Monday, May 17, 2010

Arsonists Attack Cartoonist Lars Vilks’ Home

Last week the Swedish artist and cartoonist Lars Vilks—who gained notoriety for portraying the prophet Mohammed as part-dog part-human—was attacked during a lecture on freedom of expression at Uppsala University. Now the artist, who has been under intense scrutiny by radical Islamists, has had his home partially torched by arsonists.

Vilks’ lecture in Uppsala last week was disrupted and cancelled after he showed a movie containing “sexual content”.  A member of the lecture audience—with no difficulty presented by security—ran up and head-butted Vilks; others in the audience called out “Allahu akbar” and complained that Vilks failed to stop the movie when they demanded he do so. 

Additionally—only a few days after his freedom of speech was trampled on—his home was targeted by arsonists as reported by Swedish daily Aftonbladet.The attack is most probably a response to the recent upswing in attention to the artist.

According to Swedish news agency TT, the arson attack against Vilks’ Skåne residence took place last Saturday at 11 a.m.  The windows had been broken and someone had thrown in bottles containing gasoline. A smaller fire burned the façade of the house. 
At the time of the arson attack Vilks was not inside his home but in town doing some shopping.  He was contacted by his neighbors who told him that his house was on fire.

The same evening the Skåne police arrested a 21-year-old man from Landskrona who is suspected of the crime. On Sunday another man, aged 19, now known as the brother of the 21-year old, was arrested under suspicion of taking part in the plot.

Lars Vilks has, due to the threats against him, been forced to leave his house. This once again shows us that in Sweden it is currently very dangerous to talk about—not to mention criticize—Islam. It also shows us that Sweden is a country where radical Islamists are running loose, capable of committing crimes in name of Islam. 

Arson seems to be on the rise in the Swedish county of Skåne. Similar arson attacks have taken place on several occasions against the Jewish community in Malmö as well as in Helsinborg. The extreme and sometimes violent racism of the Muslim community in Malmö has led to the departure of a significant part of the town’s Jewish community. The Jewish population of Malmö has been heavily reduced  in recent years, as Jews no longer feel safe there. Arson is also part of the daily routine in Malmö’s Rosengård neighborhood, where a majority of the residents are immigrants.

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