Two years ago Kurt Westergaard was in his Copenhagen home drawing pictures. One of them was of the Muslim prophet, Muhammad. Now Westergaard is homeless.
Draw a picture offensive to Muslim extremists, and you might find yourself without a roof. Ask Kurt Westergaard, one of the twelve Danish cartoonists whose autumn 2005 Muhammad caricatures lead to violent protests throughout the Muslim world. He was booted from his police-protected hotel room on Feb. 15 for being “too much of a security risk.” And now the 73-year-old cartoonist and his wife are without a place to live.
This is another arrow in the jihadist quiver, but one seldom reported on amid the more sensational details of murder plots and security details: By putting someone under threat you put everyone in their orbit under threat too, which is a mighty efficient way to turn would-be allies against them. That’s one of the points of Geert Wilders’s film, I take it, which is just the Kurt Westergaard dilemma writ large: If one man’s criticism of Islam can put an entire country in the crosshairs, we’re all in this together whether we want to be or not. The only alternative is to criminalize criticism, and no one’s willing to go that route. Right?
Exit question: Surely our allies are helping to defuse this situation, no? Er, no.