Free Speech Hero Is Recognized in Germany

Congrats to Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancelor, for honoring the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard for his courage in pursuing free speech during the Danish cartoon jihad. The artist angered the Muslim street (not that hard, true) for perhaps the most iconic cartoon of the controversy, Bomb-Turban Mohammed (shown).

As a result of Westergaard’s exercise of Western freedoms, he has required 24/7 security since February 2008 because of threats to his life. Last winter an axe-carrying Somali broke into the cartoonist’s Denmark home with murderous intent (Panic room saved artist Kurt Westergaard from Islamist assassin, UK Sunday Times).

It would be nice if our own national leader, Barack Hussein Obama, would stand up for free speech against the Muslims-of-perpetual-fury. He has tried to straddle the fence regarding the Ground Zero mosque, for one example.

One might also recall the semi-hidden audience BHO gave to the Dalai Lama (hated by Red China) who was forced to exit through White House trash. Obama is never the stand-up guy for American values.

Incidentally, Merkel may be refurbishing her free speech cred after condemning Thilo Sarrazin for his new book arguing against Muslim immigration. She called for the banker’s ouster from his position on the board of the Bundesbank — and he announced September 9 he would leave his post at the end of the month.

Danish Muhammad cartoonist receives German prize, Associated Press, September 8, 2010

German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the bravery of a Danish cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad at an award ceremony honoring his achievements for freedom of speech.

In her speech praising illustrator Kurt Westergaard, “who has had to fear for his life since the publication of the cartoons in 2005,” Merkel emphasized Wednesday that media freedom is an important element of rights in Europe.

“It does not matter if we think his cartoons are tasteful or not, if we think they are necessary and helping or not,” Merkel said at the ceremony in the city of Potsdam. The question, she said, was, “Is he allowed to do this? Yes, he is.”

There have been at least three attempted attacks on the 75-year-old Westergaard or his newspaper, the Danish the Jyllands-Posten, since he and 11 other artists angered Muslims around the world by creating the Muhammad cartoons four years ago.

Protesters in Muslim countries have torched Danish and other Western embassies.

Westergaard’s cartoon, which he said took 45 minutes to draw, was considered by many Muslims the most offensive of the 12. He has rejected calls to apologize, saying poking fun at religious symbols is protected by Denmark’s freedom of speech.

Merkel’s appearance at the award ceremony drew criticism from Muslim groups, who perceived it as an endorsement of Westergaard’s cartoon. Aiman Mazyek, general secretary of Germany’s Muslim Council, told public radio Deutschlandradio that Merkel is honoring the cartoonist who sullied “our Prophet … and thereby all Muslims.”

Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, rejected the criticism and said Merkel’s message was to underscore the importance of freedom of speech.

Merkel condemned plans by a pastor in the United States to burn the Muslim holy book to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“If a fundamentalist evangelical pastor in America wants to burn the Quran on Sept. 11, I find that — in a word — disrespectful, also abhorrent and false,” Merkel said.

Ouch! Merkel is apparently just another politician who believes in Jerry Brown’s adage to “paddle to the left, paddle to the right.” Plus, hostile Muslim diversity makes politics even trickier than previously.

At least free speech got a plug in Islamified Europe.

Below, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, left, is congratulated on receiving the M100 Media Prize 2010 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right.

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