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BACK DOOR BOY IN A FRONT DOOR WORLD
OUTSIDE OF SOCIETY - THAT'S WHERE I WANT TO BE
Artist defiantly draws Prophet Mohammed HOGANAS, Sweden (CNN) --… 
16th-Oct-2007 01:44 pm
Artist defiantly draws Prophet Mohammed
HOGANAS, Sweden (CNN) -- Swedish artist Lars Vilks says all he's doing is taking a stand in the name of artistic expression. But because of that stand, on this afternoon he's lying low -- on the ground, in fact -- looking for bombs under his car.

Al Qaeda has put a $100,000 price on his head and offered an extra $50,000 for anyone who murders him by slitting his throat after the eccentric artist and sculptor drew a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a dog.

"I don't think it should not be a problem to insult a religion, because it should be possible to insult all religions in a democratic way, " says Vilks from his home in rural Sweden.

"If you insult one, then you should insult the other ones."

His crude, sketched caricature shows the head of Prophet Mohammed on the body of a dog. Dogs are considered unclean by conservative Muslims, and any depiction of the prophet is strictly forbidden.

Vilks, who has been a controversial artist for more than three decades in Sweden, says his drawing was a calculated move, and he wanted it to elicit a reaction.

"That's a way of expressing things. If you don't like it, don't look at it. And if you look at it, don't take it too seriously. No harm done, really," he says.

When it's suggested that might prove an arrogant -- if not insulting -- way to engage Muslims, he is unrelenting, even defiant.

"No one actually loves the truth, but someone has to say it," he says.

Vilks, a self-described atheist, points out he's an equal opportunity offender who in the past sketched a depiction of Jesus as a pedophile.

Still one could argue Vilks should have known better because of what happened in Denmark in 2005, when a cartoonist's depictions of the prophet sparked violent protests in the Muslim world and prompted death threats against that cartoonist's life.

Vilks' cartoon, which was published in August by the Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda, hasn't reached that level of global protests, although it has stoked plenty of outrage.

Muslims in Sweden demanded an apology from the newspaper, which has stood by Vilks on his freedom of expression stand. Pakistan and Iran also lodged formal protests with Sweden.

One Swedish Muslim woman who lives just an hour-and-a-half drive from Vilks said she hopes to make good on the al Qaeda threat and slaughter Vilks like a lamb.

"I can do this in the name of Allah, and I will not fail. I could slaughter him in the name of Allah," says the woman who identified herself only as Amatullah.

She adds, "If I get the opportunity."

Dressed in a black burqa from head to toe and uttering death threat after death threat, the woman -- a wife and mother -- says she is defending her religion and her prophet if she manages to kill Vilks.

Amatullah has already been fined for issuing death threats. Still, she claims she will never stop taunting him.

Swedish police, who declined CNN's request for an interview, have advised Vilks to abandon his home.

But the artist still works there by day and travels to a safe house by night. Vilks knows his defiance could get him killed, but he says his art is worth dying for.

As he sits at his computer, his phone buzzes with a text message. Another death threat has just come in, this one from Pakistan.

"I will kill you, you son a bitch," he reads.

There are hundreds of threats just like this one on his mobile phone, on his answering machine and in his e-mail inbox.

"You get used to it," he says. "It's a bit of hide and seek. It's like living in a film."
Comments 
16th-Oct-2007 05:55 pm (UTC)
Do we have any sort of copy of the explicit image?
16th-Oct-2007 06:19 pm (UTC)
I admire his conviction, but it will see him dead. It's a sad and pathetic commentary that someone would actually cut his head off over a sculpture.

I'm tired of religion and other corrupt, manmade systems of sky fairy worship being held out of reach of mockery and criticism without the idiotic response of unfounded violence.

Backwards troglodytes, if I could lock you all on an island I would. I would enjoy watching you improve the human genome by tearing each other to pieces over your intangible convictions.
16th-Oct-2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
Still one could argue Vilks should have known better because of what happened in Denmark in 2005, when a cartoonist's depictions of the prophet sparked violent protests in the Muslim world and prompted death threats against that cartoonist's life.

"She should have known better than to wear that short skirt and halter top - she was asking to get raped."
16th-Oct-2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
It is a real shame that his standing up to those mentally miniscule bullies will possibly land him dead, and just make more corporate gov't types act like pussies and cow tow to these assholes. Comedy Central should take notes, we are far too dictated by terrorist thugs.
17th-Oct-2007 02:42 am (UTC)
Sweden=modern country with limited state powers, guranteed protection of individual rights, separation of church and state and gender equality

Countries from which Al Quada comes=hellish totalitarian shitholes

thought you'd appreciate this liberal commentary.
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