Diana West speaks to IFPS-Canada

The post below ripped word for word from IFPS.org

I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Diana West at a conference on freedom of speech and religion in Washington D.C. last week. To make the conversation short enough for the youtube limit, I removed most of my end of it. I opened by asking Diana about what she thought of the fellow from Harvard un-inviting the founder of the Minute Men to a debate at the last moment. The Fox video interview of that student is here.

Hopefully that makes her answer a tad less cryptic.

The rest of my chat, I replaced with single line questions in text.

Comments welcomed.


Michael Coren show with Kurt Westergaard and Lars Hedigaard

First time on television in Canada, Kurt Westigaard, creator of the iconic ‘Moetoon’ bomb turban drawing associated with the riots of 2005 speaks. Along with Lars Hedigaard, creator and president of the International Free Press Society, this is an exciting and interesting hour of TV. Sadly, it is also a brave hour of TV. Salutations to Michael Coren for having the raw courage to have this guest as well as giving him a very fair interview. Once not so long ago, it took no courage to interview cartoonists. Now one has to have special security in place.

(As an aside, I made a mistake in the movie editor when I set up this clip so the tops of heads my seem chopped off. This was a technical error on my part and not some kind of prophesy or dark humour.)

Link: Michael Coren Kurt W

National Post’s Michael Coren on Kurt Westergaard

Michael Coren: Freedom’s curmudgeonly hero

Posted: October 06, 2009, 9:00 AM by NP Editor

Tonight on my daily television program, The Michael Coren Show, my guest will be a wanted man. Indeed three people were arrested last year for plotting to murder him and he is under constant police protection because his life is under permanent threat. Yet 74-year-old Kurt Westergaard resembles a kindly uncle more than a danger to the state. And truth is, he’s only seen as a danger if it’s an Islamic state. Because this bearded, gentle and disarmingly unassuming man set off an international crisis in 2005 when his cartoon of the prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb as a turban was published in Denmark’s leading newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. The subsequent protests and violence led to more than 100 deaths, attacks on embassies and the storming and burning of Danish and Western buildings throughout the Islamic world.

This was the only television interview he gave in Canada. I’d like to think it’s because I have a known commitment to freedom of speech but, frankly, it’s also because some journalists are frightened of giving him any exposure — we were obliged to record the interview early so as not to publicise his movements because of security concerns. “I’m an old man, I haven’t so much to lose,” he says with a smile when I ask him if he’s ever scared.

Continue Reading →

CFRA’s Nick Vandergraaf speaks with VP, IFPS-CAN and Kurt Westergaard

Unfortunatly, www.sevenload.com chose to close my channel and therefore make all the videos I had uploaded and edited and so on, unavailable. So I am re-uploading this video interview by CFRA’s Nick Vandergraagt of Kurt Westergaard, The famed Danish creator of the ‘Moetoon’ and installing here.

Enjoy and feel free to grab the embed code and put on your own blogs if you choose.

Eeyore for Vlad.

CFRA Nick James KurtW from Vlad Tepes on Vimeo.

Jonathan Kay on Kurt Westergaard, free speech, and leftist refuseniks

h/t Steen

From Canada’s National Post:


Jonathan Kay on Kurt Westergaard, free speech, and leftist refuseniks
Posted: October 05, 2009, 4:33 PM by Jonathan Kay
Jonathan Kay, Full Comment

Has Jack Layton converted to Islam? That’s what activist Tarek Fatah asked himself last month after the NDP leader sent out an effusive Eid message to Muslim supporters, urging one and all to “renew the spirit and faith in Islam.”

“I am waiting with bated breath to see Layton ‘renew’ his faith in Islam,” Fatah wrote. “Has he already embraced the Shahadah [oath of Islam]? He goes on to say, ‘We are not celebrating the end of Ramadan, but thanking Allah for the help and strength given throughout this special month’ We? May I suggest a new name for Layton: Jack AsSalaam.”

Layton’s Eid stunt wasn’t a one-off: For years, the NDP consistently has courted Canadian Muslims – even selling out the party’s otherwise dogmatic embrace of gay marriage and hard-core feminism by running candidates who support Sharia law.

Nor is Layton alone. The post-9/11 shotgun marriage between leftists and fundamentalist Muslims has generated some bizarre juxtapositions. At anti-war demonstrations, militant feminists lock arms with women in Burkas. A group called “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid” marches in solidarity with Islamists who regard homosexuals as vermin. And the Socialist Worker (yes, it’s still around), recently ran a column urging readers to support the Taliban’s fascistic movement because it’s “the face of anti-imperialist resistance in Afghanistan.”

