Of three suspects detained over the alleged plot on Tuesday, February 12, a Danish citizen – was reportedly released a day later. The remaining two – Tunisian citizens – are reportedly set to be deported without trial.
In the United States, another leading religious news agency, Christian Newswire, also republished cartoons, which previously sparked violent protests across the Muslim world as well as attacks against Christians and churches and Danish embassies. Around the world dozens died in the riots.
BosNewsLife and Christian Newswire’s decision to publish the cartoons, came after at least seventeen Danish newspapers printed the drawings, which were originally made public by Jyllands-Posten in September 2005. Westergaard’s depiction of Muhammad wearing a bomb in his turban, was especially condemned by angry Muslims.
The 73-year old artist and his wife have been living in hiding, protected by the Danish police. He has told they may have to be protected for the rest of their lives.
"We e share the concern of Danish colleagues that Westergaard must be allowed to express his opinion, especially in a democratic country as Denmark, " said BosNewsLife founder Stefan J. Bos.
"The press can not allow itself to be intimidated by Islamic extremism, which threatens the fabric of a democratic society. Freedom of speech and press freedom are important elements to uncover crucial issues. We at BosNewsLife are particularly concerned about the plight of persecuted Christians and other religious groups" Bos added. His Budapest-based news agency used similar arguments when it first published the drawings in 2006.
In Denmark editors seemed to agree, saying no-one should feel their life was threatened because of a drawing. "We are doing this [publication of cartoons] to document what is at stake in this case, and to unambiguously back and support the freedom of speech that we as a newspaper will always defend," Berlingske Tidende newspaper said.
However predominantly Muslim countries disagreed. Iran reportedly summoned the Danish ambassador to Tehran in protest over the reprinting of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
State-run television said Thursday, February 14, that during a late Wednesday meeting between Foreign Ministry officials and the Danish envoy, Soeren Haslund, the Iranian side strongly condemned the reprint earlier in the day and demanded the Danish government take a "serious approach" to the case and prevent its recurrence.
Pakistan also condemned the republishing of cartoons. .“We are in touch with the Danish authorities on this issue as it hurts the feelings of over one billion Muslims of the world,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said in remarks published by the Associated Press of Pakistan news service. "We are not against the freedom of expression, but certainly freedom of expression as we have said repeatedly, is not a license to insult other people."