Controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who made a sketch with the Prophet Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body, has died in a car accident together with two policemen. Vilks had been under police protection since he 2007 made the controversial sketch.
Vilks was together with the two policemen travelling in an unmarked police car that collided with a truck close to Markaryd in the south of Sweden. Both cars took fire and the truck driver was seriously wounded and is hospitalized.
A spokesman for the local police told broadcaster SVT, the car with Vilks and the two policemen had been on the wrong side of the road.
Vilks, who was 75, made his sketch a couple of years after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten had published Kurt Westergaard’s Muhammad cartoons. Vilk’s cartoon also offended Muslims as all visual presentation of the Prophet are seen as blasphemous. Al-Qaeda in Iraq was reported to have offered USD 100 000 reward for Vilks murder.
In 2015, Vilks participated in a debate about free speech in Copenhagen that was attacked. Vilks said he was probably the target of the attack. He was not wounded but the attacker shot and killed a film director who also participated in the debate.
Vilks was always controversial and in decade long controversy with Swedish authorities about a construction made mainly out of driftwood called Nimis and built in a nature reserve where such a construction was forbidden. However, his construction has been both very controversial and popular. Some have tried to burn it down but have enjoyed it as the audience can also participate in the piece of art by climbing around in the construction.