Woman admits threatening Swedish artist over prophet cartoons
(AP) A Muslim woman could face charges after admitting that she sent death threats to a Swedish artist who made a series of drawings depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog, police said Wednesday.
The woman, who was not named, admitted under questioning that she had threatened Lars Vilks in telephone calls and e-mails, said Hakan Lund, a police spokesman in Helsingborg, southern Sweden.
“She threatened him with death. She didn’t say she would do it herself, but that she’s encouraging like-minded people to do so,” Lund said.
Vilks’ drawings have angered Swedish Muslims, especially after a local newspaper printed one of them in an editorial criticizing Swedish art galleries for not displaying the sketches.
Islamic law is interpreted to forbid any depiction of the prophet for fear it could lead to idolatry.
Lund described the woman as a “devout Muslim” but said there were no indications that she was part of any militant network. He said she was originally from the former Yugoslavia.
“She feels insulted and it seems she just wasn’t able to bite her tongue on this,” Lund said.
The woman could face fines or up to one year in prison for unlawful threats. Lund said he would hand the case to prosecutors, who would decide whether to press charges.
Vilks told Swedish news agency TT that the woman said he would be “slaughtered,” and that she had “brothers in al-Qaida.” Vilks did not answer phones calls seeking comment Wednesday.
Nerikes Allehanda’s Aug. 19 publication of Vilks’ cartoon drew protests last week from Iran and Pakistan, and from Swedish Muslim groups who demonstrated peacefully outside the paper’s offices in Orebro, 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Stockholm. The Swedish Muslim Federation has said it will sue the newspaper for inciting hatred against ethnic groups.
Last year, violent protests broke out in Muslim countries after Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published drawings of the Prophet Muhammad, including one that depicted him wearing a turban shaped as a bomb.
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