That last one pretty well sums up the emotional bond between Islamists and Marxist enablers: a shared hatred of capitalism and globalization, and a romantic embrace of any fighting faith – no matter how bigoted or reactionary – that stands in opposition to Western civilization.

But the Left also has produced “refuseniks” (to borrow a term from self-described Muslim refusenik Irshad Manji) with the backbone to resist this ideological reflex. In the United States, Christopher Hitchens, who once wrote a book about the war crimes of Henry Kissinger, now rails against Islamofacism full-time. The aforementioned Tarek Fatah is a refusenik. So is Terry Glavin, a B.C.-based activist who’s become of one of Canada’s leading voices in support of our Afghanistan campaign.

Last week, I met with one of Europe’s most famous refuseniks, Kurt Westergaard – the Danish artist behind the famous 2005 image of the Prophet Mohammed carrying a bomb in his turban. In 2008, he was the target of at least one assassination plot. The man now lives a Rushdie-esque existence, in a house equipped with steel doors and surveillance cameras. Continue Reading →

Cartoon Convergence at Yale

Written by: Diana West

Friday, October 02, 2009 8:53 AM

Somehow, and I do not know how, both Kurt Westergaard and Jytte Klausen ended up speaking at separate appearances at Yale yesterday, also the same day the alumni group, the Yale Committe for a Free Press, sent off a second letter to Yale protesting the censorship of all Mohammed imagery, including Westergaard’s cartoon, in Klausen’s Yale University Press book The Cartoons That Shook the World.

Not exactly a harmonic covergence, but a convergence nonetheless.

What follows are highights from some of the reports tracking these criss-crossing events.

I’m going to start with the good news — the excellent letter from Yale alumni that I did not write but happily signed:

Simply stated, Yale must not be the arbiter of what is “safe” to publish. Such censorship corrodes the intellectual freedom that is the foundation of the entire university community. It also violates Yale’s own explicit policy: “Above all, every member of the university has an obligation to permit free expression in the university. . . . Every official of the university . . . has a special obligation to foster free expression and to ensure that it is not obstructed.”

The core American value of a free press transcends political viewpoints. Indeed, Yale’s surrender to unknown potential belligerents drew strong objection from many quarters, including the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the PEN American Center. Also protesting Yale’s action was the National Coalition Against Censorship on behalf of many constituent groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Middle East Studies Association.

Even closer to home, Sarah Ruden, whose translation of Virgil’s Aeneid was published by Yale, announced that she will no longer allow Yale to bid on her future works. In her own words, “Yale Press, after breaking a crucial relationship of trust with an author’s mind and work, should be called a lickspittle of fanatics and forfeit any respect or consideration from other authors.”

In a world where light and truth are under siege, the entire Yale community has a vital stake in preserving a free press. Fortunately, it is not too late, and not too difficult, to reverse the mistake that was made here.

We formally request that the Yale Corporation direct the Press to reprint Professor Klausen’s book with the censored material restored. This will bring a fitting end to this controversy. Lest it be said that the Corporation has never before exercised such direct authority over the Press, we must recall that never before has the Press censored an author’s work prior to publication. Restoring the censored material will also allow Professor Klausen’s book work to serve as a tangible reminder that freedom of the press cannot be taken for granted.

Alack, no such stirring stuff coming from the current crop of Yalies.

Indeed, the opinions that dominate the public space at Yale on the related matter of Westergaard’s visit to Yale to speak and answer questions are either Islamic voices, which believe Westergaard should not have been invited, or dhimmi voices, which pay lip service to free speech and take a stand on not exercising it. The following  op-ed by senior Matthew Ellison, which ran in yesterday’s Yale Daily News, sums the latter mindset up:

Yale and its students have thus far stood as a paragon of restraint amid the chaos. Unfortunately, through this international brouhaha, restraint has been the exception, not the rule.

This begins with the cartoonists.

Tsk, tsk — no self-restraint, those political cartoonists. Don’t they know better than to, in Westergaard’s case, take note of and actually illustrate the repeatedly, openly, brazenly made connections between violence and Islam, as expressed by Islamic terrorists and Islamic authorities alike? (It’s not just Abu Qatada time again, it’s also Imam Qaradawi time, because he is a world- famous Islamic authority who preaches about Mohammed the jihad model — which Kurt’s cartoon, by the way, perfectly and accurately captures.) Back to the op-ed by the Yale senior. Continue Reading →

A cartoonist at Yale; police, sniffer dogs & heavy security

From: 06520 The News Blog of the Yale Alumni Magazine.

