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In Denmark, the most famous caricature of Mohammed sold for 445,000 euros at auction

The auction of an original edition of the most famous Danish caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, which provoked violent riots in some Muslim countries and is still debated, ended Friday at 4 p.

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In Denmark, the most famous caricature of Mohammed sold for 445,000 euros at auction

The auction of an original edition of the most famous Danish caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, which provoked violent riots in some Muslim countries and is still debated, ended Friday at 4 p.m. The original drawing in A4 format was purchased for 445,000 euros. The auction house, Kurt Westergaard original icons (kwicons.com), estimated its price between 600,000 and 1 million euros.

The auctions, open online on the kwicons.com website since February 25, ended at 4 p.m. French time. Published with 11 other drawings on September 30, 2005 by the conservative Danish daily Jyllands-Posten under the title "the face of Mohammed", the caricature, signed Kurt Westergaard, shows the prophet with a turban in the shape of a bomb. “This original and iconic drawing, which Mr. Westergaard chose to keep in his private collection in 2005, is today being put on the market for the first time,” said the auction house, whose name means “Kurt Westergaard Icons”. The illustrator died in 2021, at the age of 86, after having lived for more than 15 years under police protection and at an address kept secret. In early 2010, Danish police arrested a 28-year-old Somali man armed with a knife in the house of Kurt Westergaard, who was planning to kill him.

In 2005, the caricatures initially went unnoticed, but after 15 days, a demonstration took place in Copenhagen, then the ambassadors of Muslim countries in Denmark protested. The anger then degenerated with anti-Danish violence in the Muslim world in February 2006, perceived in Denmark as the most serious diplomatic crisis for the country since the Second World War.

Violence linked to the caricatures peaked in 2015 with the attack that left 12 dead at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, which had reprinted the caricatures in 2012. Kurt Westergaard had worked at Jyllands-Posten since the mid-1980s as an illustrator, and according to the Danish daily Berlingske, the drawing in question had already been printed once before, without causing much controversy. In France, a history and geography teacher, Samuel Paty, was stabbed then beheaded in 2020 near his college in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines) after showing his students caricatures of Muhammad during lessons on freedom of expression.

Other caricatures of the prophet, created by Kurt Westergaard, are still up for auction on the site kwicons.fr, with starting prices ranging from 1,000 to 200,000 euros.

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