There have been at least two attempts by zealous Muslims to kill Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist who drew the world-famous “Turban Bomb” cartoon. With all the fatwas on his head, one would expect the Muslim world to be uniform in its hatred for the Motoon Man.
But according to Ekstra Bladet, as translated by our Danish correspondent TB, a Kurt Westergaard has a surprising number of supporters in the Arab world:
Westergaard also popular among Arabs
Kurt Westergaard’s gallery receives around 300 emails a day from potential buyers — and also receives a lot of positive emails from Arab countries.
Erik Guldager, who exhibit the works of Kurt Westergaard in Gallery Draupner in Skanderborg, rejects the notion that the famous artist is now an object of hate in the Arabic and Muslim world.
“When we announced 1,000 signed reprints of the Mohammed drawing they were sold to 44 different countries. Nine of them were Arab or Muslim countries,” says the owner to ekstrabladet.dk.
In your opinion, does the Arab world have a more nuanced view on Kurt Westergaard than many people think?
“Well, yes, that’s for sure. Our homepage has around 7,000-8,000 visits a day. A lot of them come from the Arab world and many of them leave messages of sympathy,” Erik Guldager says.
The interesting thing about Kurt Westergaard is that the cartoonist has come “out of the Mohammed drawing and into the art”.
Emails about Kurt Westergaard every 29 seconds
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Half an hour before Ekstra Bladet called the gallery in Skanderborg they received a mail from an Arab in Dubai:
“My family and I have great sympathy for Kurt Westergaard. There are many who view Kurt positively; anger and contempt are far from the only reactions,” the sender wrote to the gallery.
Erik Guldager says that many of the 250-270 emails the gallery receives on a daily basis are from ordinary Arabs who want to buy drawings or paintings made by Kurt Westergaard.
“Many of them also state their sympathy for Kurt and his art,” says Erik Guldager.
Since Gallery Draupner started to exhibit Kurt Westergaard’s art, the gallery’s homepage and mail server have been bombarded.
“We cannot cope with the amount of email. Nowhere near. Every 28 or 29 seconds we receive an email about Kurt Westergaard’s work,” Erik Guldager says.