COPENHAGEN – A Danish press freedom group said Wednesday it is selling copies of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad that caused outrage across the Muslim World.
Some 1,000 printed reproductions of a drawing depicting the prophet wearing a bomb-shaped turban are being sold for $250 each, said Lars Hedegaard, chairman of the Danish Free Press Society.
"All we are doing is starting a debate," Hedegaard said. "We are using our freedom of speech."
Hedegaard said Danish artist Kurt Westergaard, who drew the cartoon in 2005, had given the society permission to produce the copies and sell them. Each numbered copy has been signed by Westergaard, Hedegaard said.
"We have not, and are not, breaking any laws," Hedegaard told The Associated Press.
Westergaard has been living under police protection since an alleged plot to murder him was discovered last year.
Twelve cartoons depicting the prophet, including the one by Westergaard, were published in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in 2005.
The following year, they triggered massive protests from Morocco to Indonesia, with rioters torching Danish and other Western diplomatic missions. Some Muslim countries boycotted Danish products.
Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet for fear it could lead to idolatry.
Throughout the crisis, then Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen distanced himself from the cartoons but resisted calls to apologize for them, citing freedom of speech and saying his government could not be held responsible for the actions of Denmark's press.
On Saturday, Fogh Rasmussen was chosen to become NATO's new secretary-general despite threats by Turkey, the alliance's only Muslim member, to veto his election.