Danish authorities have arrested three people who were allegedly planning to assassinate one of the Mohammed cartoonists. A 40-year-old Dane of Moroccan origin and two Tunisians were arrested. The Dane ill be charged with a terrorism offense and the Tunisians deported.
The target of the plot, the intelligence service said, was the cartoonist for the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jullands-Posten, which first published the controversial drawings in September 2005. The paper identified the cartoonist as Kurt Westergaard.
“Not wanting to take any undue risks [the intelligence service] has decided to intervene at a very early stage in order to interrupt the planning and the actual assassination,” the statement by Jakob Scharf, the agency’s director general, said. “Thus, this morning’s operation must first and foremost be seen as a preventive measure where the aim has been to stop a crime from being committed.”
Westergaard and his wife have been under police protection for three months. In a statement, the 73-year-old Westergaard wrote:
Of course I fear for my life when the police intelligence service say that some people have concrete plans to kill me. But I have turned fear into anger and resentment.
While this is surely a “what a horrible world,” story, at least a potentially even more horrible story has been averted. For now.