10 Years for Plot to Murder Cartoonist

January 6, 2014

By Jon Hurdle

 

PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge on Monday sentenced a Pennsylvania woman to 10 years in prison for her part in a plan to murder a Swedish cartoonist whose images of the Prophet Muhammad offended Muslims.

The woman, Colleen R. LaRose, who used “Jihad Jane” as an online alias, pleaded guilty to four charges, including conspiring to aid terrorists and to kill a person in a foreign country, after she plotted with jihadists she encountered on the Internet to kill the cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who depicted the prophet atop the body of a dog.

Ms. LaRose, 50, of Pennsburg, Pa., near Philadelphia, went to Europe in 2008 with the intention of killing Mr. Vilks, but failed to meet up with the people who had encouraged the mission. She returned to the United States and was arrested after the plan was discovered.

Judge Petrese B. Tucker of United States District Court said Monday that she was satisfied that Ms. LaRose would have carried out the killing if she had made the right contacts.

The defendant, a slight woman of 4-foot-9 who wore green prison overalls and a black head scarf, made a six-minute statement to the court, admitting that she had been inspired to engage in jihad, or Islamic holy war, after seeing coverage of Palestinians “screaming and crying.”

 

NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/jihad-jane-given-10-year-prison-sentence.html

 

Vilks will speak at a Anti-Muslim Conference

August 7, 2012

 

Lars Vilks* will speak at a conference in New York on September 11, 2012. The organizer is the anti-Muslim organization SION (Stop Islamization of Nations). Its founder says to have inspired Anders Behring Breivik.  A representative of SION was recently in Stockholm to hold his first speech at “the first global meeting against Jihad and radical Islamism.”

 

According to Anna-Sofia Quensel, a researcher at EXPO (an organization which regularly reports on activities of the far-right extremists), SION has its roots in Denmark going back to 2005. Since then there have been a European and an American branch, but since the beginning of 2012 an international umbrella organization has been formed (SION).

 

”The organization is a part of the counter-jihad movement. Its members claim that an intricate Islamizing conspiracy is underway against the West. Among other things, they claim that a holy war is being waged against the West and our ideas,” says Quensel. It is from this milieu that Breivik retrieved much of his opinions. Robert Spencer, who is one of the initiators of SION, has been quoted over 150 times in Breivik’s manifesto, according to Quensel.

 

Quensel also points out that from the SION’s point of view, Lars Vilks is an important person. “He is often mentioned because he has been threatened for his drawings and installations. He will speak about freedom of expression and he is used as an example of what can happen and how freedom of expression is threatened.” According to her Lars Vilks is a figurehead for SION, and his presence at the conference will also put focus on Sweden. “He comes as one of those who has received death threats and will be used as such. It sends a signal to the entire movement that Lars Vilks actually shares their views so that becomes a powerful signal to the outside.” Moreover, according to Quensel, there is a great risk that Lars Vilks legitimizes the movement, regardless of his personal motives (to participate).

 

”This is anti-Muslim environment and a movement which is active in attempts to prevent an Arabic TV-channel’s broadcasting from the US. In this environment he (Vilks) chooses to speak about freedom of expression. Now, which signals this sends is a matter of interpretation,” says Anna-Sofia Quensel.

 

When DN (Daily News) contacts Lars Vilks he says that he is attending the conference to speak about his experiences. “This is above all a part of my art project where I include Al Qaida and Al-Shabab. When this organization (SION) contacted me they became a part of my project. They play a large role in the big drama about Islam, Muslims and fundamentalism.”

 

What does it mean for you that the organizers have expressed anti-Muslim views?

 

“They can have any opinion thet want in the name of the freedom of expression.”  Cannot see that I play any significance in their situation. I want to have insight of the movement and how they think.”

 

EXPO (a racism watchdog organization) is of the opinion that your presence there contributes significantly to the anti-Muslim movement and that they will use this event to advertize (their views). What is your view on that?

 

”It is free to have any opinion you like, we should protect that.”

 

Do you think that other people can interpret (your presence at the conference) as you legitimizing them (the anti-Muslim movement)?

 

“Sure, we have freedom to interpret things differently. I have been exposed to various interpretations, so I’m used to it.”

 

Are you not concerned that you might add to the wrong interpretation of your (work), something that you usually mention?

 

“No, you have to shoulder that risk when you do art which touches upon suh a delicate issue. I will most likely create more enemies, but I’m used to it. People who do not want any nuances will view things in black and white.”

