Prophet Mohammed cartoon exhibition cancelled in London
Organisers say there is a 'very real possibility' that people could be hurt or killed at the controversial event
An exhibition of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed scheduled to take place in London has been cancelled over security fears.
The show was going to take place at an art gallery next month, but the owners pulled out after counter-terrorism police officers informed them that the event could be seen as offensive and a risk to public safety, Breitbart reports.
Depictions of the Prophet are considered blasphemous by many Muslims and cartoons have been used as justifications for violence, most significantly the attack on Charlie Hebdo earlier this year.
In May, two gunmen also stormed a Mohammed cartoon competition in Texas and were shot dead by police. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. In February, a suspected Islamist terrorist opened fire at a free speech event in Copenhagen, killing a filmmaker.
The London exhibition was organised by Anne Marie Waters, director of UK Sharia Watch and a former Ukip candidate. She said the cancellation was evidence that Britain had become a "frightened" nation.
"Fear is controlling our society where Islam is concerned, and it was fear that got this exhibit cancelled," Waters writes in her blog post.
The far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders was due to speak at the event. The controversial leader of the Party for Freedom has previously described Mohammed as "the devil" and wanted the "fascist" Koran banned in The Netherlands.
Critics say that the decision to invite Wilders shows that the exhibition was deliberately conceived in order to "irritate and inflame". If it was a genuine attempt to uphold free speech, organisers would have invited other groups, said Fiyaz Mughal, director of Tell MAMA, which tackles anti-Muslim hatred.
"In the end, with all of the hot air, what have organisers achieved?" said Mughal. "Nothing but an attempt to raise the temperature and inflame community tensions. Hardly anything constructive to humanity."