Police officers try to protect Lars Vilks. Photo: Stockholm News

Controversial artist attacked in Uppsala

Sweden | 2010-05-11 | 23 comments
Stockholm News was present when the artist Lars Vilks was attacked today during a speech he held at Uppsala university. The theme for the speech was that "art can not be anything but cruel"

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Uppsala Nya Tidning has a film from the incident. You can watch it here.

Vilks is controversial after portraying Jesus and the Prophet Mohammed on animals’ bodies. He has also drawn an image of a Jewish person as a pig. A couple of years ago ha drew the Prophet Mohammed on a dog’s body which led to death threats from Muslim extremists.

Today’s speech was almost an hour delayed because of long queues and airport-like security measures. All bags were checked and bodies and clothes scanned with metal detectors. Already half an hour before the speech started; one could sense that something could happen. Some people screamed in a very aggressive way at Vilks when he went out to check the premises.

During the first minutes of the speech Vilks showed other controversial pieces of arts, for example a picture of Jesus on the cross, lowered in urine. He also talked about people in for example Poland who have been prosecuted for art that provocted religious people.

It was when Vilks started to show a film by the Iranian artist Sooreh Hera, where the Prophet Mohammed went to a gay bar that some people started to yell. After a couple of minutes one person ran to the stage and hit Vilks in the head. Then the turmoil started. Several people ran towards the stage and at least one more person managed to attack Vilks. Lars Vilks is not reported to be seriously injured. A police officer was also abused and two people have been arrested.

For a few minutes it was a bit chaotic before the police got a grip of the situation and asked people to leave. The rest of the speech could not be held. When that was announced, about 30-40 people started to cheer and sing, obviously happy that the meeting had been stopped. It was a shame for many reasons. Whatever one thinks about this kind of arts, the promised question time after the speech would have been very interesting.

