Swedish Artist Lars Vilks Cites KKK to Defend Talk to Anti-Muslim Group
Vilks, the Swedish artist who enraged Muslim groups with his depictions of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog, agreed earlier this month to speak at a conference organized by the anti-Muslim group Stop Islamization of Nations (SION).
Last week, however, an art gallery in northern Sweden booted him from a planned group exhibition because of his decision to accept the SION invitation.
Several of the other participating artists pulled out in solidarity with Vilks, stirring up a debate in Sweden this week about artistic freedom and Islamophobia.
The art exhibition, which was due to open on September 30th, has since been cancelled.
In a lengthy interview published in the Aftonbladet newspaper on Thursday, Vilks defended his decision to speak at the SION event.
“If the Ku Klux Klan had invited me, I would have gone,” he told the paper.
In the lengthy Aftonbladet interview, Vilks said that SION is a “demagogic” organization that “cannot be disregarded”.
“They have a growing political influence. Their campaigns generate violent attention,” Vilks said.
SION, an international network of counter-jihadist groups, was formed in January 2012. The group’s inaugural summit, which Vilks is due to speak at, will take place in New York on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.