Danish cartoon artist Kurt Westergaard would do it again..
Transcript and translation of Danish TV broadcast September 24 2006: TV2 - Dagsdato (name of the programme "Today") Podcast(Mp4 - Right click and choose 'save target as')
Poul Erik Skammelsen TV2 Denmark
This page is world famous....
(In the background Jyllands Posten's office)
Poul Erik Skammelsen TV2: This page from a Danish newspaper has become famous all around the globe. The page shows Jyllands Postens so called Mohammed cartoons.
It is about a year ago they were first printed, they became the centre of what would be called "the Mohammed crisis", in which amongst others Danish ambassey's
were set on fire.
Bomb in turban
The 12 artists were threatened with death threats, and are now under special police surveillance.
Particularly one of the drawings incited anger; a picture of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban. Here for the first time you can meet on TV the man who created just that
drawing. You can also see how things evolved when he was host to one of the leading Danish Muslims who travelled around in the Mid-East with this and the other cartoons.
Ulrik Thomas Lyager TV2: When Kurt Westergaard put his signature next to a satirical drawing depicting the prophet Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, nobody had
expected what that would lead to.
(Cut back to the past; images of burning ambasseys, flags, protestors, old news speak)
Ulrik Thomas Lyager TV2
Cecilie Beck TV2
Michael Kamber TV2
Gunilla Roijer TV2
Cecilie Beck TV2: Hundreds of demonstrators protested enraged about Jyllands Postens Mohammed Cartoons.
Mikael Kamber TV2: The Mohammed crisis has reached new heights. (images of burning ambasseys, flags, protestors)
Gunilla Røjer TV2: It is an unnerving day filled with crisis management at the highest level (images of burning ambasseys, flags, protestors)
(End of past images)
Kurt Westergaard - artist
Karsten Frische TV2 to Kurt Westergaard: What do you think when you see these images?
Kurt Westergaard: Well, I was overwhelmed with terror and shock. I had never imagined that Denmark could get involved in such a situation..
Ulrik Thomas Lyager (commentator): Now he is going public for the first time, and tells about his experiences, when his drawing lead to death threats, and he had to be protected by the police intelligence special squad.
Kurt Westergaard: Of course there have been some very uncomfortable moments where I have imagined the worst that could happen, I will not try to hide that. But nothing
happened; the paper (Jyllands Posten) has installed an alarm system in the house, and in my pocket I have an alarm button, I just have to press it to get help.
Ulrik Thomas Lyager TV2: The 71 years old artist was especially worried about what the threats meant for his family.
Kurt Westergaard: When my wife experiences that parents in the kindergarten of which she is the principal, start asking if it is safe to send the children to kindergarten
that makes a strong impression.
Kasem Said Ahmad, Abu Laban, Ahmad Akkari. Travelled around the Mid-East with Jyllands Posten's Muhammed Cartoons, and a few of their own choice or making..
Ulrik Thomas Lyager TV2: One of those who were deeply shocked by Kurt Westergaards drawing of the prophet Mohammed is Kasem Ahmad, who today is the spokesman of
the Islamic Council (Islamisk Trossamfund).
He was part of the delegation of Imams which went for a tour around the Mid-East to spread the news of the drawings, but just like Kurt Westergaard, he was shocked by the violent reactions caused by the drawings.. (...?!)
Karsten Frische TV2 to Kasem: When you see these images, what do you think?
Kasem Said Ahmad: One is about to throw up, actually eh one gets sick, oh eh it's not something we like..
Ulrik Thomas Lyager TV2: Now the crisis has become a little more distant, and Dagsdato has got Kurt Westergaard to invite Kasem Ahmad for a chat about every ting that happened.
Karsten Frische TV2: What do you think will come out of this meeting?
Kurt Westergaard: Yes I have thought a lot about that too.. Well, I would like to ask him: How do you think we go on from here?
Kasem Said Ahmad: Well my expectation is that we have a good dialogue with the man, eh, oh I expect from him personally that he comes to ??? that he regrets. (??? = unintelligable; the Kasem's Danish is not very good)
Karsten Frische TV2 to Kurt: He will undoubtedly demand an apology, will you give him that?
Kurt Westergaard: Yes eh.. I give no apology, not for that.. I just did my job (doorbell rings). Hello hello, welcome to my house. Please...
Kasem Said Ahmad: Thank you
Kurt Westergaard: My drawing with the bomb in the turban, it is not directed at Islam as such. I admit it uses Islam's figure, and Islam's, eh that this symbolic
thing hits hard, and it is there things become critical, because in our democracy we have this freedom of speech, and with that comes a certain degree of respectlessness,
and now in this situation, you feel offended...
Kasem Said Ahmad: You are asked to draw how you see Mohammed, you are not asked to draw how do you see Osama Bin Laden. One can not say all Muslims use terror, one
can not say that.
Kurt Westergaard: No, no..
Kasem Said Ahmad: If you really mean that Islam stands for terror, then it is completely wrong with me, then it is completely wrong..
Kasem Said Ahmad - Fundamentalist Imam
Kurt Westergaard: Well, I respect your religion, and I respect...
Kasem Said Ahmad: I don't believe that.
Kurt Westergaard: Yes I certainly do.
Kasem Said Ahmad: I don't believe it.
Kurt Westergaard: Then that is your problem.
Kasem Said Ahmad: Yes but this is what I'm saying to you, this drawing means that you not respect my religion, neither you nor Jyllands Posten.
Kurt Westergaard: Well I will maintain that we do. But we play by some rules in this society, that we can not give up, there are some basic things we can not change..
