Swedish cartoonist returns to place of attack

Swedish cartoonist returns to place of attack

Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who in 2007 sparked controversy with a drawing of Prophet Mohammed, has been reinvited to speak at Uppsala University, where he was attacked two weeks ago.

“The department (of philosophy) has reached a wise decision. Lars Vilks must be allowed to hold his lecture,” Uppsala University vice-chancellor Anders Hallberg said in a statement Tuesday.

“Violence and threats of violence cannot be allowed to silence people, not on campus or elsewhere,” the university added in the statement.

On May 11, Vilks was holding a lecture at Uppsala University’s philosophy department, when he was head-butted by a man while others shouted and attempted to attack him.

Police evacuated the lecture hall but some demonstrators resisted forcing officers to use tear gas. Two people were arrested.

Vilks’ attack occurred as he was showing a film by an Iranian filmmaker, depicting two homosexuals disguised as Mohammed, Swedish media reported.

Uppsala Univeristy was criticised in many Swedish newspapers for not showing enough support to Vilks after the attack and for initially refusing to reinvite him.

The university said Tuesday Vilks had accepted the invitation and that it would hold a new security assessment before holding the lecture.

Four days after he was attacked at the university, Vilks’ house in the south of Sweden was targeted in an arson attack.

In 2007, Swedish regional daily Nerikes Allehanda published Vilks’ satirical sketch to illustrate an editorial on the importance of freedom of expression.

The drawing prompted protests by Muslims in the town of Oerebro, west of Stockholm, where the newspaper is based, while Egypt, Iran and Pakistan made formal complaints.