Muhammad cartoonist Lars Vilks reportedly dies in automobile crash | Sweden

The Swedish artist Lars Vilks – who has lived below police safety since his 2007 sketch caricaturing the prophet Muhammad introduced demise threats – has died in a automobile crash, in keeping with a number of Swedish media reviews.

The newspaper Dagens Nyheter stated the artist’s companion confirmed his demise, and the Swedish information company TT stated police had confirmed that Vilks, 75, was travelling within the automobile with two law enforcement officials, who additionally died. In keeping with police, a civilian police automobile and a truck collided and caught fireplace on Sunday afternoon outdoors Markaryd. The truck driver was taken to hospital, and the reason for the collision was below investigation.

In 2015, Vilks’s presence was a central characteristic of the Copenhagen terror assaults: he was the star speaker at a free speech occasion at a restaurant the place an Islamist gunman opened fireplace, killing a movie director and wounding three police earlier than going to a synagogue and killing a volunteer guard.

Nationwide Police Chief Anders Thornberg stated: “It’s with dismay and nice unhappiness that I obtained the information that our two colleagues and our safety individual died this afternoon. My ideas go to family, households, associates and associates.”

Stefan Sintéus, head of the regional investigation unit chargeable for private safety within the area, stated: “That is an especially tragic occasion. Now it’s important for all of us that we do every thing we are able to to seek out out what occurred on the website and what prompted the collision.”

Vilks was largely unknown outdoors Sweden earlier than his drawing, which depicted the prophet Muhammad’s head on the physique of a canine. At dwelling, he was greatest identified for constructing a sculpture fabricated from driftwood in a nature reserve in southern Sweden with out permission, triggering a prolonged authorized battle. He was fined, however the seaside sculpture – a jumble of wooden nailed collectively in chaotic vogue – attracts tens of 1000’s of tourists a yr.

In September 2007, Vilks had a $100,000 bounty positioned on his head by an al-Qaida faction in Iraq in response to his drawings.

In 2010, Swedish newspapers reprinted the controversial cartoon after two Muslim males have been arrested and subsequently charged within the Republic of Eire in reference to an alleged plot to homicide Vilks.

The scene after an accident between a automobile and a truck on Sunday outdoors the city of Markaryd in Sweden. {Photograph}: IBL/REX/Shutterstock

Since then he has obtained quite a few demise threats and has lived below fixed police safety.

In 2013, an American girl who referred to as herself Jihad Jane was sentenced to 10 years in jail for plotting to kill him.

The Lars Vilks committee gave its freedom prize to Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical journal, in October 2014 – three months earlier than the terrorist assault on its Paris workplace.

Gerard Biard, the journal’s editor-in chief, who obtained the prize in Copenhagen, survived the assault as a result of he was in London on the time.

After the Charlie Hebdo assault, Vilks stated that even fewer organisations have been inviting him to provide lectures amid elevated safety issues.

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