 

You have received much attention. Do you see all of this as a PR-stunt?

 

”No I can’t say i do. I have already received much attention even before,” yas Lars Vilks.

 

Signed: Fredrik Lennander

 

 

* Lars Vilks is a Swedish artist. He is best known for his defamatory portrayal (street installation) of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. Vilks has characterized his own skill in the actual crafts involved in sculpture as quite limited, and although his artistic ideas can be seen as characteristic for his generation of Swedish conceptual artists, he has remained something of an outsider in the Swedish art scene for most of his career.

Tribute to Stockholm Suicide Bomber

17 Feb 2011

In its latest issue the jihadist magazine “Inspire” pays tribute to the Stockholm suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab. “That he lived a comfortable life and had a wife and children did not stop Taimour Abdulwahab from responding to the call to jihad (holy war),” Inspire wrote, adding, “We need more like him.”

“We are following this closely. It is a threat on an inspiration level,” says Malena Rembe of the Swedish Security Service (SÄPO), and states that it could be “an impetus for individuals who have already crossed the line between word and deed.”

The article continues, “the Swedes seem to have set out to show its dislike of Muslims and are eager to join the league of nations that are hostile to Islam and Muslims. This operation can serve as a reminder to the Swedish government and people to reconsider their position before their list of crimes against us are too long and it is too late.” According to Svenska dagbladet (SvD) revenge for the drawing by artist Lars Vilks of Muhammad as a roundabout dog has become the common denominator of violent Islamic extremism in Sweden.

Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College, says it’s not the first time that Sweden appears in Inspire, which has previously referenced Vilks and Nerikes Allehanda’s editor Ulf Johansson.

To be mentioned in this context is never good, Ranstorp added. “It is an important magazine with direct links to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Whatever pops up in it is serious,” he said. Such an article can “provide individuals with a extremist bent a push onto the path. Young people think this is cool, it is the ultimate form of rebellion against Western society,” he added.

Algerian woman – arrested on terrorist charges in Ireland in March 2010 – recounts her ordeal

Nabahet Moulay Slimane and her husband were arrested in their house in a suburb
of Cork, Ireland, for their connection with Colleen LaRose, an American convert
who became known as ‘Jihad Jane’. On 9 March 2010, the police detained seven
persons in Ireland for allegedly plotting to murder the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks
who depicted Muhammad in 2007. After three days of questioning by the police,
Slimane and her husband were released without charge. In this article, she tells her
story. LaRose spent time in Slimane’s house during her stay in Ireland in 2009, using
her phone and internet, until her sudden departure after a few weeks. LaRose was
introduced to Slimane and her husband by a family friend as an American convert,
maltreated by her own family due to her conversion to Islam. Slimane describes
the shock and horror the sudden arrest has brought to her family. She was forced
to shut down their small family business, her family has been stigmatised in the
local community and by the media, and she has been suffering from psychological
distress since then.
Irish Examiner
Wednesday 30 June, 2010, p. 19
‘Our Jihad Jane Link’
‘The Cork-based Muslim family arrested for links to ‘Jihad Jane’ in March have
decided to tell their story to Sharon Ní Choncúir’

Swedish artist attacked at university lecture

The controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who’s been threatened and attacked several times since he drew “Muhammad as a Roundabout dog” a couple of years ago, was attacked during a lecture at Uppsala University Tuesday, May 11. Vilks had been invited to Uppsala University to talk about “Art and the freedom of speech.” About ten minutes in to his lecture he showed the video “Allah hu Gaybar” by Iranian artist Sooreh Hera.

In the video, naked men appear in Muhammad-masks. This was too much for a young man in the audience who rushed forth and reportedly gave Vilks a “headbutt” before he was overpowered by body guards and police. Some teens in the audience began fighting, while others were shouting “allahu akbar.” One policeman is said to have been injured. Three men between 16 and 18 years old were arrested.

There are also reports of Muslims expressing anger against the attackers, trying to stop them from interrupting Vilks. Muslim bloggers and spokespersons have expressed their disappointment with the young men behind the attack.

Two days later someone hacked Vilks homepage and left a message where he promised to kill the artist. Earlier this year a group in the UK – amongst them an American woman called Jihad Jane – was revealed by police planning to kill Vilks.

