Islam and the war against freedom of expression - 13 February 2008 - From Adrian Morgan

The death plot against Kurt Westergaard is the latest tactic in a war that has been waged for at least 50 years. A statue of Mohammed the law-giver used to stand on the steps of the Manhattan Appellant Courthouse in New York.

On September 30, 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a series of 12 images of Mohammed, founder of Islam,. The intention was not to insult Islam, but to highlight how artists had become too scared to tackle Islam head-on. The issue had stemmed from attempts by Kare Blultgen, a Danish author, to find illustrators to provide pictures for a children's book he had written about Mohammed, founder of Islam. Blultgen said he had found no artist willing to take the risk of depicting Mohammed. As a result, Jyllands-Posten invited artists from across Denmark to submit their pictures. These can be seen here.

There was limited reaction within Denmark, until Palestinian-born radical cleric Ahmed Abu Laban, who ran the Waqfs mosque in Copenhagen, decided to send a delegation to tour the Middle East. The delegation brought a dossier containing the cartoons. Dishonestly, Laban added three pictures which had never been printed by Jyllands-Posten. One of these was a crude drawing of Mohammed, emblazoned with the word "pedophile", while another purported to be a picture of Mohammed as a pig. This was a photocopy of a photograph of the winner of a French pig-squealing competition, and had no relation to the Danish cartoons.

In October 2005 one website carried messages from "The Glory Brigades in Northern Europe" which threatened retribution against Jyllands-Posten and Denmark. In the same month, 5,000 Muslims organized a demonstration in Copenhagen against the cartoons and the newspaper. On October 20, 2005, ambassadors from eleven Muslim countries petitioned Danish premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen to protest the publication of the images.

Carsten Juste, editor of Jylands-Posten, said: "To demand that (...)