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Lars Vilks attacked during lecture

Artist Lars Vilks, who caused controversy by drawing cartoons that depicted the prophet Muhammad as a dog, has been attacked while giving a lecture at Uppsala University.

Lars Vilks attacked during lecture

Vilks, who has been the subject of numerous death threats, was attacked while speaking at the university’s philosophy faculty on Tuesday afternoon. He was not badly hurt.

“The man was sitting in the front row and suddenly came rushing towards me. He headbutted me, and I was thrown against the wall and dropped my glasses,” he said.

According to local newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning, the atmosphere in the lecture theatre became rowdy after Vilks showed a film with sexual content.

“A crowd of people pushed forward. When a police officer tried to stop them he was hit. As things stand, two people have been arrested,” said police commander Tommy Karlsson.

Vilks was taken to a secure location following the attack.

“I have not been injured, just a bit knocked about,” he said.

Vilks became notorious in parts of the Muslim world for portraying the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a roundabout dog.

The publication of the drawings in the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper led to death threats from a number of organizations, including an al-Qaeda-affiliated organization which offered $150,000 for his murder. Vilks was consequently forced to accept police protection.

An alleged plot to kill Vilks was revealed in March: American Colleen R. LaRose was charged with trying to recruit terrorists to murder the artist. At the same time, seven people were arrested in Ireland over a plot to kill Vilks, although four of those detained were later released.

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BREAKING

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

Prosecutors in Sweden are now treating the murder at the Almedalen political festival as a terror crime, with the country's Säpo security police taking over the investigation.

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

In a press release issued on Monday evening, the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the 32-year-old attacker, Theodor Engström, was now suspected of the crime of “terrorism through murder”, and also “preparation for a terror crime through preparation for murder”. 

Engström stabbed the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren last Wednesday as she was on her way to moderate a seminar at the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland. 

Although he was a former member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, police said his motive seemed to be to protest against Sweden’s psychiatry services, who he felt had treated his own mental illness badly. 

The release gave no details as to why the 32-year-old was now being investigated for a more serious crime, but terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told the Expressen newspaper that the shift indicated that police had uncovered new evidence. 

READ ALSO: What do we now know about the Almedalen knife attack? 

“The new crime classification means that they’ve either found a political motive for the attack which meets the threshold for terrorism, and that might be a political motive for murdering Ing-Marie Wieselgren,” he said. “Or they might have discovered that he was scouting out a politician, or another target that could be considered political.” 

Engström’s defence lawyer said last week that his client, who he described as disturbed and incoherent, had spoken in police interrogations of having “a higher-up target”. 

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