Swedish Cartoonist Attacked Over Mohammed Cartoons

A cartoonist who drew “controversial” Mohammed cartoons that appeared in Swedish newspapers was attacked by Muslim extremists while giving a presentation at one of Sweden’s most prestigious universities:

Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist whose sketch of the Prophet Muhammad enraged many Muslims, was head-butted today while giving a lecture about freedom of speech.

Vilks, who depicted the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog in 2007, said he was assaulted by a man sitting on the front row as he spoke at the University of Uppsala, about 70 kilometers from Stockholm.

A spokesman for the Uppsala police said about 20 people tried to attack Vilks after interrupting his lecture, adding that the police had to intervene to stop them. Two people were detained.

Here’s the video:

Perhaps the most distressing thing about this story is that it has received so little coverage in the American media, where concern for freedom of expression in the face of religious extremism seems to be completely non-existent these days.

Even more outrageous, is the fact that Uppsala University, where the incident took place, has reacted to the attack by telling Vilks that he’s no longer welcome to speak there:

Officials said they would “not likely” invite Vilks again because of the incident. In some quarters, the university’s reponse is adding to concerns that violence and threats from some members of the Muslim community are effectively muzzling free speech.

(…)

When it comes to depicting the Prophet, this has nothing to do with social issues or integration,” says Professor Klausen. “This is about a political movement by sectarian groups where [depicting Mohammed] has now become a primary trigger for political contention. The university pretty much told [Vilks] to shut up and go talk somewhere else, and I find that reaction very dangerous and problematic. It means that the extremists have achieved what they wanted.”

Vilks, however, remains defiant even after the attack:

While Vilks escaped the incident with broken glasses and a bit of a shock, he said it raised concerns about the freedom of expression at Sweden’s oldest and most prestigious institute of higher learning.

“What you get is a mob deciding what can be discussed at the university,” Vilks told The Associated Press, adding he was ready to repeat the lecture if re-invited.

“I’m ready to go up again,” he said. “This must be carried through. You cannot allow it to be stopped.”

Good for him, at least someone still have some courage out there.

Perhaps he needs to go to work for Comedy Central.

H/T: Hot Air

FILED UNDER: Europe, Islam, Media, Religion, World Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. TangoMan says:

    Officials said they would “not likely” invite Vilks again because of the incident.

    If people, or society, are not willing to fight for what they believe while their opponents are willing to fight for their beliefs, how do the submissive, but multiculturally sensitive, people think this is going to work out in the long run?

  2. Drew says:

    “Perhaps the most distressing thing about this story is that it has received so little coverage in the American media, where concern for freedom of expression in the face of religious extremism seems to be completely non-existent these days.”

    Oh, I don’t know. It gets about as much coverage as the bullying that occurs at an Ann Coulter speaking engagement.

    If I didn’t know any better I might think the media has selective outrage based on politics, not principle.

    If I didn’t know any better, you see.

  3. Geez, that video is distressing. Especially so in that many in the crowd seemed to cheer it on. This really is a clash between freedom and intolerant mysticism.

  4. Steve Plunk says:

    Along with Coulter we could add Horowitz as someone who now needs personal protection when speaking on campuses across America. The universities both here and abroad have lost perspective on this issue.

    It’s time the world understood more clearly what intolerant Islam will do to our societies.

  5. The Q says:

    Yes, Mr. Plunk and Mr. Austin you right wingers are oh so tolerant.

    I remember well the anti censorship wingnuts growling and defending academic freedom when Professor Ward Churchill was fired by Colorado State because of all the intolerant “liberals” demanding his head.

    Oh, sorry, its ok to fire and destroy someone’s academic career if he dares criticize the magic W.’s flawed policies.

    Keep writing your hypocritical trash.

    You two are no different than those moronic Islamists in Norway with your holier than thou defense of speech…except when you don’t agree.

  6. Franklin says:

    A few hundred years ago the Catholic Church would have lopped off your head for some similar affront to Jesus. Much of the Islamic world is behind the times, for sure, but the question is what do we do about it?

    They need to be assimilated into a modern, tolerant worldview, like most Muslim Americans are (and before any of you ignorami speak up, I know plenty having grown up near Dearborn, MI). I don’t have a proposal for how to accomplish this, but it sure seems like having drones bomb wedding parties doesn’t really help a whole lot.

