Swedish artist Lars Vilks under death threats, speaks today in Toronto

Lars Vilks- 'Muhammed in Traffic Circle'

Lars Vilks- 'Muhammed in Traffic Circle'

UPDATE: IFPS-Canada, Nov 25/10: How do events get shut down? Let us count the ways…

Lars Vilks is a Swedish artist who drew a picture of Mohammed on the body of a dog serving as the centre of the world as symbolized by circling traffic.

For this he has been assaulted by Muslims, his house set on fire, and is under a death threat with a $100,000 bounty with a $50,000 bonus if he’s killed with a knife.

  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct 01/10: Swedish artist, his Philadelphia speech on freedom canceled by threat, meets with media [REPRINT]
  • David Horowitz Center, Oct 02/10: Lars Vilks, Artist, Hero of the Free World [REPRINT]
  • Michael Coren Show, Oct 01/10: Lars Vilks & Lars Hedegaard

Lars Vilks in North America

Lars Vilks in North AmericaA group of organizations worked to bring Vilks to North America: the Danish Free Press Society; the David Horowitz Freedom Center; Ottawa-based Free Thinking Film Society; and the Canadian chapter of the International Free Press Society, IFPS-Canada.

Vilks was scheduled to appear in Philadelphia, Boston, Ottawa and Toronto along with author Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society and International Free Press Society. The International Free Press Society defends those who are persecuted and tormented for exercising their right to free speech, and brought Vilks here to honour him as their ‘International Free Press Day Artist’ just as they did for Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard last year. IFPS-Canada also sponsored Ann Coulter’s visit earlier this year. The Ottawa presentation of her tour was cancelled due to threats.

Lars Vilks in Toronto, Canada – TODAY

There are still some seats available for Vilk’s presentation in Toronto today, Oct 03/10. Details:

Lars Vilks in North America
Toronto Zionist Centre
788 Marlee Avenue, Toronto  M6B 3K1  
(just West of Allen Road & Lawrence Ave. W. [MAP] )
$20 per person
How to register: Send email to toronto@ifpscanadaevents.com with full names of all those for whom who want seats. 

Lars Vilks in the United States – CANCELLED DUE TO THREATS

With the exception of today’s appearance in Toronto, all of Vilks’ appearances have now been canceled due to security threats:

  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct 01/10: Swedish artist, his Philadelphia speech on freedom canceled by threat, meets with media [REPRINT]

VoiceofCanada invited to share Caledonia info tonight

I am pleased to be attending this evening’s presentation and have been invited to bring literature regarding the attacks on freedom of speech in Caledonia should organizers decide to set out a table for handouts.

VoC Comment

I had no particular interest in publishing the various Mohammed cartoons or offending Muslims just as I had no particular interest in going to jail for raising a Canadian flag in Caledonia before the police arrested a resident there for the same ‘crime’ with 3 more to follow, including Gary McHale, Randy Fleming and me’ 

But, now that the intimidation by Islam radicals has reached the shores of North America (and has been here for some time) it is the duty – I believe – of every media outlet, every journalist, every blogger, every activist who espouses the doctrine of civil liberties to take a stand to defend freedom of speech, not just for Lars Vilks, but for the people in Canada and the United States who worked to help him take a stand against Islamic extremism. And, I think that duty includes publishing what others who hate and threaten violence do not want published.

Going ‘Ghost’ in the face of evil

The Washington Times carried an editorial noting that the FBI used every resource at its disposal to defend civil rights of blacks with the help of courageous journalists who put their lives at risk to expose the injustice. Today, however, the best the FBI can do for the originator of the ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ is to tell Seattle Weekly’s cartoonist Molly Norris that she to go into hiding because it couldn’t protect her. Meanwhile, key journalism associations refuse to speak out.

[…] Instead of telling the rest of us that we’re all bigots, shouldn’t Kristof and the rest of the journalism profession be outraged by what has happened to Molly Norris? And shouldn’t they be angered that her government believes it cannot protect her? Imagine what they would be saying if white-hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan were threatening to kill Norris in Selma, Ala., instead of radical Muslims in Seattle. Would the FBI tell Norris she had to stop being a journalist and go into hiding? And would ASNE and SPJ look the other way as the First Amendment and freedom of the press were symbolically turned to ashes by flaming white crosses?

The reality is that the FBI fought the KKK at every turn, including when it threatened brave Southern newspaper editors who stood up against racism and violence. And from the start, journalists were prominent figures in the civil rights movement, courageously reporting the truth about the crushing stranglehold of segregation on life and liberty across the old South, often at risk of their very lives. It’s time the present generation of American journalists found the same brand of courage many of their fathers showed in the 1960s.

  • Washington Examiner, Sept 20/10: Government and journalists cower at threats to cartoonist [REPRINT]

Lessons from Dr. King & the Little Rock Nine

Perhaps the best response to those naive cowards who would deny us our precious freedom of speech comes from Dr. Martin Luther King in his April 16/63 ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ which he wrote to explain to well-meaning clergy why he was not going to stop his protests out of fear of violence by white racists:

180px-martin_luther_king_-_march_on_washington.jpgIn your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn’t this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn’t this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because his unique God-consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to God’s will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.

Dr. King’s magnificent manifesto for freedom of expression from the Birmingham jail, great as it was, came more than 5 years AFTER President Eisenhower called out the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army to protect 9 black children who were ‘provoking violence’ because white racists didn’t want them attending a white school.

Let us use the fullest extent of the law and media scrutiny to punish all the robbers who try to steal from us our precious freedom of speech, whether they be Native extremists, Islamic extremists or police officers in Caledonia, Deseronto, Ottawa, Philadelphia or Boston. Thank you to the courageous sponsors, the Toronto Zionist Centre and, of course, to Messrs. Vilks and Hedegaard.


Mark Vandermaas, Editor

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