Dutch news site removes Vilks cartoon

Dutch news site AD has removed an image of the Vilks cartoon after using it to illustrate a story on the plot to murder the Swedish cartoonist. Acting editor Bart Verkade notes that the site received many offended responses, including an email campaign organized by the As-Soenna mosque in The Hague. In covering the story about the removal of the cartoon from AD, both De Pers and Elsevier reprinted the image, to further criticism from Imam Sheik Fawaz Jneid of the As-Soennah mosque.

Muhammad the Roundabout Dog and Jihad Jane makes the News

This weeks news was dominated by the arrest of seven persons in Ireland planning to assassinate the Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Vilks became the focus of Muslim protests in 2007, when the Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda published his drawing of “Muhammad as a Roundabout dog”. Ever since the original publication Vilks has been receiving threats from various people and groups (claiming to be) of Muslim background. Even so he doesn’t seem that concerned. Commenting on al-Qaida’s 100.000 dollar reward in 2007 Vilks said he “appreciate that the terrorists are showing an interest in art.”

Tuesdays arrest in Ireland in general, and the now internationally infamous “Jihad Jane” a.k.a Colleen LaRose in particular, has emulated hundreds of articles, news specials, and radio shows in Sweden during the week. There has also been (unconfirmed) speculations about LaRose being in Sweden already in 2009 to assassinate Vilks.

LaRose’s face, and Vilks on the porch to his house, axe in hand, saying he regrets nothing and is able to defend himself – has dominated Swedish newspapers. “The new terrorist is blond and blue-eyed” read Thursdays headlines in the freely distributed tabloid Metro. “There’s no longer a template to follow looking for terrorists,” said David Livingstone of the Brittish think tank Chatham House in the same publication. And Dagens Nyheter knew to report that “Terrorists are now trying to recruit westerners.”

Dagens Nyheter and Expressen, amongst others, also chose to re-publish Vilks’ drawing in their printed editions Thursday March 10 (but not on the online edition). Expressen’s editor in chief Håkan Mattson says the re-publication of the drawing is “a standpoint for the freedom of speach”, and the editorial in Dagens Nyheter read that “a threat against Lars Vilks is a threat against every Swedish citizen.”

Many Swedish Muslims have (once again) felt a need to oppose the threats against Vilks. For example Imam Othman Al Tawalbeh says “We can’t let the terrorists kidnap Islam”, parliament member Nalin Pekgul defends Vilks’ right to speak his mind, and Bejzat Becirov of Islamic Center in Malmö stressed that “Vilks is allowed to draw whatever he wants, there is no excuse use violence or to threaten him.” Even so Sylvia Asklöf Fortell of Barometern writes in an editorial that it’s now time for Swedish “moderate Muslims” to speak up against the terrorists.

On national television (SVT Gomorron Sverige, March 11) and radio (P1 morgon, March 10; P3 Brunchrapporten, March 11) Historian of Religion David Thurfjell of Södertörn University, argued that Muslim indignation caused by the drawing, needs to be understood in relation to a more general experience of humiliation, the roots of which can be found in the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Thurfjell argued that there is a discrepancy in the understanding of the issue at stake. Where most publicists in Sweden see the conflict as concerning the principles of free speech, many Muslims interpret Vilks’ drawing in the light of a larger political conflict. For these Muslims the oft repeated argument that newspapers now again should insult Muslims by re-publishing the drawings in order to take a stand for democratic values, echos of the American rhetoric surrounding the invasion of Iraq and other instances in which exploitation of Muslim countries have been carried out in the name of democracy.

Swedish artist receives threat from Somalia

The Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who in the autumn of 2007 published a drawing of Muhammad as a “roundabout dog”, received a threat over the phone January 4. The caller, who was later tracked to Somalia, spoke in broken Swedish and said that after Kurt Westergaard Vilks was next. Lars Vilks says he gets many threats, but this time chose to notify the police because of the assault on the Danish cartoonist.

Sweden: Artist Sees Prophet Cartoons As Musical

He has offended Muslims worldwide and al-Qaida wants him dead, but the Swedish artist who portrayed the Prophet Muhammad as a dog said Monday he has no regrets. Lars Vilks, 61, told The Associated Press he might use the uproar over his drawings as the subject of a musical, with prominent roles depicting Iran’s president, Sweden’s prime minister and al-Qaida terrorists. “The Muhammad cartoon project must be made into an art work,” said Vilks, breaking away for an interview during a business seminar in Klippan, a small town in southern Sweden. “A musical comes to mind … I think it would help the debate.” The eccentric sculptor said previously that the cartoons weren’t meant to insult Islam but rather to test the boundaries of artistic freedom.