Lars Vilks: Muhammad cartoonist under police protection killed in car crash in Sweden - reports

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

A Swedish artist who lived under police protection after receiving death threats for sketching the Prophet Muhammad with a dog’s body has died in a road crash, according to reports.

Lars Vilks, 75, was reportedly travelling in a civilian police car which collided with a truck near the town of Markaryd in southern Sweden.

He died along with two police officers who were also in the car, according to reports.

Police were yet to reveal the identity of those killed in Sunday’s crash, but Vilks’s partner confirmed his death to Dagens Nyheter newspaper in Sweden.

The cause of the accident was under investigation, police said.

Vilks was largely unknown outside Sweden before his Muhammad drawing in 2007 after which he lived under police protection.

 (TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)
(TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

Dogs are considered unclean by conservative Muslims, and Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favourable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.

Al Qaida put a bounty on Vilks’ head. In 2010, two men tried to burn down his house in southern Sweden.

Last year, a woman from Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in a plot to try to kill him.

Before the Mohammed sketch, he was best known for building a sculpture made of driftwood in a nature reserve in southern Sweden without permission, triggering a lengthy legal battle.

He was fined, but the seaside sculpture - a jumble of wood nailed together in chaotic fashion - draws tens of thousands of visitors a year.

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