Westergaard has worked for the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten since the 1980s. He became famous all over the world for his 2005 caricature depicting the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban with a burning detonator. This and other cartoons of the Danish newspaper were later reprinted by some European dailies, sparking mass protests in the Muslim world. The artist himself faced death threats, and the Danish police arrested several people who planned to kill him. He therefore received security and lived in secret addresses, the BBC recalled.
Westergaard’s and other similar caricatures targeted the terrorism of Islamist radicals. The diaries that printed the cartoons defended their freedom of speech. However, some see such cartoons as an insult to the religious sentiments of some groups in society, because Islam forbids the depiction of God, the Prophet and human faces.
Years ago, Westergaard said in an interview that he did not regret his satirical drawings. According to him, they provoked an important discussion about Islam in Western countries.
Due to cartoons of Muhammad displayed in the Jyllands Posten, a crowd of protesters in early 2006 attacked Danish embassies and consulates in Syria, Lebanon or Iran, and many in other Muslim countries burned the flags of Denmark.
People also died because of the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The best-known case was the terrorist attack on the editorial board of the French weekly Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. Two Islamists killed 12 people, including the editors and draftsmen of a paper that repeatedly published cartoons of a Muslim prophet.
An attempt to explain freedom of speech to the pupils on the example of Muhammad’s cartoons was paid for by a French teacher, whose young man of Chechen origin cut off his head in Paris last October.