Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lars Vilks Assaulted During Lecture on Freedom of Expression in Art

Lars Vilks is a Swedish artist who had the audacity to portray the prophet Mohammed as part-dog, part-human. Since then, has lived under death threats from radical Muslims. Yesterday the artist was violently attacked during his lecture on “Where to Draw the Line: Freedom of Expression in Art”.

The lecture hall was filled to the last spot with eager students, journalists and others who had come to Uppsala University to hear Vilks speak about the boundaries of artistic expression. The lecture, as reported by the local newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning, started off calmly, but the atmosphere became increasingly aggressive when the artist started to show a movie which contained sexual content.

The full movie of the attack with english subtitles:

Just shortly after the lecture started, a man who was sitting in the front row charged Vilks and head butted the artist. The two men fell to the floor and two additional men jumped on Vilks. The three attackers struck Vilks a number of times before several police men who were present at the lecture were able to separate the attackers from the artist.

According to Solvei Oleberg from the Uppsala police, the situation had been close to chaotic. She further reported to the Swedish Radio (Sveriges Radio) that two police men had been injured during the attack.

Although the attackers were removed from the lecture hall, the atmosphere remained tense and aggression was then directed against the police. It took some time before the hall was emptied.  What remained were the artist’s broken glasses as well as a hand gun, reported as probably belonging to one of the policemen.

According to an interview with Swedish Agency TT Vilks stated the initial attacker was part of a group who were trying to disturb the lecture. Lars Vilks also stated that he is not really injured, only bruised. 

Sadly, the attack on Vilks shows us that freedom of speech in Sweden—especially when the subject is Islam or Muslims—comes at a price. It also shows that while the Jews  often are the ones to be attacked first, as can be seen in the case of Malmö, they are never the last.

Unfortunately, there are no surprises here as this assault is just one more lawless incident in Sweden. This latest violent episode is part of the continuing deterioration which includes Anti-Semtitic hate crimes, gang murders and arson in Rosengård- Malmö, as well as known cases of Islamist terror recruitment in Göteborg. No one needs a crystal ball to see that this won’t be the last violent act we will see from the anti-democratic forces which are increasingly forcing their will in Sweden.

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