    All that said, it’s pretty depressing how little regard Europeans have for freedom of speech. It’s also sad that people are bent on blanket insults of other people and religions.

  7. Franklin says:

    By the way, the Islamization of Europe is an interesting subject – at some point I’d like to see Joyner or Schuler tackle it, perhaps some expose on Geert Wilders or something.

  8. TangoMan says:

    I remember well the anti censorship wingnuts growling and defending academic freedom when Professor Ward Churchill was fired by Colorado State because of all the intolerant “liberals” demanding his head

    This is a misfire of epic proportions. Churchill was fired for falsification, fabrication and plagiarism in his research. He was investigated by his colleagues, likely with nary a conservative within 100 miles of these investigators. He was judged by university administration. He disputed the actions taken against him by his employer in a court of law and the judge and jury found against him.

    No one physically attacked Churchill, no one threatened his life. His critics were engaged in free speech by criticizing his 9/11 related speech. Churchill erred by making outrageous statements and thereby drawing attention to himself when he knew that his position at the university would be at stake if his fraud was uncovered. No one paid the man any attention until he chose to seek the spotlight. If he had remained quiet on the 9/11 atrocity then it’s quite likely that no one would have uncovered his fraudulent activity.

    If Muslim protesters wish to speak about their feelings regarding depictions of Mohammad, that’s fine. No one is seeking to deny them the right to speak.

    Conservatives, defenders of Enlightenment Values, are right to condemn Muslims who attack people, they’re right to criticize university administrators who give in to threats of violence. The problem here is not with conservative values or Enlightenment Values, it’s with the Left’s embrace of their new values.

  9. Drew says:

    I don’t know who “Q” is, but Tango just stuffed a turkey up his ignorant, uh, ……….

    And how did poor charles austin get roped in? Maybe “Q” needs to exit his opium den for a moment.

  10. Steve Plunk says:

    Mr. Q,

    I wonder what is intolerant about speaking out against intolerant Islam? Has person become a bigot when they speak of others injustice? Have I or Mr. Austin assaulted anyone? Do we use slurs of any kind? Do we squelch the speech of others or just counter that speech with our own ideas? Your statement has no basis in fact.

    I’d rather not chase rabbits like Churchill but I can’t resist pointing out he was fired for academic malfeasance after his university investigated his work. He was a fraud from top to bottom. He claimed to be American Indian yet was not. He abused his position and was an all around dirt bag in my opinion. Oops, I called someone a name.

    Now come back when you got something of value.

  11. TangoMan says:

    All that said, it’s pretty depressing how little regard Europeans have for freedom of speech. It’s also sad that people are bent on blanket insults of other people and religions.

    If you reject the validity of blanket insults then you need to find a way to reconcile tolerance for the belief that an apostate from Islam shall be killed for their rejection of that faith while still condemning killing that occurs in non-religious situations. Death for apostates is a fundamental tenet of Islam, and all major schools of Islam adhere to this belief. Do any Christian faiths call for death to their apostates?

    I have no problem with making a blanket declaration that people who adhere to a belief system which calls for apostates to be killed are not people who should be welcomed in our society.

  12. The Q says:

    Mr. Plunk, Drew and Mr. Tman,

    Of course as we all know the conservatives out there all were outraged by his plagiarism and quasi Indian lineage right?

    Its like everyone was complaining about Capone being a tax cheat…forget about the gambling, loan sharking, whoring and rum running.

    I dare you to find me ONE quote from a conservative who was outraged by churchill’s plagiarism and not his inflammatory views on 911 at the time and not after he had come into public whipping by the wingnuts for his viewpoints and not his professional conduct.

    Again, you guys come off sounding like they were out to get Churchill for not failing to properly footnote his research and not the real issue; stifling his right to criticize Bush.

    After he was “outed” the long knifes came out and he was destroyed.

    Please spare me your unctuous rebuttals that he was fired for academic reasons…the pressure was ratcheted up for his scalp by the Limbrains and O’reillys out there and you know it.

  13. Drew says:

    “Please spare me your unctuous rebuttals that he was fired for academic reasons…the pressure was ratcheted up for his scalp by the Limbrains and O’reillys out there and you know it.”

