Lars Vilks, Cartoonist who drew Prophet Muhammad Dies in Road Accident

Lars Vilks

A traffic accident resulted in the death of Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who painted Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body.

Near the town of Markaryd in southern Sweden, Vilks was driving a civilian police vehicle that collided with a truck.

As well as the truck driver, two police officers died.

After receiving death threats over his cartoon, the 75-year-old artist lived under police protection.

In 2007, a cartoon depicting the Prophet of Islam offended many Muslims who viewed it as sinful. The cartoons were published one year after a Danish newspaper published prophetic cartoons.

Place where Lars Vilks died
Place where the accident took place. – Reuters

Initially, no one else seemed to have been involved in the collision, police said in a statement.

A police spokesperson told news agency AFP that “this is being investigated like any other traffic accident. Due to the involvement of two policemen, an inquiry has been assigned to a special section of the prosecutor’s office.” It was not believed foul play had been involved, the spokesperson added.

A local media report describes Vilks’ police car as travelling at high speeds.

An eyewitness told the Aftonbladet newspaper that the car Vilks was driving lost control and ploughed over to Vilks’ side of the street at high speed. He said they hit in a loud bang at “incredible speed” because the truck in front didn’t have time to swerve.

Following the accident, there was a large fire that required the assistance of many emergency vehicles.

Having caused outrage with his 2007 cartoon, Vilks met with 22 Muslim ambassadors to resolve the situation, leading then-Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to meet with them.

A reward of $ 100,000 (£ 73,692) was offered by Al-Qaeda in Iraq shortly after.

During a free speech debate in Copenhagen in 2015, a gunman opened fire on the crowd. Vilks was one of those who were wounded. A film director was killed in an attack that might have been targeted at him.

Vilks is most notable for his cartoon depicting Muhammad as a dog, but he was also a painter and activist who worked on art installations.

He erected a driftwood sculpture without permission in a nature reserve in southern Sweden, which triggered an extensive legal battle.

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