” I am so old that I have experienced Nazism, Fascism, Communism and now, Islamism…” Kurt Westergaard.

A cartoonist under police protection

Posted by Kathrin Day Lassila ’81 at 3:20 pm Friday, October 2, 2009

“This is the first time we’ve ever held a master’s tea that required such extensive security,” said Branford College master Steven Smith before introducing his Thursday afternoon guest. The standing-room-only audience of more than a hundred had had to abandon their backpacks, purses, and cellphones at Smith’s house. They had needed IDs and preapproved tickets to get on the Yale buses, guarded by several police officers, that would take them direct to the Greenberg Center on Prospect Street. Once in the buses they had to sit still, holding their IDs and tickets up for inspection, while a small black dog led by a plainclothes officer walked the length of the aisle and then back, sniffing eagerly at the floor.

Smith’s guest at the heavily guarded tea was Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist who drew the most controversial of the group of cartoons published by a Danish newspaper in 2005 under the headline “The Face of Muhammad.” In an editorial, the newspaper said the cartoons were its response to a “sickly oversensitivity” among Danish Muslim leaders. (There had been a series of complaints by Christian Danes that Muslims were unwilling to take criticisms or jokes. Much more seriously, in 2004 a non-Muslim university lecturer had been beaten by a group of Muslim men for reciting from the Koran in a class.) The cartoons later became the focus of violent demonstrations by Muslims in the Middle East and Africa, in which, according to one estimate, some 250 people died. Continue Reading →

Interview with Kurt Westergaard, Toronto Canada


I had the opportunity to spend the day yesterday with several extraordinary men, one of whom, was Kurt Westergaard, the creator of the infamous ‘Moetoon’.

In this interview, I speak at a private house, which is why there is a fair amount of background noise as we prepared dinner after a day of interviews in Toronto, with Kurt, as well as Lars Hedegaard, the creator and president of the Danish Free Press Society, now the International Free Press Society.

Kurt I must say, is a man who history has handed a tough role, and a role which he did not ask for, but accepts with grace, dignity, and a rare humility. I do not get the impression that it was Mr. Westergaards ambition to become a martyr for free speech and to live in a bunker as he does now, or in hiding as he did for years. But he has unflinchingly defended free speech and has not once turned away from his values for the illusion of safety.

Below, is a conversation with Kurt and Lars and their views on freedom of speech, and their recent experience at Yale, a once great institution of western education.

Link: Interview james kurt Lars4-desktop

Kurt Westergaard: ‘The most hated man in Mecca’

From The National Post.

The most hated man in Mecca

Meet the Danish cartoonist who set the world on fire

Adrian Humphreys, National Post Published: Saturday, October 03, 2009

In Pakistan, tens of thousands of protestors torched cinemas, music stores, fast food outlets and other perceived symbols of Western influence in response to the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad in Denmark. Arif Ali, AFP, Getty Images In Pakistan, tens of thousands of protestors torched cinemas, music stores, fast food outlets and other perceived symbols of Western influence in response to the publication of cartoons depicting the …

Despite a grey beard and heavy cane making him look every bit his 74 years, Kurt Westergaard dresses like a teenager: bright red cargo pants strapped up by a studded black belt and red suspenders over a black top, capped by a flowing red scarf and black Stetson.

His duo-chromatic clothing is perhaps the least shocking part of his appearance, however.

As the Danish man who drew the notorious cartoon of the Islamic prophet Muhammad with a lit bomb wrapped in his turban — considered the most inflammatory of 12 cartoons published four years ago this week that ignited a deadly furor — it is the absence of security and the carefree way he stands outside smoking that is most striking.

Beside him, a friend casually carries a large framed reproduction of the cartoon, as if to dispel any mystery about who the flamboyantly dressed man might be. “It is very relaxing,” Mr. Westergaard says about being in Canada for the first time as a spattering of raindrops, rather than concerns over security, drives him indoors. “At home I live under police surveillance, protected by the Danish secret service. We lived in 10 different safe houses and drove 10 different cars.

“I live in a house now which is really a fortress, with steel doors, a panic room, reinforced glass in the windows, surveillance cameras and so on.”

That is the life of a man under threat, with a lucrative bounty on his head. With his fear now transformed into anger, Mr. Westergaard has emerged from his protective cocoon.

Rather than work to mitigate the offence he and fellow Danish artists caused to some fundamentalist Muslims, however, he remains unrepentant and unabashed.

