The Danish cartoonist, whose unflattering drawing of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad sparked fatal protests five years ago, has been honoured at a press freedom ceremony in Germany.
Chancellor Angela Merkel paid tribute to Kurt Westergaard in Potsdam, and said free speech is a precious commodity.
Westergaard portrayed Mohammad wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb. At least 50 people died in angry protests by Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
“What distinguishes us in Germany, as in Europe, is our handling of our diversity, of our freedom and the freedom of others,” Merkel said.
Germany’s Central Council of Muslims denounced the chancellor’s appearence with Westergaard, saying she was honouring a man who had trampled on their prophet.
The conservative daily paper Frankfurter Allgemeine said she was taking a huge risk, but the mass-circulation Bild saluted her for showing that Germany would not back down in the face of fanatical Islamist threats.