In a chaotic outburst, Swedish political cartoonist Lars Vilks was reportedly head-butted by a man
in Sweden. Vilks has been a target since he depicted the Prophet
Muhammad with the body of a dog in 2007. He also has a $100,000 bounty
on his head issued by Al-Qaeda. The threat political satirists face
from Muslim extremists was recently broached by 17 Pulitzer
Prize-winning cartoonists in a petition concerning a recent South Park episode.
The Washington Post's Michael Cavna recently reached out
to two cartoonists for their comment on the attack:
- Cartoons Don't Kill People, Fanaticism Does, says Signe Wilkinson of the Philadephia Daily News: "I send my sympathies to the European cartoonists who have born the brunt of this inexplicable lack of humor. I also send my sympathies to all the good-natured Muslims who get a bad name as a consequence of the bad actions of a few. And I am grateful that most of the Muslims in this country came, in part, for the freedom of expression they don't have in a lot of their home countries. They seem to get the fact that cartoons don't kill people -- crazy religious fanatics do."
- Stay Strong Vilks, says Ann Telnaes, who also signed that petition: "I send my sympathies to all the cartoonists who have been attacked and threatened. It is ironic that this assault on Lars Vilks happened at a university, a place where ideas and debates should be expressed freely."
- We Must Stand Up to the
Fanatics Gawker's Hamilton Noltan also weighed in:
"The fact that so many American media
institutions have caved into the imagined fear of such religious
fascists is shameful. If the free societies of the world can't stand up
for a person's right to draw a... cartoon without becoming the victim of
assassination plot, well, we lose."