Protection Racket: Lars Vilks asked for money for protection
Apparently, freedom of speech and liberal democracy is not worth anything to Sweden. From Gates of Vienna:
Regular readers are familiar with Lars Vilks, the Swedish artist whose whimsical depictions of the prophet (some prophet or other, not sure which) as a roundabout dog caused a ruckus that eventually resulted in fatwas and an international conspiracy to kill the blasphemous cartoonist.
In a way, Lars Vilks’ case is no different from that of other Swedes, especially if they are in Malmö or certain areas of Gothenburg. In the long run, all Swedes live under the threat posed by cultural enrichment, especially the Muslim variety. Mr. Vilks’ plight is simply more concentrated and immediate than what most citizens face.
The artist has reacted to his situation with his trademark wry good humor. But his life is in danger, so SÄPO, the state security service, has been providing protection for him.
However, protecting Lars Vilks is a costly business, and SÄPO insists that the artist or his supporters help pay for its services. Below is a report concerning this issue, which was posted today at the Trykkefrihedsselskabet (Danish Free Press Society) website. Many thanks to Kepiblanc for his speedy translation:
SÄPO demands money for protecting Lars Vilks
The uproar around Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks continues to raise dust. The Swedish Intelligence Agency (SÄPO) now demands “protection money” if he still wants them around.
By Uwe Max Jensen, May 7th 2010
Today the Swedish Mohammed cartoonist Lars Vilks was scheduled to lecture on art in Gothenburg’s Eriksberg Hall. But the event was canceled by the organizers. For monetary reasons, or so they claim.
The Swedish Intelligence Agency SÄPO has started to collect money in order to protect Vilks. In connection with the lecture in Gothenburg, SÄPO demanded the organizers pay 25% of the costs associated with the event’s security, which made Vilks a very costly lecturer.
SÄPO’s approach is just the latest action from official Sweden, which makes it increasingly cumbersome for him to work as an artist and lecturer. In the autumn of 2008 a major retrospective exhibition was canceled due to political interference.
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Meanwhile Lars Vilks hasn’t lost his courage. He suggests that rather than relying on SÄPO’s protection he can carry his axe and bring it with him to various lectures, and place it on the lectern alongside his laptop.
In Denmark Kurt Westergaard’s protection hasn’t yet been questioned by the authorities. There seems to be a political consensus to protect the cartoonist regardless of the costs. Nevertheless, in an editorial in the daily Information, an author by the name of Bent Vinn Nielsen argues that the daily Jyllands-Posten should have the “manly grit” to pay at least some of the 20 million kroner — the annual cost of Westergaard’s bodyguards — while radio anchor Huxi Bach advocates that Kurt Westergaard abandon his Viby residence where he was assaulted on New Year’ Day.
One of the most notorious features of the modern multicultural state is its pervasive failure to protect citizens from the depredations of violent immigrants who have been imported as a result of deliberate state policies. So, in a way, SÄPO is right — why does Lars Vilks deserve any better protection from violent thugs than does the average Swedish citizen?
You’ll notice, however, that the state has condescended to grant Mr. Vilks the right to hire his own armed bodyguards. Perhaps it would also allow the same privilege to Sven Svensson, but hiring gunsels is beyond the means of the average Swede. The man on the street is simply out of luck.
On the other hand, Sven might be able to scrape together the cost of a good handgun, which would give him the power to be his own bodyguard. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the government to grant him that right.
Sven will just have to carry an axe.
For previous posts on Lars Vilks and the Roundabout Dogs, see the Modoggie Archives.
Hat tip: TB.