Face of the day

Today’s face of the day has had his life changed forever because of a drawing. A drawing that frankly looks like a child drew it.


I am no art critic but even as a cartoon it doesn’t impress. The offence and push back in reaction to this drawing is obscene in its intensity and violence. Last Saturday an Islamic terrorist in Denmark almost succeeded in ending the artist’s life. Who is this man that now has to lives his life under constant threat of death because of a drawing?


Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks has faced death threats for many years

Lars Vilks:

  • June 1946: born in Helsingborg, Sweden
  • 2007: Stoked controversy when he drew a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog which were published in a number of Swedish papers
  • Sept 2007: $100,000 bounty placed on his head by then leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq
  • March 2010: Seven Irish citizens arrested over separate plots to kill Vilks: US woman Colleen LaRose, aka Jihad Jane, also arrested and later jailed for 10 years for conspiracy to commit murder
  • May 2010: Assaulted by Muslim protesters during a lecture about free speech at Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Sept 2011: Three men arrested in Gothenburg, Sweden, for plotting to kill Vilks
  • March 2013: Placed on “most wanted” list By al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
  • Feb 2015: Gunmen attack event on blasphemy, art and freedom of expression organised by Vilks at the Krudttoenden caf? in Copenhagen, Denmark

Lars Vilks stoked controversy in 2007 by drawing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad dressed as a dog.

In 2010 two brothers tried to burn down the cartoonist’s house in southern Sweden and were imprisoned for attempted arson.

Satirists targeting Islam have been in the spotlight since the January attacks in France, when 17 people were killed in separate incidents over a three-day period.

Following Saturday’s incident in Copenhagen, a columnist for Charlie Hebdo who narrowly escaped the Paris shootings said it was necessary to “fight fascism at all costs”, reported the AFP news agency.

“We are all Danish tonight,” added Patrick Pelloux, adapting a slogan used about Charlie Hebdo following the Paris attacks.

A message from French President Francois Hollande’s official Twitter feed expressed solidarity with Denmark’s prime minister.

Cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad were published by a Danish newspaper in 2005, sparking deadly riots in some Muslim countries.


I do not want to live in a country where a drawing of a religious leader as a dog is considered so provocative that the artist is threatened and murdered.

I do not want to live in a country where fear of Islam silences our media.

In New Zealand our Media are already too afraid to publish Charlie Hebdo political cartoons for fear of offending Islam. I cannot imagine that any of them will publish the image we have published of Lars Vilk’s, Muhammad as a dog sketch.

How long will it be before our artists, our cartoonists, our bloggers and our political activists are threatened and killed for exercising their freedom of speech?

How many of our artists, cartoonists, bloggers and political activists will have the courage to keep being the canary in the coal mine, risking their lives for the greater good?

Israel have been sounding the alarm forever. Why must we wait until what is happening in France, Canada, America the UK and Denmark is happening here before we realise that we are at war?