Somali denies Danish attack

2011-01-19 20:06

Copenhagen - A Somali man who axed his way into the home of a Danish cartoonist said on Wednesday he only wanted to scare Kurt Westergaard for caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad.

The 29-year-old defendant, who cannot be named under a court order, pleaded not guilty to a terrorism charge stemming from the intrusion on New Year's Day 2010.

He was also charged with attempted murder for throwing the axe at police when they confronted him.

Westergaard locked himself inside a panic room and was unharmed in the attack.

Prosecutor Kirsten Dyrman told the court in Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city, that the defendant intended to kill Westergaard when he broke into the house.

The crime should be viewed as terrorism because it was meant to "seriously frighten the population" and destabilise Denmark, Dyrman said.

The defendant told a packed court room that the axe was not intended for Westergaard but only to get into his home because he didn't expect that the cartoonist would let him in.

Westergaard's drawing was one of 12 cartoons of Muhammad published by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005, triggering a fire storm of protests across the Muslim world four months later.

Devout Muslim

The defendant, who described himself as a "devout Muslim," said he decided to break into Westergaard's home after reading on the internet that the 75-year-old Dane "was proud of the drawing and wanted to do more".

He thought that "if I threaten and scare him, maybe he will behave better in the future".

The defendant, wearing jeans and a blue sweater and sporting a goatee, said he had no intention to hurt Westergaard, who is expected to testify on Thursday.

The Somali has a residence permit in Denmark where he has lived since 1996.

The prosecutor said the Danish intelligence agency started monitoring him by mid-2009 because of his frequent trips to Somalia where he claimed he was involved in "humanitarian aid projects".

After the attack, the agency said he had links with the Somali militant group al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda leaders in eastern Africa. A spokesperson in Somalia for al-Shabaab denied the man is a member of the group.

If convicted of terror, the defendant could face life in prison, although such sentences are generally reduced to 16 years under Danish law.

He was shot in the knee by police when they confronted him as he left Westergaard's home. Police say they opened fire when the man hurled the axe at an officer.

The defendant admitted using violence against the police but rejected that it amounted to attempted murder.

  • Hans-Erik Iken - 2011-01-19 21:10

    Typical... Attempt to kill the cartoonist for doing something that is legal in his own country because you disagree with him, eventhough you CHOSE to live in that same country because it is a better life then your own f*cked up country. Those buggers want the rights but want to deny the rights to others. And then people wonder why the islam is being seen as a threat in Europe by an increasing percentage of the indigenous population? Those fanatical religious nutters are spoiling it all for the (unfortunately silent) majority of muslims that have none of the radical ideas that you hear about. Sentence the guy to the max and after he did his time deport him to his beloved islamist state of Somalia. Put him on the watch list for unwanted people and keep him out of Europe permanently. Problem solved.

      Icarus - 2011-01-19 22:25

      Hans, you have it all wrong ...! First of all, it's you people who allow these idiots into your country in the first place... So who is really "fucked" up ...? Secondly, these There are no "fanatical " muslims, period ! There are only good muslims (like the axe-wielding idiot) who practice islam according to the koran and hadith. Those "moderate" muslims that you're refering to, are the bad muslims who cherry-pick what they want to practice in islam. And these "radical ideas " that you mentioned is a lot of nonsense that ignorant , naive europeans like refering to. So please do all sane people a favour and research your facts before talking garbage ! I should know what I'm talking about.....I used to be a devout muslim !

      lmduplessis - 2011-01-19 22:50

      So you're saying the only good muslim is an axe murdering one? Let me guess, you're not a "devout Muslim" anymore cause you flunked out of axe wielding school?

      Hans-Erik Iken - 2011-01-20 00:25

      @Icarus: Those people are allowed into the EU for humanitarian reasons. It can be because of a civil war (refugees), famine or because they are targeted for political reasons. To the europeans all life is important, irrespective of your race, creed, political conviction or any other reason you can think of. Now that tolerance is a good thing, all human beings deserve the right to a decent lif free from fear or hunger. Whether you can actualy deliver that on a global scale is another matter. The principal is sound and good and will stand. Now I happen to know a bit about the islam, and in its core the islam is a peaceful and even tolerant religion. The fanatics though have twisted this into a hating religion. Now that is not unique to islam, we have seen the same in christianity (spanish inquisition for instance) and other religions. The fact that you became desillusioned with the islam does not mean that all muslims are hating, violent and fanatical people. I have worked closely with muslims in europe and know a quite a few muslims here in SA. None were as you describe. I cannot believe that I just accidentally came across the few odd ones that are like that. The interpretation of certain passages in the koran by the fanatics is totally different then the majority reads it: i.e. the jihad in the koran either refers to the inner struggle against temptation or to the defending of the nation of islam as it existed at the time it was written, not a crusade against other religions

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