“I don’t regret anything,” he says. Continue Reading →

Kurt Westergaard Speaks in U.S.A.

Please visit the International Free Press Society web site, for news on the ‘Mobomb’ tour of the USA. things are breaking with Mr. Westergaard’s trip too fast to keep up with here.

Well worth the trip. There is already an article he wrote from his visit to Princeton as well as a piece by FOX

This is a good day for freedom of Speech


Below, a short video from FOX

Muslims Not ‘Free of Being Mocked,’ Danish Cartoonist Says

DENMARK-CARTOONIST/INTERVIEWFox News…  Muslims need to develop a sense of humor and an appreciation of satire — and they need to understand that they are not “free of being mocked or being offended,” says the Danish caricaturist whose cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad incited rage throughout the Muslim world four years ago.  
Kurt Westergaard told roughly a dozen listeners Wednesday night that he will “always” be ready to defend an individual’s right to religious freedom.
“As the Danish tradition is for satire, we say you can speak freely, you can vote, you can speak out anytime, but there’s only one thing you can’t do — you can’t be free of being mocked or being offended,” Westergaard said. “That’s the conditions in Denmark and so many countries.”Several months after the cartoons were published, a Pakistani cleric reportedly offered 1.5 million rupee — roughly $16,700 — and a car to anyone who killed Westergaard. Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi, prayer leader at the Mohabat Khan mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar, announced the bounty in February 2006 at the mosque and the Jamia Ashrafia religious school that he leads.

Westergaard spoke at a private residence in midtown Manhattan in conjunction with the Hudson New York Briefing Council. It was just his second appearance in the U.S. since the 2005 publication of his notorious cartoon, which depicted Muhammad wearing a turban resembling a lit bomb. In Islam, any depiction of Muhammad is forbidden and considered blasphemy.

In June 2008, Westergaard and ten newspaper editors were reportedly summoned by Jordan’s public prosecutor on charges of “blasphemy” for reprinting the cartoons. Three men were arrested last year in Denmark for allegedly plotting to assassinate him.

Security at Wednesday night’s event was heightened, with two uniformed New York Police Department officers stationed outside the building as Westergaard spoke. Additional security measures were also taken earlier in the day when Westergaard spoke during a luncheon at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and at Princeton University. He is scheduled to speak at Yale University on Thursday — an appearance that is causing some controversy on the Ivy League campus.

Members of the Yale Muslim Students Association have said they are “deeply hurt and offended” that Westergaard will speak on the New Haven, Conn., campus, though they do not plan to protest. The group said Yale fails to recognize the “religious and racial” sensitivities surrounding the matter. Continue Reading →

September 30 is International Free Press Day

Four years ago on September 30, 2005,  Jyllands-Posten published twelve drawings of Islam’s prophet Muhammed. To demonstrate that prohibition of any depiction of the prophet, as stipulated by sharia law would not trump Denmark’s freedom of the press, twelve cartoonists had their entries published.

Here they are:

Size of this preview: 424 × 599 pixels

Muslims around the world rioted in response. At least one hundred deaths were reported. The Danish embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Iran were torched. European buildings were stormed and the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, and German flags were desecrated in Gaza City. Mahmoud al-Zahar of Hamas issued death threats. Critics of the cartoons described them as Islamophobic and racist, arguing they were blasphemous to Muslims and a manifestation of western imperialism. In 2008, slightly after two years of the initial publication, the cartoons were re-published. More riots ensued, complete with shouts of ” death to the cartoonist!”.

Meanwhile, thousands of illustrations of Muhammed have appeared in books by and for Muslims.

Persian or central Asian illustration showing Muhammed teaching.

Fourteenth-century Persian miniature
showing the Angel Gabriel speaking
to Muhammed.

Muhammed at Medina, from an
Arab or central Asian medieval-era
mohammedinmosque babymohammed

The Prophet Muhammed in a Mosque. Turkish, 16th Century, painting on paper. The artist depicted Muhammed in very long sleeves so as to avoid showing his hands, though his neck and hints of his features are visible. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Newly born Muhammad in his mother’s arms being shown to his grandfather and citizens of Mecca. From Turkish book painting (date unknown). University of California, San Diego.


James Cohen, vice president of the Canadian desk, IFPS writes thoughtfully and succinctly on the declaration of September 30 as International Free Press Day:

“To further advance the cause of freedom of the press, the International Free Press Society takes the occasion of this first International Free Press Day to salute Kurt Westergaard, and to call, once again, for the repeal all blasphemy and hate speech laws that currently inhibit and restrict vital exchange and debate”.