Ulrik Thomas Lyager TV2: Suddenly the debate devellops a bit different from what we had expected.....
Kasem Said Ahmad: Stop! No no we stop filming. I don't want to film, it being filmed. We stop recording yes...
Karsten Frische TV2: Why?
Kasem Said Ahmad: I..., I don't want anymore, I don't want to be in it anymore..
Karsten Frische TV2: You don't want to be part of it any more? Why not?
Kasem Said Ahmad: I don't feel, I don't feel, I don't feel well, not well I can say in this project. I don't want to be in it anymore. We cancel it all...
While the participants are talking in the background, Ulrik Thomas Lyager TV2 announces: Kasem Said Ahmad does not want to continue the interview, but we choose
to leave the camera running so far.
Stop! No we stop recording,
I'm out, I don't want anymore...
Kasem Said Ahmad: I don't think this is going anywhere at all.. I would like to continue the discussion, but this is harmful.... more harmful than helpful..
Kurt Westergaard: Yes but how can it harm you, I don't understand. You are making your point very clear, I have a hard time seeing that eh..
Kasem Said Ahmad: You are still proving that freedom of speech can only be tested on Muslims..
Kurt Westergaard: No..
Kasem Said Ahmad: Yes..
Kurt Westergaard: I don't really understand what you are saying there...
Kasem Said Ahmad: Yes but I would like to see the same drawing about the holocaust, about Jesus.. In Jyllands Posten!
Kurt Westergaard: Yes but I have made drawings about Jesus..
Kasem Said Ahmad: No, it must be in Jyllands Posten, 12 drawings like this. Then you have confirmed that freedom of speech is for everybody...
I don't understand, Did you get what you wanted? The purpose was to scorn others and mock them? Was that your purpose? Or to show that we can do everything we want? What
was the purpose of all this?
Kurt Westergaard: We don't make.. We can't make a satire, a provocation or a satire without him or her feeling there is a reason to do so right?
Kasem Said Ahmad: What is it we got out of it?
Freedom of speech has always been in Denmark, it is not someting somebody has said that we would like to change that.
We have said we want respect. (KW Yes yes) If we don't get respect, then it is we are not recognized..
Kasem: I don't understand.. Did you get what you wanted? Kurt can't help grinning.. Of course I respect you...
Kurt Westergaard: You are absolutely recognized!
Kasem Said Ahmad: We are not.
Kurt Westergaard: Surely you are..
Kasem Said Ahmad: Recognized then one is respected...
Kurt Westergaard: Yes but you are respected.. I certainly respect you, and what you are saying..
Kasem Said Ahmad: Yes but your actions show something else..
Kurt Westergaard: Yes but eh, I have a certain tradition from which I work, which is deeply integrated in Denmark's situation, Denmarks democracy and we.. can not
possibly give in on that point.
Ulrik Thomas Lyager TV2: After a short break we continue filming, but Kasem Ahmad still doesn't want to be part of it.
Karsten Frische TV2 to Kasem: What then was your intention when you came over here to take part in the debate?
Kasem Said Ahmad: What I think, that that we, eh, eh, this debate ends with eh, that eh, the artist says, "I'm part of a project which I didn't expect to end
up with all this trouble in the Mid-East, and I regret that project." And regrettably this is not what has happened, and we can not hear (??? unintelligible).
Ulrik Thomas Lyager TV2: We have to stop here.. We would liked to have asked Kasim Ahmad what he thought had come out of the debate after all, but he did not want
to be interviewed, and shortly after he leaves..
Kasem Said Ahmad: Kurt... (sticks out his hand to say goodbye)
Kurt Westergaard: Yes it was my pleasure, and I want to express my respect for your opinions.
Kasem Said Ahmad: Yes but I want to see action..
Kurt Westergaard: Yes, I understand that very well..
Bye Bye, Kasem!
Kasem Said Ahmad: Ok, thank you..
Kurt Westergaard: Yes it was good to talk, I was very happy to do that.
Kasem Said Ahmad: Bye, bye...
Kurt Westergaard: Have a safe ride home.
Karsten Frische TV2: Do you understand why he left?
Kurt Westergaard: Eh, no, I don't understand that violent religious element. I don't understand it.
Karsten Frische TV2: What he says is that he did not get from this conversation what he had wished for, and that this is why he chose to stop.
Shouldn't you have
met them somewhere?
Kurt Westergaard: Yes, and that what I wanted to do, and still think I did during our conversation.
I acknowledged his point of view, told him that I respected his
opinion, and understood clearly what he meant... But ehm not that it should have to end with an apology. I could not go along with that, because eh, I would forsake something
which is quite important in my profession.
Karsten Frische TV2: Would you do it again?
Kurt Westergaard: Yes, I think so. Yes I would!
End of interview
Poul Erik Skammelsen TV2:
As we could hear in the programme, Kasem Said Ahmad did not want us to broadcast the meeting with the artist. We chose to do that anyway, because in our assessment in
his capacity as an opinion former and spokesman for the Islamic Council he is such an important part of the whole matter that he can not just take part in a debate and then
And we stay with the subject, in Dagsdato on Wednesday; The West and Islam, shall we talk or shall we fight, we ask questions in connection to the latest commotion around
some comments made by the pope recently. That will be Wednesday September 27 at 22:50.
Update:Friday February 15 2008 Kasem Said Ahmad took part in a demonstration against freedom of speech organized by the infamous islamic organization Hizb ut Tahir (forbidden in many countries), side by side with Hizb ut Tahir's leader Fadi Abulatif. The latter has been convicted for publishing a flyer in which he called for the extermination of Jews, by quoting Koranic verses.