Somali militia issues Lars Vilks death threat

Somali militia issues Lars Vilks death threat
OlofE/Wikimedia (File)
A Swedish fighter with al-Shabaab, a Somalian milita with ties to Al-Qaeda, has urged Muslims to kill an artist from Sweden who depicted the Prophet Mohammed as a dog, US monitoring group SITE said Tuesday.

“Wherever you are, if not today or tomorrow, know that we haven’t yet forgotten about you,” said al-Shabaab member Abu Zaid in a video warning to artist Lars Vilks.

“We will get hold of you and with Allah’s permission we will catch you wherever you are and in whatever hole you are hiding in,” Zaid said in a recruitment video with English and Swahili subtitles that calls for Muslims to join the radical movement.

Vilks has faced numerous death threats and a suspected assassination plot since his drawing of the Muslim prophet with the body of a dog was first published by Swedish regional daily Nerikes Allehanda in 2007, illustrating an editorial on the importance of freedom of expression.

“Know what awaits you, as it will be nothing but this: slaughter! For that is what you deserve,” Zaid said in the video that SITE said was posted on jihadist Internet forums on Monday.

“To my brothers and sisters, I call you to make (migration), and if you can kill this dog called Lars (Vilks), then you will receive a great reward from Allah,” Zaid said, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

Vilks, who has received many death threats for his depiction of the Prophet Mohammed as a dog, on Wednesday took the new threat on his life in stride.

“I can feel pretty safe,” he told AFP by telephone.

“Right now the weather is looking really good (for me). It’s too cold and there is too much snow for someone to try an amateur terrorist act.”

He dismissed the video as a desperate attempt for the organisation to recruit new members.

“That organisation has no resources to speak of. They are almost bankrupt,” he said.

“They send out that type of information to try to find volunteers that could interest them and to get attention. It’s something that can only lure in a few crazy people.”

The drawing by Vilks prompted protests by Muslims in the town of Örebro, west of Stockholm, where the newspaper is based. Egypt, Iran and Pakistan also made formal complaints about the drawing.