Fire bombing of his home, break-in to his web site and Facebook threats follow an Uppsala lecture attack on Lars Vilks.
Assaults intensify on Swedish Muhammad satirist.
By the end of the weekend, two men were under arrest in connection with a firebomb attack at the home of Lars Vilks, the controversial Swedish artist whose characterization of the prophet and founder of Islam's face on an animal's body - published back in 2007 - has recently evoked widespread Muslim denouncements and death threats.
One of the suspects, a naturalized Swedish citizen from Kosovo, was arrested in Landskrona, about 40 miles from Vilks home in the village near Höganäs. His suspected accomplice was arrested closer to Vilks home, in Helsingborg.
Windows in the simple frame house were broken, a curtain was burned, bottles filled with gasoline were found in the yard, but the tossed Molotov cocktail did little damage to his home. The 53-year-old Vilks was not present at the time, and the damages were not discovered until the following morning.
However, only two days previously, Vilks web site was hacked by presumably other assailants who removed his lengthy life history as an artist and replaced it with an intimidating message and threats that appeared whenever people visited the pages. “We really never stop hacking your site and I will show you how can I hacking your computer,” warned the cyber-vandal who had broken into Vilks Internet presentation.
Prior to that Wednesday, a Facebook group that called for Vilks murder was broken apart by the social network site's management and forced to remove threats of death from their discussions.
Calling the attackers "amateurs," Vilks insisted that he was unshaken by either incident, although he said that he would have alarms installed in his home, live elsewhere for the time being and take other precautions. He was placed under special around the clock guard by Swedish security police following previous threats.
Earlier in the week at a lecture that he delivered in Uppsala, angry members of the audience had attacked him during a crowd incident that neared mob rule after the artist projected a series of retouched photographs which portrayed Muhammad and others on the bodies of men who were interacting with one another in a gay bar scene.
Vilks glasses were broken by assailants from the audience, he was head-butted in the chest and shoved into a wall before police could begin to subdue the attackers. The turmoil lasted between police and auditorium spectators for over an hour as officers used pepper spray to ward off the crowd's heated, vociferous assaults. Three of the five arrested suspects were later released, but two remained facing charges relating to offenses that left two police officers with minor injuries.
Egypt, Iran and Pakistan lodged diplomatic level protests against his drawings, which also lead to the arrest in March of Colleen LaRose, an American woman who dubbed herself "Jihad Jane." She was arrested during collaborations with a seven member Irish-based terrorist cell to undertake Vilks' assassination. The terrorists were subsequently arrested by Irish authorities, and in an American court, LaRose has pleaded guilty and faces life imprisonment.
Reported sums varied from $100 thousand upward for Vilks' murder. However, the largest sum of blood bounty, $150,000 promised in Sept. 2007 by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, an Al Qaida leader in Irak, seemed in doubt of being collectible any longer. During an attack earlier this month by Iraqi and American forces, the rebel leader was killed along with Al Qaeda's senior leader in the country, Abu Ayub al-Masri.