Støjberg shared a screenshot of her iPad background displaying cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s drawing of the prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb in his turban. She did so in response to the decision by Skovgaard Museum in Viborg to not display the 12 caricatures of Mohammed published by Jyllands-Posten newspaper as part of an exhibition on blasphemy.
The integration minister said that the drawings, particularly the one by Westergaard that has led to attempts on his life, “helped to define Denmark as the free society that we are”.
“They show that we are a free country where opinions are challenged and where you can say whatever you’d like and criticize whomever you’d like,” Støjberg wrote in her Facebook post.
“I personally have Kurt Westergaard’s famous drawing as the background photo on my iPad. I have it because I love Denmark. I simply love the principle of freedom that the generations that came before us have created and that our country is built upon,” she continued.
Støjberg – who was widely slammed last year for feting her long line of immigration reforms with layer cake – said that the museum was in its full right to decline to display the drawings but that she found its decision “unfortunate”.
The integration minister is known for her hard line on immigration, and has been involved in a number of controversies in the past, including telling a false anecdote about a daycare banning pork and an anti-refugee ad campaign published in Lebanese newspapers.
She was also heavily involved in the infamous “jewellery law” which brought Denmark into international focus in January 2016.
The 12 caricatures of Mohammed, published on September 30, 2005 sparked deadly protests in the Muslim world as angry demonstrators burned Danish flags and torched diplomatic offices. Boycotts of Danish products led to a plunge in exports.
The publication of the drawings set off fierce debates about the freedom of expression in Denmark and beyond and the blowback surrounding the incident is also credited with challenging the way Western media approaches topics like Islam and immigration.
Both Westergaard and Jyllands-Posten have been targeted by foiled terror plots. The cartoonist lives under police protection while the newspaper has kept in place sharply-increased security procedures established during the peak of the blowback.