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Artist who angered Muslims not home when arsonists hit

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Arsonists on Saturday attacked the home of Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, whose depiction of the prophet Mohammed in 2007 sparked numerous threats against him.

The facade of the building was lightly damaged, a police spokeswoman told SR radio. Neither Vilks, nor anyone else was in at the time of the incident at the house in a secluded part of southern Sweden.

The artist became the subject of repeated threats in 2007, when he depicted the Muslim prophet as a dog.

Last week, Vilks was attacked during a public lecture at Uppsala University. Vilks said a man leapt up from the front row of the lecture hall and head-butted him on Tuesday.

An Iraqi-based group said to be linked to al-Qaida placed a bounty of $100,000 on his head in August 2007, after his caricature was published in a local newspaper.

Earlier this year, seven people were arrested in Ireland on suspicion of plotting against Vilks, while a woman was charged in the United States with conspiring to commit acts of terrorism in connection with an alleged plot to murder him.

In neighboring Denmark, cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has also been targeted over his depiction in January of Mohammed wearing a bomb in his turban.

The 74-year-old alerted police when a Somali man, armed with an ax and knife, stormed into his house, shouting that he was seeking "revenge" and "blood."

Westergaard's cartoon was one of 12 images published in September 2005 by Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. The cartoons outraged many Muslims and sparked violent protests worldwide in early 2006.

Artist who angered Muslims not home when arsonists hit 05/15/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 15, 2010 10:22pm]
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