Lars Vilks: Prophet Muhammad cartoons and drawings explained - as artist is killed in traffic collision

Vilks sketched the Prophet Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body in 2007, which offended many Muslims who regard visual representation of the Prophet as blasphemous

Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who sketched the Prophet Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body, has been killed in a road accident.

The 75-year-old, who had lived under police protection since 2007, after being subjected to death threats over the cartoon, was travelling in a civilian police vehicle which collided with a truck near the town of Markaryd in southern Sweden.

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Two police officers were also killed and the truck driver was injured; police have not revealed the identity of those killed in Sunday’s incident, but Vilks’ partner confirmed his death to Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

But who was Vilks, and why were his cartoons considered so offensive?

Here is everything you need to know about him.

What did he draw?

Vilks, who sketched the Prophet Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body in 2007.

His cartoon offended many Muslims who regard visual representation of the Prophet as blasphemous.

The cartoon led Sweden’s then Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to meet ambassadors from 22 Muslim countries in an attempt to defuse the situation.

Speaking to a journalist in Stockholm at the time, Vilks said: “I’m actually not interested in offending the prophet. The point is actually to show that you can.

“There is nothing so holy you can’t offend it.”

Was he killed?

Shortly after the publication of the cartoon, al-Qaeda offered a £73,692 reward for his murder – with an extra $50,000 (£37,000) if a knife was used.

In 2015, Vilks attended a debate on free speech that was targeted in a gun attack on a cafe in northern Copenhagen, which killed a film director.

The cafe was hosting an event titled Art, Blasphemy And The Freedom Of Expression when the shots were fired, according to reports.

The attack came just over a month after gunmen stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, killing 12 people.

In a statement, police said the circumstances leading to the collision were still unclear – but there was nothing to suggest that anyone else was involved.

2020 documentary Jihadi Jane told the story of Colleen LaRose, who travelled to Waterford, Ireland, to meet her internet date, Ali Charaf Damache.

He had promised her marriage and enduring love but the blonde-haired, blue-eyed American quickly discovered that Ali had an ulterior motive.

He planned to launch a devastating attack on Vilks, and LaRose was radicalised, converted to Islam and adopted the identity of Jihad Jane.

She was subsequently arrested and publicly vilified as “the new face of terrorism”.

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