Lars Vilks Muhammad Cartoon Controversy
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The Lars Vilks Muhammad cartoon controversy was ignited in 2007 when Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks published his cartoon of the head of the Prophet Muhammad on the body of a dog. Later that year, an al-Qaeda faction leader put a $100,000 bounty on Mr. Vilks's head. He was subsequently placed under permanent police protection.
On March 9, 2010, 'Jihad Jane,' as the Pennsylvanian convert to Islam Colleen LaRose dubbed herself, was indicted for helping recruit a network for suicide attacks and plotting to kill Lars Vilks. Seven Muslims were arrested in Ireland in connection with the alleged plot.
In response to the plot against Vilks' life, at least three Swedish newspapers published his controversial cartoon to take a stance for freedom of speech. 'A threat against him is, in the long term, also a threat against all Swedes,' one paper said.
On March 26, more than 200 Malaysian Muslim protesters gathered outside the Swedish embassy, calling on Sweden to take action against the newspapers who published Vilks' cartoon. The protesters burned a Swedish flag, as well as a picture of Lars Vilks, outside the Swedish embassy, chanting "Long live Islam" and "Down with Sweden" and carrying posters that read "Take some lessons from 9/11!!!" and "We fight for our prophet."
On May 11, 2010, Lars Vilks was attacked while delivering a lecture at Uppsula University. A man leaped from the front row and head-butted him breaking Vilks' glasses but leaving him uninjured. A video clip of the incident by a Swedish newspaper showed police using pepper spray and batons to hold off an angry crowd shouting "Allahu Akbar" after Vilks was escorted out of the lecture hall.
In December 2010, the first ever suicide bombing in Sweden was carried out by a Muslim in a central Stockholm district full of Christmas shoppers, killing the bomber and injuring two people. It was in reaction to Swedish troops in Afghanistan and Lars Vilks' drawings of Muhammad as a roundabout dog.
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- Murder, Mayhem & Self-Censorship - pdf - A timeline of reactions to images and descriptions of Muhammad
- Jonathan Adams - 'Jihad Jane' and 7 others held in plot to kill Swedish cartoonist - The Christian Science Monitor, March 10, 2010
- Swedish papers publish Prophet Muhammad drawing - Associated Press - ynetnews.com, March 10, 2010
- Malaysians protest over Muhammad cartoon - Associated Press, March 26, 2010
- Muhammad cartoonist 'head-butted' as protesters disrupt free-speech lecture in Sweden - Fox News, May 11, 2010
- Per Nyberg - Explosions in Stockholm believed to be failed terrorist attack - CNN, December 12, 2010
- Laura Roberts - Sweden reacts to first ever suicide bomb attack - The Telegraph, December 13, 2010