A Danish cartoonist, responsible for one of the caricatures of Mohammed which sparked worldwide anger from Muslims in 2005, has accused the BBC of appeasing radical Islam.
Kurt Westergaard says the BBC will not air a recent interview with him because it is terrified of upsetting extremist Muslims.
The 73-year-old cartoonist gave his first ever English interview to a BBC journalist four weeks ago. Since then it has not been broadcast, amid claims that the BBC is frightened of “inflaming” Muslims.
Mr Westergaard told the Daily Mail newspaper, “I am disappointed on behalf of the freedom of speech.
“Every time you are afraid I think you make a step backwards. That is depressing me.”
Mr Westergaard compared the BBC’s attitude to the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s.
He said: “If you have an appeasement policy towards the radical Muslims then you are on a very wrong way and you have to start marching backwards.”
The protests which greeted the publication of the Danish cartoons in 2005 lasted for six months and led to dozens of deaths.
Mr Westergaard has received death threats and been forced to spend periods living at secret locations under police protection.
A spokesman for the BBC said: “No decision has been made yet. As and when one is, it will be based, as always, on editorial merit.”