Swedish cartoonist “Mohammad” Lars Vilks killed in car crash


STOCKHOLM, October 4 (Reuters) – Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who sparked worldwide controversy in 2007 with drawings depicting the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog, was killed on Sunday in a car crash near the southern town of Markaryd, police said.

Vilks, 75, who had been living under police protection since the drawings were published, was traveling in a police vehicle which collided with a truck. Two policemen were also killed.

“This is a very tragic incident. It is now important for all of us that we do everything possible to investigate what happened and what caused the collision,” Swedish police said in a statement on Monday.

“Initially, there is no indication that anyone else is involved.”

View of a scene after a car-truck accident in which three people died, including Swedish artist Lars Vilks, outside the town of Markaryd in Sweden on October 3, 2021. TT News Agency / Johan Nilsson via REUTERS

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Most Muslims regard any portrayal of the founder of Islam as offensive.

Since the publication of the cartoons, Vilks had been living under 24-hour police surveillance following threats to his life. He got a bounty on his head and his house was set on fire.

In 2015, one person was killed in Copenhagen, Denmark, during a meeting to mark the 25th anniversary of an Iranian fatwa against British writer Salman Rushdie, which Vilks attended.

Vilks was widely seen as the intended target.

Vilks had said the cartoons were not meant to provoke Muslims, but to challenge political correctness in the art world.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm, editing by Simon Johnson and Timothy Heritage

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