Danish police intelligence said they believed the “attempted assassination … is terror related” and accused the man, who was not named, of having links with Somalia’s al-Shabaab militant group as well as al Qaeda militants.
The cartoonist, 74, pushed a panic button, fled to a safe room and was unhurt when police arrived. His grand-daughter was in the house during the attack. Police could not confirm reports he had tried to break down the safe room door with the axe.
Westergaard, who in 2005 depicted Prophet Mohammad with a bomb in his turban, has been under police protection since his caricatures of the Prophet led to death threats.
The Somali man appeared in court on a stretcher with a hand and leg in plaster casts due to gunshot wounds from a police officer who had narrowly dodged the axe thrown at him by the intruder who was trying to evade arrest, police said.
The accused did not speak in court, but denied the charges through his lawyer.
The Security and Intelligence Service PET, a department of the national police, said in a statement: “It is PET’s impression that the attempted assassination of the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is terror related.”
The man, the PET said, “has close relations to the Somali terror organization al-Shabaab and al Qaeda leaders in East Africa, and he is also suspected of having been involved in terror-related activities during his stay in East Africa.”
It also accused him of involvement in a terror-related network with links to Denmark, where he has a residence permit.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokkee Rasmussen siad that the attack was “an attack on our open society and democracy.” The Danish court remanded the man in custody for four weeks (two weeks or which are to be spent in isolation) to allow further investigation before a trial. He is charged with two counts of attempted murder and his next court hearing is January 27th.
At the hearing the police can request to hold him longer or proceed to a trial.
Here is the BBC account of today’s court hearing.
Note that Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Muhamud Rage told the AFP New Agency: “We appreciate the incident in which a Muslim Somali boy attacked the devil who abused our prophet Mohammed and we call upon all Muslims around the world to target the people like” him.”
Danish Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard
Danish police have shot and wounded a man at the home of Kurt Westergaard, whose cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad sparked an international row.
Mr Westergaard was at home in Aarhus when a man broke in and threatened him. He pressed a panic button and police entered the house and shot the man.
Danish officials said the intruder was a 28-year-old Somali linked to the radical Islamist al-Shabab militia.
The cartoon, printed in 2005, prompted violent protests the following year.
One of 12 cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, it depicted the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.
In 2006 the paper apologised for the cartoons, but other European media reprinted them.
Danish embassies were then attacked by Muslims around the world and dozens killed in riots.
Mr Westergaard went into hiding amid threats to his life, but emerged last year saying he wanted to live as normal a life as possible.
His house has been heavily fortified and is under close police protection.
Mr Westergaard told Jyllands-Posten that the man had entered his house by smashing a window with a hammer and had shouted in broken English that he wanted to kill him.
And, all of this for what?
Cartoons of Mohammed.
Thank God he is OK.
Now, let’s see if there is any outrage from the world community.
I bet not……
Here is his cartoon for which there is a $1 million bounty:
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