Threats and Attacks
Following the publication in Nerikes Allehanda, the Swedish police raised the security level around the newspaper's headquarters and some of its employees have been forced to use bodyguards after receiving death threats. Vilks himself has also received several death threats. One Muslim woman in western Sweden has been arrested on charges of issuing a death threat (Swedish: olaga hot) against Vilks in an e-mail. The woman confirmed in police interrogation that she had written the mail and said that she did not have any regrets about it. On 6 September, one actual roundabout dog created by Vilks and local children was set alight as an apparent threat.
On 15 September, it was reported that the group Islamic State of Iraq had placed a bounty of at least $100,000 on the head of Lars Vilks and 50,000 dollars on Ulf Johansson, editor-in-chief of Nerikes Allehanda. The statement was found in an audio file on an Islamist website and was read by a person who identified himself as Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the purported head of the Islamic State of Iraq. "We announce a reward of $100,000 to anyone who kills this infidel criminal. This reward will be raised to $150,000 if he is slaughtered like a lamb," the statement said. The statement also threatened attacks on Swedish companies unless unspecified "crusaders" issued an apology. Vilks responded to the statement by saying: "I suppose this makes my art project a bit more serious. It's also good to know how much one is worth".
The United States-based SITE Institute has reported that websites run by militant Islamists have listed the names of over 100 Swedish companies with addresses, maps and logos. The websites called for their readers to boycott these firms and "take revenge" on Sweden for the publication of the drawings.
The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) and the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) both condemned the death threats against Vilks and Johansson. ECFR also said it planned to issue a "counter fatwa" against the threats.
The World Association of Newspapers (WAN), which represents over 18,000 newspapers around the world, issued a statement where it condemned the death threats and expressed support for Nerikes Allehanda in its right to publish the drawing.
Read more about this topic: Lars Vilks Muhammad Drawings Controversy
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