Friday, September 10, 2010

Merkel's Stand for Freedom

Wall Street Journal
September 10, 2010

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's speech Wednesday at a ceremony honoring Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has led to some breathless media coverage: for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung it was her "most explosive appointment" while the Bild called it "most courageous." The fact that both may well be right underlines just how controversial it has become to defend Western values in the face of Islamist extremism.

The 75-year-old Mr. Westergaard has been living under police protection for the past five years for drawing Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban in one of the 12 cartoons the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published in 2005. The illustrations triggered riots around the world that caused at least 50 deaths while the paper and the Danish government came under pressure from Muslim countries to retract the cartoons.