The Motoon Man Comes to Yale

Turban boom!International Free Press Day was an auspicious time for the originator of the most famous Mohammed cartoon to make an appearance at several locations in the USA to talk about freedom of the press. Last night Kurt Westergaard spoke to a small private group in Manhattan, after appearing earlier at Rutgers and Princeton.

Fox News has a report on the event — although, needless to say, they don’t have the thatchers to actually publish Ol’ Turban Bomb himself. We’ll make up for it by posting him right here, as a reminder of what this deadly farce is all about.

Today Mr. Westergaard is appearing at Yale, and the Yale Muslim Students Association is “deeply hurt and offended” by the man who “propagates hate”.

Here’s what Fox has to say:

Muslims Not ‘Free of Being Mocked, ‘ Danish Cartoonist Says

Muslims need to develop a sense of humor and an appreciation of satire — and they need to understand that they are not “free of being mocked or being offended,” says the Danish caricaturist whose cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad incited rage throughout the Muslim world four years ago.

Kurt Westergaard told roughly a dozen listeners Wednesday night that he will “always” be ready to defend an individual’s right to religious freedom.

“As the Danish tradition is for satire, we say you can speak freely, you can vote, you can speak out anytime, but there’s only one thing you can’t do — you can’t be free of being mocked or being offended,” Westergaard said. “That’s the conditions in Denmark and so many countries.”

Westergaard spoke at a private residence in midtown Manhattan in conjunction with the Hudson New York Briefing Council. It was just his second appearance in the U.S. since the 2005 publication of his notorious cartoon, which depicted Muhammad wearing a turban resembling a lit bomb. In Islam, any depiction of Muhammad is forbidden and considered blasphemy.

Westergaard’s controversial cartoon was one of 12 that appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 and led to widespread violent protests throughout the Middle East, Asia, Denmark and Africa.

Several months after the cartoons were published, a Pakistani cleric reportedly offered 1.5 million rupee — roughly $16,700 — and a car to anyone who killed Westergaard. Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi, prayer leader at the Mohabat Khan mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar, announced the bounty in February 2006 at the mosque and the Jamia Ashrafia religious school that he leads.

In June 2008, Westergaard and ten newspaper editors were reportedly summoned by Jordan’s public prosecutor on charges of “blasphemy” for reprinting the cartoons. Three men were arrested last year in Denmark for allegedly plotting to assassinate him.

Security at Wednesday night’s event was heightened, with two uniformed New York Police Department officers stationed outside the building as Westergaard spoke. Additional security measures were also taken earlier in the day when Westergaard spoke during a luncheon at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and at Princeton University. He is scheduled to speak at Yale University on Thursday — an appearance that is causing some controversy on the Ivy League campus.

Members of the Yale Muslim Students Association have said they are “deeply hurt and offended” that Westergaard will speak on the New Haven, Conn., campus, though they do not plan to protest. The group said Yale fails to recognize the “religious and racial” sensitivities surrounding the matter.

– – – – – – – –

“As an institution purportedly committed to making our campus an educational environment where all students feel equally comfortable, we feel that by hosting Kurt Westergaard Yale is undermining its commitment to creating a nurturing learning environment by failing to recognize the religious and racial sensitivity of the issue,” the group said in a statement.

And here’s what might be called the “Charles Johnson Equivalence” — anyone who thinks that Islam is a violent and intolerant religion is the same as a “white supremacist” or a “Holocaust denier”:

“Certainly, it would be unlikely for a white supremacist or a Holocaust denier to be a distinguished guest speaker at Yale; hosting individuals who propagate hate is not only a disservice to the minorities that hate is directed towards but to the campus community as a whole.”


But Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said the event was meant to rile Muslims.

“We’re strong believers in the First Amendment and he has the right to publish whatever he wants, however bigoted and offensive it is,” Hooper told “The people who brought him here are obviously intending to offend Muslims, but we’re not going to rise to the bait.”

Hooper said Westergaard’s appearances at Princeton and Yale represent more instances of the “Muslim-bashing” he says is growing in the United States.

“Their intent is to offend and get free publicity by getting Muslims to reply with a reaction,” Hooper said. “So, we will not.”

Westergaard, meanwhile, called on his detractors to “respect our democratic values,” including freedom of speech, and reiterated that he would create the cartoon again “if it was required.”

Wearing red pants and a matching red scarf, the 74-year-old walked gingerly with a cane and said he’s no longer afraid of the constant threat of being assassinated for his drawings.

“I’m so old that I’m not really afraid anymore,” he said. “The older you get, there’s lesser and lesser at stake.”


