Muslims need to develop a sense of humor and an appreciation of satire — and they need to understand that they are not "free of being mocked or being offended," says the Danish caricaturist whose cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad incited rage throughout the Muslim world four years ago.
Kurt Westergaard told roughly a dozen listeners Wednesday night that he will "always" be ready to defend an individual's right to religious freedom.
"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. "That's the conditions in Denmark and so many countries."
Westergaard spoke at a private residence in midtown Manhattan in conjunction with the Hudson New York Briefing Council. 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.