque.”
On the night of January 1, 2010, the Somali “broke down the front door with an axe and destroyed the television set and computer in the living room, screaming in Danish that he was going to kill me because I had offended the Muslim prophet,” Westergaard told AFP on the eve of the trial.
The cartoonist, who was alone at home at the time with the five-year-old daughter of a friend, rushed into a bathroom that had been fortified and transformed into a panic room to “seek safety and call the police.”…
Before Geele took a train and taxi from his home in Copenhagen to Westergaard’s house in Viby, near Aarhus, he had “shaved his entire body and his clothes smelled strongly of perfume,” the prosecutor said, hinting that the man had performed a “ritual” often carried out by those who want to die as martyrs.
She also said police had found a computer at the Red Cross centre where Geele worked that he had used to conduct research on axes and to locate Westergaard’s home.
The cartoonist has faced numerous death threats since the publication of his drawing of the Prophet Mohammed wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse….
Westergaard remains clueless: “Danish Mohammed cartoonist attacker goes on trial,” by Slim Allagui for AFP, January 18:
[…] Westergaard, who is scheduled to testify Thursday, said he thought “he will be sentenced to a heavy prison sentence.”
“I do not want to excuse his actions, but I would really like to understand how he got to that point. Maybe he was manipulated,” the cartoonist suggests, insisting more than five years after his drawing first appeared that it does not represent Mohammed.
“I made a caricature of a terrorist who evokes Islam and who abuses it, as some would say,” said Westergaard, who today is closely watched over by bodyguards….
“A terrorist who evokes Islam and who abuses it.” Of course. Everyone knows that it’s a Religion of Peace. And if you don’t say so, they might hack through your front door with an axe.