Asked whether his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad originated from his personal politics or as part of his job as a cartoonist, Westergaard replied: “I am fighting for a just cause. And so you have a moral alibi, which is good, and then I have only worked according to our traditions in Denmark.

“And, of course, there’s been a lot of support from the man which I meet in the street, the ethnic Dane who pats my shoulder and says, ‘Well done.’ Then there’s also been the Muslims who have threatened me and cursed me … but I think the most reactions I have received, they are very positive.”

And IFPS gets a mention. YAY!

Diana West, vice president of The International Free Press Society, which organized and promoted Westergaard’s visit to the U.S., said, “It was a sheet of cartoons in a very small newspaper in a very small country that kicked off this now extremely significant event.”

“And as a result, Westergaard has lived the last four years under death threats and in heightened security. It was a cartoon that he drew — this is his job.”

She went on to criticize the decision by the Yale University Press not to publish Westergaard’s image in a book released earlier this month, saying it reeked of “cowardice” and “appeasement.”

“The question becomes whether we in the West submit to Islamic law regarding free speech and free expression,” she said. “This is supposed to be a free country.”

Back in September 2005, Kurt Westergaard had no idea of what his simple cartoon would do. Little did he know it would become the Turban Bomb Heard Round the World.

Hat tip: Steen.

6 thoughts on “The Motoon Man Comes to Yale

  1. Members of the Yale Muslim Students Association have said they are “deeply hurt and offended” that Westergaard will speak on the New Haven, Conn., campus, though they do not plan to protest.

    Far be it from Muslims to even remotely comprehend how deeply offensive it is to Westerners that they should desire to abrograte our most fundamental civil liberties. As is so often the case with Islam, no notice will be taken by Muslims until they have so totally enraged the free world that our collective reply is through irresistible force of arms.

    By then, it will probably be too late for tens or hundreds of millions of Muslims. They will have so thoroughly antagonized Western powers to such a point where there will be no holding back the wrath finally unleashed upon this world’s most enduring retrograde force.

    Those Muslims who do survive will suddenly come to understand the true penalty for having spent so long withholding any pity or mercy for others not of their kind. Through their cruel and barbarous conduct they will have temporarily suspended all human memory of compassion or restraint in times of war.

  2. Waste of time. Muslims in the West cannot see the irony of using Western freedom of speech to claim that it must not apply to their beliefs – which shows that they will never GET IT. They should be living in Muslim countries.

  3. What’s so great with Kurt Westergaards cartoon is the sheer simplicity. There is no words attached to it thus making it understandable over all national and cultural bordeers all over the world. Even in a historical perspective the drawing will work fine hundreds of years from now. Because of this simplicity it is the perfect symbol and icon for the whole anti-jihad movement. But for mahoundians growing humor, won’t happen until we see flying pigs.

  4. Why not juxtapose a slate of typical cartoons generated in Muslim countries next to the Mohammed cartoons wherever they are shown?

    The contrast will be stark. Let Muslims explain these vicious antisemitic and anti-American visual diatribes that number in the thousands and can be found any day of the week in any Muslim press, before they open their mouths a crack to complain about a mere dozen Mo cartoons that are mild by western standards.

    Where are the 20% Jews who don’t vote Democrat to get this show on the road? There’s no shortage of material.

    This constant playing of defense by the West is getting on my nerves. Instead of constantly flapping their gums, Muslims’ ears should be blistered about how they offend westerners every day of the week by seeking to enforce Muslim religious strictures on NON-MUSLIMS. We owe no respect to their murdering pillaging prophet and bordello running god.

    Do we go to Muslim countries and demand that they follow Christian or atheist practices so they don’t offend us?

    It is just ludicrous that western elites have spoiled Muslim colonizers by granting them one sided tolerance that is never ever reciprocated. They have no responsibilities, only rights, at the expense of native cultures’ rights.

  5. Guy walks into a sex shop and says, “I’d like a sex doll, please — one of those inflatable ones.”

    The clerk says, “Certainly, sir — we have a wide selection. Would you like a black one or a white one?”

    “I’ll have a black one, please.”

    “OK. Christian or Muslim?”

    “Christian or Muslim? What’s the difference?”

    “Well, the Muslim ones blow themselves up!”

  6. “The people who brought him here are obviously intending to offend Muslims, but we’re not going to rise to the bait.”

    Heh! Mr. Hooper tells us a lot more than he would probably admit with this statement. Since he is so busy telling us that ‘we are not going to rise to the bait’ he is indirectly saying that he acknowledge that it would be a battle he would lose.
    Take the fight into the rational and logical world and the muslims are done. Finished. And they know it!
    More cartoons pleeeeeeease!

Comments are closed.