Muhammad Cartoonist Assaulted
Swedish artist Lars Vilks was assaulted Tuesday as protesters interrupted his lecture about the limits of free speech. Vilks first angered the Muslim community for his 2007 cartoons of Muhammad as a dog. On Tuesday at a lecture at Uppsala University the uproar occurred after he showed an Iranian film that depicts the Prophet entering a gay bar.
A man jumped from the front row and head-butted Vilks breaking his glasses but leaving him uninjured. Police were forced to detain or pepper-spray some unruly members of the crowd as other protesters yelled “Allahu Akbar” – “God is great.”
Depictions of Muhammad and the reaction from some in the Muslim community has been a contentious issue as threats of violence have resulted and have some times muzzled free speech.
- Last month, Comedy Central edited a South Park episode in response to threats by a New York-based Muslim group Revolution Muslim.
- Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art pulled a collection of art of Muhammad to avoid offending Muslims.
- Brandeis University professor Jytte Klausen says that Yale University Press prohibited her from using several 2005 Danish newspaper caricatures depicting Muhammad with a bomb on his head in her book “The Cartoons That Shook the World.”
- Vilks was recently the target of a plot to kill him by the American dubbed Jihad Jane.
Vilks feels this is a point of principle and even though he sleeps with an ax beside his bed and his house is booby trapped, he continues to stand for free speech.
“This must be carried through. You cannot allow it to be stopped,” he told the Associated Press, saying he wouldn’t hesitate to give the address again.
Unfortunately it seems this extremism is having an effect as Comedy Central edited the South Park episode and Uppsala University said they would “not likely” invite Vilks again because of the incident even though Vilks would like to give the lecture a second time.
The irony that is some accept the threats under the guise of free speech and political correctness, while condemning those that offend, thus resulting in censorship.