Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Friday, 28 March 2008

Cartoonist to sue over Islam film

Kurt Westergaard in 2006
Kurt Westergaard has been in hiding in Denmark since 2005

Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who depicted the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, says he will sue the maker of an anti-Islam film.

Mr Westergaard says his cartoon, which sparked riots two years ago, was used in the film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders without permission.

Mr Westergaard told Danish TV that his cartoon was a protest against terrorism, not Islam as a whole.

The Danish journalists' union is suing on his behalf for copyright violation.

"Wilders has the right to make his movie but he has not permission to use my drawing," Mr Westergaard told Denmark's TV2.

"This has nothing to do with freedom of speech," he said. "I will not accept my cartoon being taken out of its original context and used in a completely different one."

Mr Westergaard has lived in hiding in Denmark since his cartoon led to unrest in the Middle East and beyond following its publication in 2005.

'Spiteful verses'

There were further protests when it was re-published by the Danish press earlier this year.

Mr Westergaard says he is once again in danger because the cartoon has been used in Mr Wilders' film.

It may surprise some radical Muslims that the two men they have uniformly condemned as anti-Islamic do not seem to see eye-to-eye, says BBC religious affairs correspondent Frances Harrison.

Mr Wilders' 15-minute-long film, posted on the internet, uses the cartoon twice.

It also shows footage of attacks by extremist groups on Western targets, including those of 11 September 2001, alongside verses from the Koran.

Pictures of a woman being stoned, scenes from a beheading and images of the Dutch director Theo van Gogh, who was murdered by a radical Islamist in 2004, are included.

The film ends with someone turning pages of a Koran, followed by a tearing sound.

A text that appears on the screen says: "The sound you heard was from a page (being torn from a) phone book.

"It is not up to me, but up to the Muslims themselves to tear the spiteful verses from the Koran."


Mr Wilders has said he is happy at what he sees as a positive reaction to his film.

But the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, strongly condemned it.

Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Kristiarto Legowo said the film was "misleading and full of racism" - an irresponsible act "done under the blanket of freedom of the press".

The foreign ministry in Bangladesh issued a statement calling the film "unwarranted" and "mindless" and said it would "offend millions of Muslims".

Iran said it was blasphemous, anti-Islamic and heinous - a sign it said of deep hatred felt by Westerners towards Muslims.

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