Apr 3 2009
Kurt Westergaard claims the corporation’s decision not to air a recent interview with him came because they are petrified of upsetting Muslim extremists.
The BBC has been accused of appeasement of radical Islam by the artist behind one of the infamous cartoons of Mohammed.
Westergaard was one of the 12 cartoonists commissioned by the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper in 2005 to produce caricatures of the Muslim prophet.
Islamic tradition says no image of him should be produced or shown. Muslims were particularly incensed by Westergaard’s cartoon, which portrayed Mohammed with a bomb in his turban and was seen as extending the caricature of Muslims as terrorists. The images sparked protests and outrage across the globe.
Mr Westergaard, 73, gave his first-ever English interview to BBC journalist Malcolm Brabant four weeks ago. It had been expected to go out on BBC World, the BBC News channel, across radio services and on its website. But the corporation has kept the report under wraps amid claims it is frightened that it will ‘inflame’ Muslims around the world.
Mr Westergaard told the Daily Mail last night: ‘I am disappointed on behalf of the freedom of speech. Every time you are afraid I think you make a step backwards. That is depressing me.‘
He compared the BBC’s behaviour with the way countries tried to appease Hitler before the Second World War and added: ‘If you have an appeasement policy towards the radical Muslims then you are on a very wrong way and you have to start marching backwards.’
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