Swedish artist Lars Vilks is now confined to his house following an al-Qaeda bounty was placed on his head after he drew the prophet Mohammed with a dog’s body:

Vilks, who was whisked away by police when he returned to Sweden from Germany on Sunday, said he was staying at a secret address after security police described the threats against him as “very serious”.

“Police guard was nonexistent before this. It’s 100% now,” he said in a telephone interview. “I can’t live in my home, I’ve only been allowed to pick up some things.”

A $150,000 reward has been offered for anyone who slits Vilks’ throat, with a mere $50,000 offered for the editor who accepted the cartoon, although the US millitary says the “al Qaeda leader” who offered the bounty is a non-existent character.

The Algerian ambassador to Sweden has lodged a formal complaint and actions are threatened against such Swedish firms as Ericsson, Volvo and IKEA.

“Sweden is an asylum country, one that welcomes people. There are more than 500,000 Muslims living here in peace, in tranquillity,” [Ambassador] Bedjaoui said. He stressed however that he disapproved of the decision to publish the cartoon. “I’ll remind you that freedom of the press does not give you the freedom to insult,” he said.


  1. That’s not a fatwa. A fatwa is a legal opinion provided by a qualified Muslim jurist. That’s just a good old fashioned bounty on his head.

  2. I don’t know if this was a mjaor factor, but publishing this cartoon right at the start of the holy fasting month was probably not the best timing…if there IS good timing for this sort of thing.

  3. Not to mention that the proliferation of these cartoons, in the name of “press freedom’ is just a manifestation of growing European Islamophobia, alongside the increasing prohibitions against granting building licenses for mosques and the rise of far-right groups. There is an agenda, and it’s not ‘press freedom’. I see these cartoons as a call by political and cultural conservatives against increasing immigration. I think it’s a pity that editors who publish these cartoons are trying to antagonize when they should be outreaching towards moderate Muslims.

  4. @Tinpan: The thing is, that these “new” drawings were part of larger exhibition of works the cartoonist had done through several years. And it had been on dispaly in other galleries before the media latched on to them.

    This has nothing to do with closing the borders, or what have you. This has to do with the fact that people have discovered that certain groups of religious people wants the right to stop the society from insulting them. What proponants of free speech are saying is that if you disagree with an expression, you should meet that expression with arguments and debate, not by burning embassies and by threatening to kill people or calling out for laws against it.

    Besides, it’s moderate Muslims that should be reaching out if they really don’t want to be associated with these medieval representatives from their religion.

  5. Muslims Against Sharia praise the courage of Lars Vilks, Ulf Johansson, Thorbjorn Larsson and the staff of Nerikes Allehanda and Dagens Nyheter and condemn threats issued by Abu Omar Al Baghdadi and the Islamic State of Iraq. Muslims Against Sharia will provide a payment of 100,000kr (about $15,000) for the information leading to capture or neutralization of Abu Omar Al Baghdadi.

    Muslimer mot Sharia berömmer Lars Vilks, Ulf Johansson, Torbjörn Larsson och övriga anställda på Nerikes Allehanda och Dagens Nyheter för deras tapperhet och fördömer hotet från Abu Omar Al Baghdadi och Islamistiska Iraq. Muslimer mot Sharia betalar 100 000 SEK (ca 15 000$) för information som leder till gripande eller oskadligörande av Abu Omar Al Baghdadi.

    Muslims Against Sharia

  6. the cartoon was bad! In context and artistery!
    If my religion were to be insulted, I’d want someone like Dave McKean to do it, not some talentless “cartoonist”. At least it’d look good.