Swedish Artiste Lars Vilks, Living Under Police Protection Since Depicting Muhammad, Dies In Car Crash

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Lars Vilks, the Swedish conceptual artist, whose drawings depicting Muhammad (regarded by Muslims as their last prophet) with the body of a dog sparked outrage, has died in a car crash.

In 2015, Vilks survived a gun attack at a free-speech conference in Copenhagen that left a Danish film director dead. In 2014, a woman from the US state of Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in a plot to kill him.

In 2011 he was the intended victim of an attempted terror attack at the Gothenburg Book Fair. In 2010 he was headbutted by an audience member at a lecture he gave in Uppsala. In another incident in 2010, two men tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden.

Lars Vilks, the Swedish conceptual artist, whose drawings depicting Muhammad (regarded by Muslims as their last prophet) with the body of a dog, has died in a car crash.

The accident occurred near the small town Markaryd when the car Vilks was travelling in crashed into an oncoming truck. The car, which had left Stockholm and was heading south, veered into the path of the truck and both vehicles burst into flames. Two police officers were also killed in the accident.

“This is being investigated like any other road accident. Because two policemen were involved, an investigation has been assigned to a special section of the prosecutor’s office,” a police spokesperson told AFP, adding that there was no suspicion of foul play.

Vilks was living under police protection since 2010, when a sketch he made in 2007 of Mohammed with a dog’s body. sparked outrage among some Muslims. Al-Qaeda had offered a $100,000 reward for Vilks’ murder. Muslims regard any depiction of Muhammad as blasphemous.

Vilks always maintained that his sketch of Muhammad was a reference to the rondellhundar, or “roundabout dogs”, a street art trend that arose in 2006 and saw anonymous people place home-made sculptures of dogs in the centres of roundabouts across Sweden.

In 2015, Vilks survived a gun attack at a free-speech conference in Copenhagen that left a Danish film director dead. In 2014, a woman from the US state of Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in a plot to kill him.

In 2011 he was the intended victim of an attempted terror attack at the Gothenburg Book Fair. In 2010 he was headbutted by an audience member at a lecture he gave in Uppsala. In another incident in 2010, two men tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden.

Vilks, who had a long career as an artist known for provocative pieces, including a driftwood palace built in Kullaberg nature reserve on the coast of northwest Skåne, which sparked a decades-long legal tussle between the artist and authorities.

Also Read: Kurt Westergaard, Danish Illustrator Behind Muhammad Cartoon That Sparked Deadly Violence Worldwide, Dies At 86

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