STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who had lived under police protection since his 2007 sketch of the Prophet Muhammad with a dog’s body brought death threats, has died in a traffic accident, police said. He was 75.
Vilks and two plainclothes police bodyguards were killed in a head-on crash with a truck on Sunday afternoon, said Carina Persson, police chief for southern Sweden.
She said the police car veered into the path of the truck and both vehicles burst into flames. The truck driver was flown to a hospital with serious injuries.
Vilks was largely unknown outside Sweden before 2007, when he drew a sketch of Muhammad with a dog’s body. Dogs are considered unclean by conservative Muslims, and Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.
There were a number of attempts on his life over the years.
Police said at this time they did not know why the car drove into the wrong lane but they were investigating whether a tire might have exploded.
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