Lars Vilks, 75, an artist who sparked international controversy in 2007 after a newspaper published his drawing of the prophet Mohammed as a dog, died in a traffic accident outside of Markaryd
Image: BJORN LINDGREN / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock)
The Swedish artist, who controversially drew a picture of the prophet Mohammed as a dog, was killed in a car accident.
Lars Vilks, 75, was driving a police car when the vehicle collided with a truck at around 3:30 p.m. outside Markaryd in Sweden on Sunday 3 October at around 3:30 p.m.
The artist has lived under police protection since the picture was drawn in 2007.
According to a Swedish newspaper Quickdraws, The vehicle was on the wrong side of the road at the time of the accident.
Vilks and the two policemen in the car were all killed.
In one opinion, said the Swedish police: “There was an accident on the E4 outside Markaryd on Sunday afternoon when a civilian police car and a truck collided.”
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“It was with dismay and great sadness that I received the news that our two colleagues and our security personnel had died this afternoon.”
“The investigation into the police action in the accident is now being led by a prosecutor from the Special Prosecutor’s Office, as the accident involved police officers,” they added.
While the statement states that “for the time being there is nothing to suggest that anyone else was involved,” the police are investigating the cause of the clash.
Vilks had been the target of terrorist attacks after a newspaper, Nerikes Allehanda, published the blasphemous drawing in 2007 with the headline “The right to ridicule religion”.
This sparked controversy around the world, with protests erupting in a number of Muslim countries and leaders publicly condemning the artwork.
Ambassadors from Muslim countries met with then Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to calm tensions.
The Swedish artist has since been on the hit lists of al-Qaeda and ISIS, with al-Qaeda putting a $ 100,000 bounty on his head.
In February 2015, Vilks was speaking at the Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression event in Copenhagen when gunmen opened fire and killed one person.
He was believed to be the main target of the attack, which killed a film director and injured three police officers.
There have been a number of attacks on his life since the controversy.
In 2010 two men were arrested in Ireland for trying to murder the artist, and the notorious American terrorist Colleen LaRose, known as “Jihad Jane”, was also arrested for planning to murder him.
She had traveled to Sweden to murder him but was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2014 after the unsuccessful plan.
Vilks was also the target of the Somali Islamic group Al-Shaabab, which threatened his life in a video.
In September 2011 three men were arrested on suspicion of murdering Vilks in a terrorist attack in Gothenburg.
According to local newspapers, the police had both a helicopter and a dog handler searched on Sunday.