Kurt Westergaard is the artist who drew the following picture, the most infamous of the “Muhammad cartoons” that led to riots in the Islamic world:
On Friday, Westergaard nearly lost his life.
… a 28-year-old Somalia man was armed with an ax and a knife when he attempted to enter Kurt Westergaard’s home in Aarhus [Denmark] shortly after 10 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Friday.
Westergaard, who had his 5-year-old granddaughter on a sleepover, called police and sought shelter in a specially made safe room in the house, [officer Preben] Nielsen said. Police arrived two minutes later and tried to arrest the assailant, who wielded an ax at a police officer. The officer then shot the man.
Westergaard could not be reached for comment. He told his employer, the Jyllands-Posten daily, that the assailant shouted ”revenge” and ”blood” as he tried to enter the bathroom where Westergaard and the child had sought shelter.
His courage is unbelievable… Can you imagine having to watch your back constantly out of fear for your life? (Or to need a safe room in your house?)
I had a chance to see Salman Rushdie speak a couple years ago, and the thought that was constantly running through my mind as he spoke was how hellish his life must have been like for years when a fatwa was issued against him.
This is what happens when religious nuts take their beliefs so seriously, that any critic must die.
Even though Christians don’t take things to that extreme in America, it’s part of why I’m proud to be associated with so many atheists, who have no fear of taking on sacred cows, left and right. We take that for granted when we read books and blogs about atheism. It takes real courage to attack religion, no matter how big your audience is or how famous you are, and atheists everywhere deserve respect for criticizing it.
The Digital Cuttlefish has a wonderful poem summarizing the story.
(Thanks to Thomas for the link)