Lars Vilks attacked by muslims in Sweden

13 May

Firstly, don’t the Swedish police have the most adorable hats?

Here’s what I could figure out using online translators- which, admittedly, isn’t much. Lars Vilks is a Swedish artist who in 2007 attempted to show some sketches he’d drawn of Muhammad as a roundabout dog. Wikipedia has one of the images available which you can see below.

After several attempts to have the drawings exhibited (including a gallery at the university where he lectures) he was asked to illustrate an editorial on censorship and religion. This was one of those “Shit, meet fan” kind of moments. No less than 5 separate governments condemned Vilks, as well as the OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference) who wanted the Swedish government to put him jail.  Since that time he’s lived under police protection,  received numerous death threats and been the subject of more than one assassination attempt.

The video above was taken a few days ago, when Vilks gave a lecture on free speech at Uppsala University in Sweden which was broadcast on national television. During the lecture, he was attacked but suffered no serious injury.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the South Park episode ‘201’ and the death threats they received.  One of the comments posted a link to Draw Muhammad Day , an idea the original creator has apparently backed out of, for reasons that given the above video seem pretty clear. Maybe this seems more shocking than it should. While Australia doesn’t have any real legal protection for the right to free speech, there’s a general agreement that you can pretty much say whatever you like. Most people, most of the time would never come across a situation where this right is threatened.

I’ve thought about participating in Draw Muhammad Day, and I’ve tried to weigh up my options. On one hand, deliberately attacking somebody else’s religious beliefs just because you can seems a little childish. I don’t think there’ll ever be a Muslim who will look at a picture of their prophet on some website and suddenly say to themselves ‘You know what? They’re right, my religion is bullshit. I’m going to be an Atheist now. Thanks internet!”

On the other, this was not an instance of people attending a lecture and being surprised ( then offended) by it’s content. They went in order to be offended by it, which is no less immature. I don’t think they intended to actually kill him, but to send a message that they don’t approve of this sort of thing and will continue not to approve of it loudly until it stops completely.

Since this is the conclusion, one is expected to give a solution to the problem presented above. It is my opinion that there isn’t one. This issue is so deeply buried in emotion and cultural and traditional values that there is no logical case to present. Maybe in a few years when people start going to jail there will be, but in the meantime maybe double-check before you draw anything with a turban.


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