By Dylan Bowman
17 newspapers publish controversial illustration in protest at plot to murder cartoonist.
At least 17 Danish newspapers printed a controversial cartoon of Prophet Mohammed Wednesday, vowing to defend freedom of expression a day after police foiled a murder plot against the cartoonist.
Three of the country's biggest dailies were among those that published the cartoon, which depicts the founder of Islam with a bomb in his turban.
Three men were arrested on Tuesday in Denmark for planning to murder Kurt Westergaard, 73, a cartoonist at Jyllands-Posten, the paper that originally ran the drawings in September 2005.
A number of Danish embassies were attacked and more than 50 people were killed in rioting across the Middle East, Africa and Asia following publication of the cartoons, first in the Danish press and subsequently by numerous media outlets around the world.
The cartoons caused a massive backlash against Danish companies operating in the region, with supermarkets and retail outlets removing their products from the shelves.
The newspapers that printed the cartoon on Wednesday said they did so to take a stand against self-censorship.
"Freedom of expression gives you the right to think, to speak and to draw what you like... no matter how many terrorist plots there are," conservative broadsheet Berlingske Tidende wrote in an editorial.
The newspaper - which had not previously printed the caricature despite the massive controversy that engulfed Denmark for months in 2006 - urged "the Danish media to stand united against fanaticism".
Tabloid Ekstra Bladet meanwhile published all 12 of the original cartoons.
The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that so far there had been no repeat of the violent scenes two years ago, but it was following the situation "very closely".
"In travel advice we have stated what happened yesterday and the fact that some newspapers have published a drawing," Klavs Holm, under-secretary for public diplomacy, told ArabianBusiness.com.
"We have not observed any reaction that should change the security assessment or travel advice."
Hans Klingenberg, Danish ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told ArabianBusiness.com he hoped "common sense" would prevail and there would be no repeat of the violence.
Asked whether embassies in the region were taking any extra security measures, he said: "We never discuss these issues."