Lars Vilks, the cartoonist who created outrage in the Muslim community by depicting Mohammed as a dog in a cartoon had a riot break out at his talk about free speech and freedom of creativity at Uppsala University in Sweden. Vilks was not injured in the incident; however his glasses were broken. There was a lot of chaos as numerous young men stormed the small stage area where Vilks was speaking. They put up a lot of resistance against the police who were trying to subdue them. Eventually they were also sprayed with pepper spray. (See a video at the first source listed at bottom of article).
The crowd was chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) as the chaos unfolded.
University Honors Freedom of Speech
Uppsala University released a statement about the incident: “We think it is our task as a university to be able to discuss difficult issues. We think it is very unfortunate that this has resulted in violence.”
Threats Against Lars Vilks
In 2007 al Qaeda put a death threat on this cartoonist, with a $100,000 award for his murder. The BBC reports that there would be a “50% bonus if he was slaughtered like a lamb by having his throat cut.”
The CS Monitor reports that after the death threat on Vilks in 2007, he stated “I suppose this makes my art project a bit more serious. It’s also good to know how much one is worth.”
Jihad Jane Plot against Lars Vilks
Vilks was the focus of a death plot by “Jihad Jane,” a Pennsylvania woman arrested for terrorism after she was found to be involved with an al Qaeda plot to murder Vilks in Sweden.
There have been numerous other death threats against Lars Vilks. This is because the religion of Islam forbids depictions of the Prophet Mohammad. Debate continues about whether the cartoons are simple freedom of speech or if they are offensive.
All religions are pilloried in the cartoons and in satire shows. A select few Muslims are reacting with violence to something that may offend many, but violence is not the way to respond.
Other Cartoonist Threatened Also: Kurt Westergaard
A Danish cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, has also been threatened for his depiction of Mohammad. He showed the prophet as a suicide bomber. He was later attacked in his home by a machete wielding Islamic terrorist.
Vive Freedom of Speech
Creative types, artists and writers will always speak their minds via their artistic works. Freedom of speech is alive and well. It is a valued part of any free society.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/11/lars-vilks-muhammad-carto_n_572464.html (With VIDEO)