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One of Lars Vilk's works that got a new home after the canceled book fair in Gothenburg. Lars Vilk's works are so popular with the public that he rarely had any in stock, but at state and municipal museums he is sparsely represented. Photo: Nya Tider

Accident or assassination? Swedish cartoonist dies in car crash

Lars Vilks, famous Swedish cartoonist has died mysteriously in a car accident. In 2010, American Colleen LaRose, also known as Jihad Jane, was charged with attempting to recruit Islamic terrorists to assassinate Vilks.

Published: October 5, 2021, 12:16 pm

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    Markaryd

    There are circumstances that may lead to a reassessment of the fatal accident.

    A week before the fateful day when Lars Vilks died in what appears to be a tragic traffic accident, journalists from the Swedish weekly Nya Tider wanted to visit him.

    Nya Tider first met Vilks when Jan Sjunnesson introduced him in connection with the free book fair the newspaper had tried to arrange in Gothenburg after Nya Tider was excluded from the regular book fair. After foul play from the Gothenburg police and the municipality, only a small event for a number of selected guests could be held.

    In a suite at Park Aveny Hotel, artists and journalists met: Dan Park, Jan Sjunneson, Katerina Janouch, Rasmus Dahlstedt, Sverigebilden and Nya Tider editors Vavra Suk and Sanna Hill participated. Lars Vilks arrived wearing a large cap as a disguise. However, a trained eye could detect that the foyer was full of plainclothes police officers.

    A few weeks before Lars died, he was interviewed for an article about the proposed art exhibition he and Dan Park would participate in at Poland’s Museum of Modern Art.

    He was very happy about it, since it would have been the first major international show he would participate in since 2007. After drawing the Prophet Mohammed with a dog’s body in 2007, Vilks had received death threats and was placed under police protection. His home was firebombed and he was attacked in 2010.

    Lars said that he had not been able to imagine the reactions that followed the publication of his drawings in 2007. Since then, he had lived under constant death threats, but not until 2010 did he receive constant bodyguard protection.

    In 2010, American Colleen LaRose, also known as Jihad Jane, was charged with attempting to recruit Islamic terrorists to assassinate Vilks. At the same time, seven people were arrested in Ireland for a conspiracy to murder him. Taimour Abdulwahab cited Lars Vilks as one of the motives for his failed bombings on Drottninggatan. Two Muslim brothers were also arrested for trying to set fire to his house.

    The same year, Lars was attacked during a lecture at Uppsala University by Muslim thugs, and it was repeated at Karlstad University in 2013.

    When Lars visited an art exhibition in Gothenburg in 2011, three Muslims criminals were arrested outside, armed with knives. However, they were acquitted in both the district court and the court of appeal and received damages totaling SEK 395 000.

    An attack took place in 2015 against the Krudttönnen culture house in Copenhagen, where Lars participated in an event. Filmmaker Finn Nørgaard was killed and three policemen were injured, but Lars escaped unharmed after about thirty shots were fired.

    In addition to being a self-taught artist, Lars took a doctorate in art theory and had been a professor in both Stockholm and Bergen. Despite the death threats and insults, Lars always remained positive even when he had to live without his companion of 35 years.

    His vehicle is said to have veered into the wrong lane at high speed for reasons that have not yet been clarified, and as a result it collided with a truck. Both vehicles caught fire. At first it was said that two police officers and a guard had died. Then it became public that the third victim was Vilks himself.

    The truck driver, a 45-year-old man, survived the accident. He was already questioned by the police at the hospital.

    At a press conference on Monday, the Swedish police announced that a tire explosion could have been the cause of the accident. There were no indications of an attack, according to the head of the regional investigative body, Stefan Sintéus. However, it could not be ruled out either.

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