Swedish artist Lars Vilks was attacked Tuesday by a gang of Muslim radicals as he lectured inside a university classroom in Uppsala, Sweden. A dozen or more Muslims charged the podium where Vilks was discussing his own work and that of others satirizing and critiquing various religious claims.
The assailants claimed they acted in part out of anger over Vilks’ portrayal of Mohammed, a forbidden act under some Muslim sect’s interpretation of the Koran. This behavior is nothing more than violent suppression of free speech, and must be resisted by all right-thinking people. In keeping with our pledge to support free speech when extremists try to suppress it, here are the very Vilks cartoons they oppose:
Try to take away our freedom of expression, try to suppress out thoughts and words and works of art, and we will make sure they get disseminated for all the world to see.
Police reacted swiftly, intercepting the attackers before they could reach Vilks who was still injured slightly by plainclothes officers while they hustled him to safety. The assailant’s violence was so extreme that police had to use pepper spray, clubs, boot-stomps and choke-holds to repel and subdue them. Three were arrested on various assault charges. A video clip of the attack can be found here at UNT.TV.
Vilks has repeatedly had his life threatened since he published these cartoons, nothing but black lines on white paper and no justification whatsoever for violence and assassination. A bounty of $100,000 continues to be offered for killing him, $150,000 if it is done by slitting his throat. As well, two American women along with several cohorts have recently been charged for conspiring to kill him.
Vilks is being very courageous, both with his art and with his continued refusal to be censured or silenced. We can do no less in his support.
They can’t kill us all.
More about Lars Vilks and his Mohammed cartoons.