July 19, 2021: Danish artist Kurt Westergaard, notorious for portraying the Prophet of Islam and whose sketches caused outrage in the Muslim world, has died at the age of 86.
On Sunday, his family told the Danish newspaper Berlingskey that he had died in his sleep after a long illness at Westergaard.
The author was behind 12 drawings published by the conservative daily Jyllands-Posten entitled “The Face of Muhammad”, one of which provoked particular outrage when he saw the Prophet wearing a turban in the form of a bomb.
The Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) is a Muslim and any kind of visual reflection is forbidden in Islam.
The cartoons were almost unnoticed at first, but two weeks later, a demonstration was held in Copenhagen, followed by a protest by the ambassadors of Muslim countries in Denmark.
This anger then escalated into anti-Danish protests around the world in February 2006. Some demonstrations turned violent. The Danish and Norwegian embassies were attacked and dozens were killed.
These events led to a debate in Denmark and beyond about Islamophobia and the limits of freedom of expression and religion. Westergaard had been working as an illustrator at Jellands Posten’s since the mid-1980’s, and according to Berlinsky, the drawing of the issue had been published once before, but had not caused much controversy.
During the last years of his life, Westergaard, like many others associated with the cartoons, had to live under police protection at a secret address.
In early 2010, Danish police apprehended a 28-year-old man in Westergaard’s home, where he was planning to kill the artist.
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