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Friday, 1 October 2010

Freedom of expression: Lars Vilks on Canada, US trip

Mohammed drawn as a dog by L. Vilks.
Lars Vilks, a conceptual artist from Sweden with a $100,000 bounty on his head, could be found secreted away in a room at the Rittenhouse Hotel Thursday morning, receiving carefully screened visitors from the media.

Vilks is on a weeklong tour of the United States and Canada, speaking about freedom of expression. He had been scheduled to hold forth at the Union League Thursday, but late Wednesday, the event was abruptly called off.

Craig Snider, a Union League member who was hosting the speaker, said that after he realized the visit would require extraordinary security measures to protect Vilks, his associates, and anyone in attendance, "I voluntarily canceled it. I was not prepared to ask the league to take that kind of risk."
Instead, he invited members of the local media to interview Vilks at the Rittenhouse.

The artist's appearance in Ottawa was also called off, but, as of Thursday, stops in Toronto and Boston were still scheduled.
He says he has no regrets after drawing a series of sketches of Mohammed as a dog. But there is a fatwa who offers $150,000 if he is killed with a knife and $100,000 if any other method to kill him is used.

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