Kurt Westergaard on the left and Lars Vilks on the right in a 2014 photograph (Copy in Archive from Vilks’ blog)
According to a Swedish police statement, the police vehicle in which Vilks and two officers were travelling collided with a truck in the vicinity of Markaryd, both vehicles caught fire, killing the cartoonist and the two policemen.
Attack in 2015
On 14 February 2015, a shooting took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, during an appearance at a cultural centre by the French ambassador to Denmark, François Zimeray, where he was speaking about Islamism and freedom of expression and paying tribute to Charlie Hebdo magazine. The ambassador survived the attack.
It appears that he was a single individual was responsible for the shooting of dozens of people attending a debate on freedom of expression and blasphemy.
Lars Vilks, author of the July 2007 one of the so-called “Muhammad cartoons” depicting him as a dog, who has been under police protection ever since, was at the event and also survived the attack. Everything pointed to the cartoonist as the main target. The result of the attack was one dead, documentary filmmaker Finn Norgaard, and at least three seriously injured.
A few hours later, another shooting occurred in the vicinity of the most important synagogue in Denmark’s capital, a man was shot in the head and two policemen were wounded.
100.000 dollars for his head
Vilks had already been in the spotlight in 2010 when he told on his blog (vilks.net) about receiving death threats and by extension the other cartoonists of the Muhammad cartoons in a defacement of his website.
In 2012, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, then leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, gave offered 100,000 dollars to anyone who killed the cartoonist.
In 2008, Al Qaeda carried out a car bomb attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing four people
This attack was a response to cartoons of Muhammad, the most representative of which was by the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard (1935-2021), which depicted Muhammad wearing a bomb for a turban. This cartoon, along with 11 others, which were published in 2006 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, was the beginning of the so-called “Muhammad cartoons” case.