Muhammad cartoonist 'full of angst'

2010-11-15 23:17

Copenhagen - A Danish cartoonist who sparked Muslim outrage with a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad said on Monday his life had become "full of angst" since the image was published five years ago.

"The drawing has taken on a life of its own, all around the world," Kurt Westergaard, 75, told reporters as he presented his new autobiography.

"It has become a kind of icon and it has given me the same sort of status, though unwillingly."

"I lead an existence that is full of angst, although I am protected," he said.

Westergaard's cartoon depicting Muhammad with a bomb-like turban with a lit fuse was one of a dozen first published in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in 2005 that caused violent and sometimes deadly protests the following year.

And the controversy, which has earned him numerous death threats and assassination attempts, has not gone away.

This January a Somali man broke into Westergaard's home and allegedly threatened to kill him with an axe and a knife, while a number of planned and attempted attacks on Jyllands-Posten have come to light over the past year.

Westergaard's autobiography, entitled The Man Behind the Line and written and published by John Lykkegaard, features a reworked version of the offending drawing.

It has been merged with a cartoon of Westergaard himself.

In the image the cartoonist wears a turban with "New York, Madrid, London" scrolled across it, and looks down at the famous turban-bomb drawing with an enigmatic, almost Mona Lisa smile on his face, and flanked by a small rabbit.

The animal, he explains in the book, "symbolises my personal courage, which is not very big".