    You gotta teach me that mind reading thingy sometime, Q.

    I’m 50. I’ve known of Churchill for a long time. He’s been a known fraud for a long, long time.

    Go take another toke.

  14. The Q says:

    Drew,

    Lets say you’re right (which would be a first), then why didn’t you or any of your idiot cohort petition for his dismissal based on this fraud.

    It was only after his comments that this became an issue and you know it.

  15. TangoMan says:

    Please spare me your unctuous rebuttals that he was fired for academic reasons…the pressure was ratcheted up for his scalp by the Limbrains and O’reillys out there and you know it.

    I fear that you’re creating some weird conceptions surrounding free speech rights. No one is arguing that the exercise of free speech should be free of consequences. Churchill exercised his right to speak freely and his critics sought to make him accountable for his speech. Leftists do this regularly. See Senator Lott’s remarks at the 100th birthday party for Senator Thurmond. See Governor Allen’s remarks during his campaign. All these people were held accountable for their speech. Are you now going to argue that leftists were wrong to criticize Lott and Allen for their remarks and to seek to make them accountable for said remarks?

    The issues here are a.) violent directed to suppress speech in the immediate environment and the long-run environment, and b.) an institution established on the idea of free speech being enlightening siding with the suppressors of speech who use violent tactics to suppress speech and c.) blaming the victim of an attack for bringing the attack on himself.

  16. Franklin says:

    Death for apostates is a fundamental tenet of Islam, and all major schools of Islam adhere to this belief.

    The above statement was largely true, but chinks in the armor have appeared over the last century or two with many Muslim scholars (and basically all of the ones living in the West) rejecting that tenet. None of my Muslim friends accept it, but if you want to make a blanket rejection of them, so be it; your fellow posters on this board have noticed that is your nature.

    There’s nasty but similar stuff in both the Koran and the Old Testament. Islam will evolve just like Judaism and Christianity have. The main problem is that they’re procreating like mad, which can be stunted by getting their women educated. Again, how we accomplish this, I’m not sure. But deliberate antagonization doesn’t change the demographics a bit.

  17. TangoMan says:

    The above statement was largely true, but chinks in the armor have appeared over the last century or two with many Muslim scholars (and basically all of the ones living in the West) rejecting that tenet. None of my Muslim friends accept it, but if you want to make a blanket rejection of them, so be it; your fellow posters on this board have noticed that is your nature.

    Here’s a question for you to ponder: Can a person call themselves a Democrat if they consistently vote for Republicans and reject Democratic Party policy platforms?

    There’s nasty but similar stuff in both the Koran and the Old Testament. Islam will evolve just like Judaism and Christianity have.

    Nasty stuff in Christian and Jewish religious practices has been purged out of contemporary understandings of these faiths. Not so with Islam. Your assurances on the religious reformation of Islam are not persuasive. That’s just wishful thinking on your part. Islam has been coexistent with the post-Enlightenment world for about four centuries and it’s (various major schools) shown no inclination towards replicating the religious and civil reforms that took place in the West. If not in four centuries, then when? Why the delay before and why now the promise?

    The main problem is that they’re procreating like mad, which can be stunted by getting their women educated.

    Those who show up for the future, shall inherit the future. If the West can’t be bothered to keep up in terms of population with the Islamic world, why do you think that Enlightenment values will take root and lead to reform in the Islamic world? Clearly, from the perspective of those in the Islamic world, a case can be made that such reforms lead to civilizational diminishment.

    Again, how we accomplish this, I’m not sure.

    How colonial/oppressive of you to presume that it is up to the West to accomplish the goal of reducing the birth rate in Islamic lands. Are those people not capable enough to solve their own problems or manage their societies as they best see fit?

    But deliberate antagonization doesn’t change the demographics a bit.

    Who’s the protoganist in your sentence? Islam or the West?

  18. G.A.Phillips says:

    Oh, sorry, its ok to fire and destroy someone’s academic career if he dares criticize the magic W.’s flawed policies.

    lol, academic career????????

    Islam will evolve just like Judaism and Christianity have.

    Dude what?
    Here is a clue, you don’t have any idea what your talking about.

    Islam is only gaining power and new weapons be glad the your friends are not true believers, lol thats if their not.