Kurt Westergaard: Danish cartoonist behind Muhammad cartoon dies, aged 86

·1-min read
Kurt Westergaard (AFP via Getty Images)
Kurt Westergaard (AFP via Getty Images)

Kurt Westergaard, a Danish cartoonist whose satirical picture of the Prophet Muhammad caused outrage across the globe, has died at the age of 86.

The cartoonist, who worked for the conservative Jyllands-Posten newspaper from the early 1980s, died in his sleep after suffering from an unknown illness, his family told the Berlingske newspaper.

Westergaard first became well-known after his controversial depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in the newspaper in 2005.

The media outlet published 12 of his cartoons in an attempt to make a point about self-censorship and criticism of Islam.

Among the cartoons, most of which were first published by the Danish paper and then by Charlie Hebdo a year later, is one of Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse protruding.

The caricature prompted protests in Denmark and led to several riots, where dozens died.

Westergaard also received a number death threats and was a target of assassination attempts. One such plot was in 2011 when a 28-year-old armed with a knife broke into Westergaard’s house while he was with his granddaughter.

Mohamed Geele, 29, was convicted of attempted murder and terrorism and jailed for nine years in 2011.

Despite the cartoons being published in 2005, the incident has had long lasting effects and in 2015, 12 people were killed in an attack on Charlie Hebdo’s French office.

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