Muhammad cartoonist in hiding after arson attack
STOCKHOLM (AP) — A Swedish artist whose drawing of the Prophet Muhammad with a dog’s body angered Muslims said Sunday he doesn’t feel safe in his home at night, after a week of attacks against him.
Lars Vilks told The Associated Press he has started sleeping elsewhere since an attempted arson attack Friday against his home in Nyhamnslage, southern Sweden.
Earlier in the week, Vilks was attacked by a man as he gave a lecture at a university in central Sweden, and the following day his Web site appeared to have been targeted by hackers.
Vilks said he has decided to sleep elsewhere as a precaution, but doesn’t think there will be another attack against him right now because of increased police patrols.
“During the day I don’t think it is dangerous because I can keep watch over myself,” Vilks said. “But I have to realize that I can’t be there during the night.”.
The artist has faced numerous threats over his 2007 sketch. 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.
Swedish police arrested a 21-year-old man late Saturday and a 19-year-old man on Sunday on suspciion of the attempted arson attack. Earlier Saturday, they had found bottles filled with gasoline and minor fire damage to Vilks’ home. Several windows at the artist’s house had also been smashed. Vilks was not home during the attack.
Vilks drew his picture of Muhammad more than a year after 12 cartoons of the prophet in a Danish newspaper sparked furious protests in Muslim countries. Images of Muhammad, even favorable ones, are considered blasphemous by many Muslims.