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Lars Vilks and Ulf Johansson have joined the illustrious ranks of infidels such as Kurt Westergaard and Theo Van Gogh, as well as vile apostates like Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali: there’s a price on their heads.
An Islamic bounty on Mr. Vilks and the editor of Nerikes Allehanda has been announced in punishment for the publication of a Modoggie.
According to this AP story, Al Qaeda in Iraq is offering big money in return for the murder of the two men:
Al-Qaida: Bounty on Swedish cartoonist
The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq offered money for the murder of a Swedish cartoonist and his editor who recently produced images deemed insulting to Islam, according to a statement carried by Islamist Web sites Saturday.
In a half hour audio file entitled “They plotted yet God too was plotting,” Abu Omar al-Baghdadi also named the other insurgent groups in Iraq that al-Qaida was fighting and promised new attacks, particularly against the minority Yazidi sect.
“We are calling for the assassination of cartoonist Lars Vilks who dared insult our Prophet, peace be upon him, and we announce a reward during this generous month of Ramadan of $100,000 for the one who kills this criminal,” the transcript on the Web site said.
The al-Qaida leader upped the reward for Vilks’ death to $150,000 if he was “slaughtered like a lamb” and offered $50,000 for the killing of the editor of Nerikes Allehanda, the Swedish paper that printed Vilks’ cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a dog’s body on Aug. 19.
I don’t know what “slaughtered like a lamb” refers to here — perhaps the bonus is for cutting Mr. Vilks’ throat.
Vilks said from Sweden he believed the matter of his cartoons had been blown out of proportion.
“We have a real problem here,” Vilks told The Associated Press by telephone. “We can only hope that Muslims in Europe and in the Western world choose to distance themselves from this and support the idea of freedom of expression.”
I’ll agree with part of that: we can only hope.
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Ulf Johansson, editor in chief of Nerikes Allehanda, said he took the bounty “more seriously” than other threats he had received. “This is more explicit. It’s not every day somebody puts a price on your head.”
Johansson said he had contacted the police and that they had already started work on the threat.
Aside from a few scattered protests and condemnations by Muslim countries, the reaction to the cartoon has been muted, in contrast to last year’s fiery protests that erupted in several Muslim countries after a Danish newspaper published 12 cartoons of Muhammad that were reprinted in a range of Western media.
Reaction to the Modoggies has been “muted” because the ball is only just beginning to roll. If you recall, the Motoons were published on September 30, 2005, but it wasn’t until January 2006 that Muslim mobs began burning things and killing each other. The first Modoggie didn’t hit the MSM until August 22nd, less than a month ago.
Al-Baghdadi added in his message that if the “crusader state of Sweden” didn’t apologize, his organization would also attack major companies.
That’s the big question: will Sweden stand firm, as Denmark did? Or will its government officials kneel before the Hosts of Mohammed and say how really, truly sorry they are?
“We know how to force you to retreat and apologize and if you don’t, wait for us to strike the economy of your giant companies including Ericsson, Scania, Volvo, Ikea, and Electrolux,” he said.
As pointed out before, that strategy failed miserably with Denmark, and it will fail with Sweden, too. Swedish readers are invited to start listing Swedish products appropriate for purchase by Counterjihad sympathizers. Personally, I prefer edible delicacies or adult beverages…
Update: The Local has additional information:
Responding to the threat on his life, the caricaturist was characteristically defiant.
“I suppose this makes my art project a bit more serious. It’s also good to know how much one is worth,” said Vilks.
But he also added that he was taking the threat seriously.
“Of course you can’t just brush off an organization like this. I’m not that irreverent. I’ll have to look over my shoulder when crossing the street,” he said.
Having already received a number of threats via e-mail and over the telephone, Ulf Johansson has also been on his guard since the publication of the controversial cartoon.
“The police have already contacted me and I’m going to stay in touch with them. I have received various types of threat but none have been so explicit. This is a direct death sentence,” said the editor.
Further Update: CG sends along this translation from the Swedish, quoting Lars Vilks’ further reaction:
Jaså, inte mer än 100.000 dollar, jag trodde det var 200.000. Det är trevligt att veta vad man är värd.
“Yes well, no more than 100,000 dollars, I thought it was 200,000. It is nice to know what you are worth.”
Isnt that just a nice salute…? I like this guy, even though he is a leftist…
Hat tips: RF (for the AP) and CG (for the Local).
For previous posts on Lars Vilks and the Roundabout Dogs, see the Modoggie Archives.