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'Vilks was target of Gothenburg attack'

TT/The Local/pvs · 21 Sep 2011, 08:25

Published: 21 Sep 2011 08:25 GMT+02:00

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The Swedish prosecutor's office refused to comment on the report.

Vilks has meanwhile decided to cancel his participation in a debate on Friday at the Gothenburg Book Fair due to the security risks involved.

"The debate will be held but the security situation dictates that it wouldn't have been were I to be present," Vilks said.

The artist, who has faced numerous death threats and a suspected assassination plot after publishing a caricature depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog in 2007, was coy about whether he would be attending the book fair at all.

"If I do I am not going to talk about it. I'll have to sneak in in costume, so if you see a bearded man with black glasses on, then...."

Sweden's elite counter-terrorism unit, together with the police, on September 10th arrested four men - 23-year-old Salar Sami Mahamood, 26-year-old Abdi Aziz Mahamud, 25-year-old Abdi Weli Mohamud, 24-year-old Mohamed Adel Kulan - for plotting an attack.

One of the suspects had bought a pocketknife to be used in the attack, and

one of the men had asked for Vilks at the art fair, according to Metro.

Story continues below…

Adel Kulan was later released due to lack of evidence and the suspicions against the other men were downgraded from preparing terror crimes to preparing to commit murder.

They remain in custody.

The arrests led to an evacuation of the Röda Sten art gallery, while Vilks himself was in Stockholm at the time.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:39 September 21, 2011 by Scansson
One of THE Greatest Artists of the 21st century!

Truth in art will always prevail : )
09:39 September 21, 2011 by isenhand
"The artist, who has faced numerous death threats and a suspected assassination plot after publishing a caricature depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a dog in 2007"

If people had just let this drop it would have vanished into the fog of the past. But as we keep getting these reports of assassination attempts it just keeps bring the story of "Mohammed as a dog" back into focus. In the I think ends up as counter productive.
09:46 September 21, 2011 by big5
The best thing to do is for all of Europe to flood its newspapers and art galleries with satirical anti-religious artwork, including a fair share ridiculing Islam and the prophet. There are plenty of refugees from islamic dictatorships like Iran who are anxious for the freedom to criticise the hypocrisy of their ex religion. Give them the chance to do so in safety here in Europe!

We dug ourselves out of Christianity's chokehold, and must make sure no new religion arises and crimps our hard-won freedom of speech.
10:01 September 21, 2011 by isenhand

In away I think that has already happened. Remember Mohammed with a bomb on his head and the "Draw Mohammed" day? Also, you can find many ex-Muslim (and xian for that matter) sites on the internet such as the council of ex-muslim in the uk (http://ex-muslim.org.uk/). Some reports I have read have suggested many more Muslims have left their religion over the last 10 years than at any other time in Muslim history.
10:16 September 21, 2011 by godnatt
Vilks truly is a hero. Explaining freedom of speech to religious muslims is like teaching a monkey physics. Outside their comprehension.
10:21 September 21, 2011 by Grokh
what is quite scary is the fact that his life has to change and adapt accordingly to the threats and attempts of assassination.

Meanwhile muslims in sweden who support the fatwa on his head ,as well as threaten him saying they would kill him if they saw him, go about freely without any consequences.
10:31 September 21, 2011 by J Jack
People making death threats and walking the streets freely, what a fine balance.
11:30 September 21, 2011 by johnny1939
Vilks is getting what he deserves and his drawing was badly done anyway. I do not approve of ridiculing any religion you are entitled to peacefully observe whatever floats your boat.
11:45 September 21, 2011 by Opinionfool
What is it about depictions of Mohamed that Muslims don't like? Leaders and founders of other religions have represented in simple and sarcastic pictures without much comment. When there has been something to complain about in the portrayal the artist has not received death threats. Salman Rushdie writes a fictional account of something that happened and gets a fatwa issued against him. Kurt Westergaard makes a political statement about Islamic based terrorism and is threatened. Theo van Gogh makes a film and is murdered. But no one murdered for depicting Jesus. Nikos Kazantzakis wasn't threatened for his novel "The Last Temptation of Christ". Neither was Dali for depicting himself (as the artist) to be above Jesus in his painting of the cruxifiction. Martin Scorsese made a film; he continues to make films.

The only complaint should be is the work bad art.
12:39 September 21, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
The article seems pretty thin on evidence. I mean, 'a man was carrying a pocket knife and asked for Vilks'??

Still, like the previous poster I agree there are 'hotheads' out there, and you mustn't take any chances
12:59 September 21, 2011 by eppie

You can leave 'one of the'.....I think even at the start of this century he is the greatest artist of the 21st century.

No seriously, you really don't have anything better to do if you have time to try and kill this guy.

But to me all these threats we read about are just the 'counter terrorism units' that want us to believe they have a lot of work to do.
14:02 September 21, 2011 by Tysknaden
I remember a time, when ( in the West) Free Speach did not endanger one's life. But that's long gone.
15:45 September 21, 2011 by Svensksmith
Personally, as a dog lover, I am insulted by Vilks caricature.
17:03 September 21, 2011 by Prat
There's plenty of intolerance in most of the big religions.

It wasn't long ago that Roman Catholicism ruled the Western world, and heretics with opinions angering their clergymen were tortured to death.

Our society shedding itself of such Corpus Christianum and moving to secularism is perhaps a path more Islamic societies may eventually choose...
17:22 September 21, 2011 by Tysknaden
@Prat: It was long ago. Our secular stadium will not last...
17:46 September 21, 2011 by AHA
Islam has nothing to do with these so called Islamists. Just as art has nothing to do with the so called artist "Vilks"
20:35 September 21, 2011 by per1970
I wonder how much money mr Vilks cost the tax payers on his personal vendetta?
22:35 September 21, 2011 by godnatt

Is Mr. Vilks threatening his own life?? He's responsible for the barbarity of his attackers?

Or do you not hold Muslims to any behavioral standards?

You expect so little from them you don't even hold them accountable to behave like normal adult human beings? Like children or animals instead?

You've just summed up the problem very concisely with your question.
06:10 September 22, 2011 by Grokh
No one can say his art is bad as it has achieve precisely what it was meant to achieve, to criticize something that gets people killed.

That is why he is a great artist not because he draws well but because of how he made the point and everyone trying to kill him just prooves it to be true.

lack of criticism for religions was what gave us all the bad moments in human history where religion held supreme power.

We cant let that happen again and within that vilks has done human race a great favour, now its up to "us" to protect him as it is everyones interest to be able to speak freely and criticize without being persecuted.

also threatning to kill people isnt free speech.
16:14 September 22, 2011 by EP
Vilks is an opportunist, that's it. He's no artist. Although I agree with freedom of speech, I think he's just been riding the coat-tails of others. When the Danish published the cartoons, it sparked debate as it should have. But then Vilks followed suit and that's just crass and unnecessary.

Come up with something original Vilks.
18:13 September 22, 2011 by Dave N
Viks' dog drawing was rubbish - but that is not the point. The point is that Muslims must be shown that they cannot dictate what can and what cannot be depicted in a non-Muslim country.

Shame on all the newspapers all over the world that carried the stories of the Mo-toons but were too afraid of the Muslims to publish them. When is the West going to stop grovelling every time the Muslims throw a tantrum?
18:09 September 23, 2011 by Chickybee
Draw a cartoon and get a fatwa - nice relgion, isn't it?

Yes, it's Islam we're talking about - let's not shy for the issue.
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