May 11 2010
Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who angered Muslims by depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog was assaulted as furious Muslim protesters interrupted his university lecture about free speech.
Lars Vilks told The Associated Press a man leaped from the front row and head-butted him as he was delivering his lecture at Uppsala University, breaking Vilks’ glasses but leaving him uninjured. Police later said the attacker was stopped before he could reach Vilks. Three people were detained, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether the attacker was among them.
A video clip of the incident by a Swedish newspaper showed police using pepper spray and batons to hold off an angry crowd shouting “God is great” in Arabic after Vilks was escorted out of the lecture hall.
Vilks has faced numerous threats over his controversial drawing of Muhammad with a dog’s body, but Tuesday’s incident was the first physical assault directed against him.
Earlier this year U.S. investigators said Vilks was the target of an alleged murder plot involving Colleen LaRose, an American woman who dubbed herself “Jihad Jane,” and who now faces life in prison. She has pleaded not guilty.
Vilks said a group of about 15 people had been shouting and trying to interrupt the lecture before the incident at the university in Uppsala, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) north of Stockholm. Some of them stormed toward the front of the room after the attack and clashed with security guards as Vilks was pulled away into a separate room, he said, describing the scene as “complete chaos.”
“A man ran up and threw himself over me. I was head-butted and my glasses were broken,” Vilks said before hanging up for questioning by police.
- Uppsala University spokeswoman Pernilla Bjork said Vilks was showing an excerpt from a film by an Iranian artist about Islam and homosexuality that had been banned from YouTube when the commotion started. “It was about when Muslims and Muhammad are represented in homosexual situations,” said Anders Montelius, a 23-year-old student who attended the lecture.
“Some people started shouting, things happened really fast. About 10-15 seconds later it erupts. A guy from the front row gets up and sets upon Vilks. Several others followed this man. There was commotion and police pepper-sprayed a couple of people,” Montelius told AP. “When the university person responsible for the lecture announced that the lecture was discontinued, there were cheers and chants in Arabic,” he said. BREITBART