Via Gateway Pundit, a Swedish artist and academic who has been under death threats from Muslims for the last three years was attacked as he gave a free speech lecture at Uppsala University, 40 miles north of Stockholm.
Lars Vilks gained international attention for his sketch of the Prophet Muhammad’s head on the body of a dog, which was printed by a Swedish newspaper in 2007. The sketch was one of several similar works Vilks created in response to the 2006 Danish cartoons controversy, and it was intended to appear in a gallery showing in the small town of Tallerud, but the gallery chose not to go forward with the showing amid concerns about Muslim violence. Several other galleries took similar stances, and when the regional newspaper Nerikes Allehanda published the sketch, Vilks’ drawing flowered into a controversy as heated as the Danish cartoon situation.
Vilks was the target of the Jihad Jane plot earlier this year, which was merely the latest in a long line of Muslim threats against his life. He’s been under police protection since 2007, when Al-Qaeda in Iraq put a $150,000 price on his head.
Earlier today, however, was the first time Vilks has been physically assaulted:
The AP story covering the attack gives a full description:
Vilks said a group of about 15 people had been shouting and trying to interrupt the lecture before the incident at the university in Uppsala, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) north of Stockholm.
Some of them stormed toward the front of the room after the attack and clashed with security guards as Vilks was pulled away into a separate room, he said, describing the scene as “complete chaos.”
“A man ran up and threw himself over me. I was head-butted and my glasses were broken,” Vilks said before hanging up for questioning by police.
Uppsala police spokesman Jonas Eronen later said that the attacker was stopped by officers before he could get to Vilks. The physical contact Vilks described probably happened when police in civilian clothes evacuated the artist “in a brusque manner,” Eronen said.
A man and a woman were detained on suspicion of violence against police while another man was held for disturbing public order, he said. All were just under 20 years old.
Uppsala University spokeswoman Pernilla Bjork said Vilks was showing an excerpt from a film by an Iranian artist about Islam and homosexuality that had been banned from YouTube when the commotion started.
“It was about when Muslims and Muhammad are represented in homosexual situations,” said Anders Montelius, a 23-year-old student who attended the lecture.
“Some people started shouting, things happened really fast. About 10-15 seconds later it erupts. A guy from the front row gets up and sets upon Vilks. Several others followed this man. There was commotion and police pepper-sprayed a couple of people,” Montelius told AP.
“When the university person responsible for the lecture announced that the lecture was discontinued, there were cheers and chants in Arabic,” he said.
The lesson here is that if you say something Islamist Muslims don’t like or draw a picture of their prophet, they’ll try to kill you. That gives the rest of us two choices – either we can censor ourselves so as not to upset the Islamist Muslims, recognizing that they’re prone to attack those who provoke them, or we can exercise our free speech rights en masse and send them a message that they cannot control us.
Everybody Draw Muhammad Day is May 20.