Muslims need to develop a sense of humour, says controversial Dane cartoonist

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New York, Oct. 2 (ANI): Muslims need to develop a sense of humour and an appreciation of satire, and they need to understand that they are not "free of being mocked or being offended," says controversial Danish caricaturist Kurt Westergaard.

Westergaard's controversial cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban resembling a lit bomb incited rage throughout the Muslim world four years ago.

"As the Danish tradition is for satire, we say you can speak freely, you can vote, you can speak out anytime, but there's only one thing you can't do - you can't be free of being mocked or being offended," Westergaard said at a private residence in midtown Manhattan in conjunction with the Hudson New York Briefing Council.

According to The Telegraph, it was just his second appearance in the U.S. since the 2005 publication of his notorious cartoon, which depicted Muhammad wearing a turban resembling a lit bomb. In Islam, any depiction of Muhammad is forbidden and considered blasphemy.

Westergaard's controversial cartoon was one of 12 that appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 and led to widespread violent protests throughout the Middle East, Asia, Denmark and Africa.

Several months after the cartoons were published, a Pakistani cleric reportedly offered 1.5 million rupees (16,700 dollars) and a car to anyone who killed Westergaard.

Tom Conroy, a Yale spokesman, said Steven Smith, a professor of political science and master of Branford College, one of Yale University's 12 undergraduate colleges, had invited Westergaard to a Master's Tea.

"Individuals at Yale have deep objections to Mr. Westergaard's cartoon and commentary, but in the Yale community, the avenue to voice disagreement with expression is through more speech, not its curtailment," Conroy said in a statement.

He said Professor Smith had met with campus police, who are working with "city, state and federal" authorities regarding security at the event.

Smith said in a statement released Wednesday that he wanted to examine issues of "free speech" and "globalization" by inviting Westergaard.

Asked whether his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad originated from his personal politics or as part of his job as a cartoonist, estergaard replied: "I am fighting for a just cause. And so you have a moral alibi, which is good, and then I have only worked ccording to our traditions in Denmark. (ANI)

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