Denmark auctions off infamous Mohammed cartoons

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Denmark auctions off infamous Mohammed cartoons
Kurt Westergaard's controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed are to be sold via auction. Westergaard, pictured here in 2010, died in 2021. Photo: Pool/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Bidding closes on Friday in the online auction of the original edition of a Danish cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed that provoked violent riots in Muslim countries in 2005.


Published together with 11 other drawings in September 2005 by the centre-right newspaper Jyllands-Posten under the title "The Face of Mohammed", the cartoon shows the prophet with a bomb-shaped turban.

The auction house said its creator Kurt Westergaard kept the original drawing private for years "and it is now officially up for sale for the first time ever."

The sale opened on February 25th and is due to close at 4pm on Friday, online auction house said.

Westergaard had been working at the paper since the mid-1980s as an illustrator.

He died in 2021, aged 86, after living for more than 15 years under police protection at a secret address.

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According to newspaper Berlingske, the drawing had been printed once before without sparking much controversy.


When published by Jyllands-Posten in 2005, the cartoons went almost unnoticed initially, but after two weeks protesters demonstrated against them in Copenhagen and ambassadors from Muslim countries in Denmark lodged a protest.

The anger escalated into violence across the Muslim world in February 2006.

In 2015 gunmen killed 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly in Paris, which had reprinted the cartoons in 2012.

In 2020, Samuel Paty, a French history and geography teacher, was stabbed and beheaded near his secondary school in a Paris suburb after showing his pupils cartoons of Mohammed during lessons on freedom of expression.

In early 2010, Danish police caught a 28-year-old Somalian armed with a knife in Westergaard's house. They said he was planning to kill the illustrator.


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