Lars Vilks shortly before the attack. Photo: Stockholm News


Picture during the turmoil. Photo: Stockholm News

Picture during the turmoil. Photo: Stockholm News

Outside there were some demonstrators with placards. Photo: Stockholm News

Readers' comments

2010-05-19 22:02 Lisbeth wrote:
Who cannot take a joke about religion?
2010-05-16 11:46 Qamar Sajjad wrote:
It is nothing but a shortcut to fame or otherwise you call it notoriety. The best protest is ,if you donot like then either donot attend or leave. But isnot it astonishing that the world so rich in topics to dicourse upon has become barren and stale for artists like Vilks to tread on the already beaten track.
2010-05-16 10:28 andrey l wrote:
Yea thats what u get fool! i wish i was there to join. No you can not ignoe these fools. Thats how they got their rights now. Because everyone was ignoring their B.S.
2010-05-15 16:27 l wrote:
Normal reaction would be to avoid going to this sort of lecture. If I think that a voluntarily lecture in university is going to insult my worldview or intelligence, I don´t go in there. There are two things I really dislike about this issue: one is that people try to solve issues with yelling. In Europe, you really don´t win arguments by having the loudest voice or the most threatening gestures. The other irritating thing is the passivity of Swedish students. They looked like sheep.
2010-05-14 23:22 yahya wrote:
and if freedom of speech is so sacred and worthy then why denail of holocast is a crime in many of the euoropean countries.??hypocrites.
2010-05-14 23:20 yahya wrote:
this is not the case of freedom of expression.iam surprised how many people realte this nonsence to freedom and liberty..what sort of freedom allows you to show any sacred personality of any religion going to a gay bar??or paint them as animals..i think freedom question arises when this gentlemen treat his parents like that..that will be the case of freedom of expression.
2010-05-14 17:26 Johan wrote:
Are radical Muslims succeeding in muzzling free speech?
2010-05-13 05:18 akw wrote:
Robert, the point of the speech was not to insult Muslims. It was a speech on the need to protect freedom of speech, all kinds of speech. Everyone has the right to be insulted or offended, but they don´t have the right to not be insulted or offended. I´m Christian, and I hated the "piss Christ" display, but my remedies are to legally express my displeasure and/or to leave. Someone mocking my religious icon is not hate speech - it is free speech and I will defend the artist´s right to it.
2010-05-13 00:56 Gian Rinaldo Monaldeschi wrote:
I am Roman Catholic and I agree whit Muslims, Mohammed do not have to be insulted. In effect the pour swedes are mentally in late and because of the "cognatio"biologically not yet able to clear understand one religion,because they must become shorter and darker to get a more modern intelligence.and to carry out this job ,Muslims are the most adeguate.Lars Vilks show the real face of sweden,because almost 100% of islamics immigrants in sweden are serious and hard workers
2010-05-13 00:37 Alon wrote:
Shocking! As a Jew, I don´t mind what people say about Moses or Abraham, I just want people to respect me as a person. Those animals in the crowd are attacking a person for saying things about Muhamad.They need to learn to behave in society.Sweden,you have problems with those gangs of foreigners.
2010-05-12 21:54 Sojourner wrote:
The last time I was in Sweden was 1972. Your country has changed a great deal from it´s peaceful past. It was lovely then; but, no longer. I would never wish to visit the place again; it has been allowed to be overrun by third world mongrels. What an utter shame !!
2010-05-12 19:01 Lars wrote:
Swedes better wake up. Islam is violent. Kick this brute out of the country.
2010-05-12 13:08 mehrdad wrote:
it was a muslim who can not accept criticism. you can critisize all other religions and ideologies in the free world but when it comes to the ideology of islam (which needs criticism soo badly) there is a cencorship caused by fear in the heads of the people. the only right reaction would be that all western papers print this cartoons and demand an apology from the whole islamic ummah for not respecting the freedom of speech in the civilizied world!
2010-05-12 11:03 MacTurk wrote:
Robert, we either have free speech or we do not. There´s NO reason why any religion should be privileged, or given special immunity from "Insult". Equally, religion cannot be allowed to define "free speech". Who the hell do these people think they are? If they want to protest, fine, then outside. But to physical attack someone because basically they do not share your childish beliefs is intolerable. Defend free debate against obscurantism, otherwise we are going back to pre-Enlightenment times.
2010-05-12 10:30 Jimmy wrote:
Just imagine what could have happened if this film was for a jew??
2010-05-12 05:42 Robert wrote:
Just to be clear I´m not condoning the unacceptable behavior of those who instigated violence. The protesters should know that there are acceptable ways to voice ones displeasure and that violence is not acceptable. The author should likewise know that there are respectable and acceptable ways to make one´s point regarding the criticism of religious doctrine and that insulting a religion simply for the sake of offending people is not acceptable in a democratic society either.
2010-05-12 05:36 Robert wrote:
By deliberately insulting Muslims in this already charged climate the artist placed himself in danger. His behavior is reckless and is costing the state thousands of dollars to keep him safe. His cartoons only had one aim - to insult Muslims. He wasn´t making a statement or comment he was simply insulting Islam´s prophet so that he could get added publicity. Insulting people´s deep-felt religious beliefs is not free speech its hate-speech and no country should condone hate-speech.
2010-05-12 04:40 Ryan Davis wrote:
How sick can one be to call that art?? Of all the things you can possibly think of why choose to humiliate something that is sacred to millions?? Just dont get it
2010-05-12 04:36 M. Closterman wrote:
If an immigrant goes to live in a country that is diametrically opposite to everything they believe, what to you think will happen as their numbers grow?
2010-05-12 00:34 Swede wrote:
I hope that Sweden will not become like Holland with religious murders.
2010-05-12 00:19 wrote:
The situation in Sweden is actually utterly precarious. I have several blogposts here that show our threatened democracy:
2010-05-11 21:08 Lancelot wrote:
Look at the film! I think this behaviour is unacceptable. If they do not like his art, they can demonstrate outside or just ignore him (like I do).
2010-05-11 20:35 Joe Ben Avraham wrote:
From what I understand from friends of mine in Malmo, this is another example of the Islamification of Sweden. It seems that the radical Muslims will intimidate anybody and try to kill them too, as happened in Holland. You Swedes better wake up and make sure you enforce Swedish laws and educate Muslim Swedes that they too can only live in Sweden if they accept Swedish law, and that means allowing people you don´t agree with to voice their opinions. And not to attack them physically.

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