|Danish police said Tuesday they have arrested several people suspected of plotting to kill one of the 12 cartoonists behind the Prophet Muhammad drawings that sparked a deadly uproar in the Muslim world two years ago.|
The arrests were made in pre-dawn raids in Aarhus, western Denmark, "to prevent a terror-related murder," the police intelligence agency said. It did not say how many people were arrested nor did it mention which cartoonist was targeted.
However, according to Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the drawings on Sept. 30, 2005, the suspects were planning to kill its cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. It said those arrested included both Danish and foreign citizens.
"There were very concrete murder plans against Kurt Westergaard," said Carsten Juste, the paper's editor-in-chief.
.....Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Copenhagen-based Islamic Faith Community, a network of Muslim groups that spearheaded protests against the cartoons in Denmark, said he hoped Tuesday's arrests would not rekindle the uproar.
"We urge Muslims to take it calmly," he told the TV2 News network.
You would hope Danish Muslims would be upset of people trying to kill someone in the name of Islam, but I guess not.
More from CNN.
|CNN's Paula Newton said the arrests reinforced growing fears in Europe that radical Islam was trying to suppress free speech.|
"More and more Europeans feel that Islam is a threat to their way of life," Newton said.
A recent Gallup poll for the World Economic Forum showed a majority of Europeans believed relations between the West and the Muslim world were worsening. According to the poll this sentiment was strongest held among Danish.
"Of course I fear for my life after the Danish Security and Intelligence Service informed me of the concrete plans of certain people to kill me," Westergaard said in a statement posted on the newspaper's Web site. "However, I have turned fear into anger and indignation. It has made me angry that a perfectly normal everyday activity which I used to do by the thousand was abused to set off such madness."
Westergaard remains under police protection and does not know whether it will continue.
"I could not possibly know for how long I have to live under police protection; I think, however, that the impact of the insane response to my cartoon will last for the rest of my life," he said. " It is sad indeed, but it has become a fact of my life. "
Carsten Juste, the paper's editor-in-chief, said staffers have been "deeply worried" for several months.
"The arrests have hopefully thwarted the murder plans," he said on the newspaper's Web site.