Lars Vilks, the Swedish artist who drew Islam’s prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog and lives under a constant death threat, was in New York City on 9/11, as anti-American violence started to unfold in the Middle East. He described how the Islamists have repeatedly tried to injure or kill him over the last several years.
Vilks spoke at an “International Freedom Defense Congress” sponsored by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer amid tight security, proving that the problem regarding Islam isn’t a drawing or a film but rather an ideology that sanctions violence against its perceived enemies and which has a presence on American soil.
Geller hired her own security team, at great expense, which worked with the New York Police Department and hotel security. She was told that New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, himself under media attack for surveillance of Muslims, even held a meeting to discuss how to handle Vilks’ appearance.
The event demonstrated that, whether it’s a drawing, a cartoon, or a film, the Islamists will always look for something or someone to riot about and use as an excuse to kill. But rather than reaffirm our First Amendment rights, the Obama Administration has made it clear that they want to silence those who criticize the “religion of peace.”
Four Americans have already died in Libya at the hands of Muslim terrorists, who obviously coordinated their attacks on the occasion of 9/11, but Obama officials want to pretend in the face of all available evidence that it was a spontaneous uprising in response to a film that had been on the Internet since July.
This pathetic response means that more Americans are now at risk of losing their rights—and their lives—because of the failure of Obama’s pro-Muslim foreign policy.
What is coming to America, courtesy of the Obama Administration, is more scrutiny of and threats against those who are labeled Islamophobes by such groups as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress.
Europeans are already experiencing these frightening developments, as critics of the prophet Muhammad are being physically attacked, murdered, or subject to prosecution for “hate speech.”
In order to counter this threat here and abroad, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer launched the “International Freedom Defense Congress” of Stop Islamization of Nations (SION), on whose board I serve. It is designed to safeguard our constitutional rights before they are stripped away by an administration working hand-in-glove with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group of Muslim countries which wants to silence critics of Islam.
The conference videos are at Geller’s Atlas Shrugs YouTube channel.
Despite the gravity of the situation, and pressure from the United Nations to cancel the conference, which was held at the Millennium U.N. Plaza Hotel, Vilks delivered an entertaining and even funny talk, noting how Islamic fanatics have been so consumed with hatred of him that they burned a flag that was supposed to be Swedish but had the wrong color scheme. They burned the correct flag in a subsequent demonstration.
Vilks said five years ago it was possible to publish a drawing of Muhammad in a mainstream paper. Today, because of all the violence and threats, it is not. The drawing, however, is still available on the Internet and was included in the slide show that accompanied his presentation.
Vilks spoke as bodyguards were stationed at various places throughout the conference room. Media came from around the world to record and photograph his presentation. One part of his slide show described how he travels and speaks today only in the company of bodyguards. Indeed, his remarks included a slide show of the attacks on him over the last five years.
The attacks on and threats against Vilks have been relentless.
He was the target of an Islamic religious decree called a Fatwa, which placed a bounty of $100,000 on his head, with an extra $50,000 if his throat was slit. A member of the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab recorded a video threatening to behead him. Colleen Renee LaRose, also known as Jihad Jane, an American citizen from Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder Vilks, while a suicide bomber also targeted him for death.
In one case, Vilks’ home was set on fire by Jihadists who poured gasoline through a window and set the house on fire.
Vilks, who was not home at the time, joked, “I lost one curtain—I just have one at my window now—and one of my plants. But it recovered. It was badly burned but I nursed it.”
He said the Jihadists accidentally set themselves on fire and left personal identification papers at the scene of the crime, leading to their arrest and imprisonment. They were treated for self-inflicted burns at a local hospital, where they claimed they had been holding a barbecue party.
Vilks was also pelted with eggs and attacked when he tried to deliver a lecture at Karlstad University in Sweden.
What continues to happen to Vilks and others in Europe is coming to the United States, as the Obama Administration openly sides with global Islam against our God-given First Amendment right of free speech.
“Overshadowed in the turmoil of international events, party politics, and the desperate efforts by the old media to elect Democrats is a singularly appalling fact: a badly-produced YouTube clip that insults Muhammad inspires much more anger and outrage in our leftist leaders than acts of war against America,” writes Scott Swett at the American Thinker website. “Worse, by adding their voices to the Islamic rage chorus, they help to justify the violent actions of our enemies, and legitimize their excuses for their vicious attacks.”
In this way, the Obama Administration and its leftist allies prepare the way for more violence and terrorism against critics of Islam.
Writing at WorldNetDaily under the title, “Leftist brownshirts and their Islamic thugs,” just before the conference, Geller said, “The left is increasingly bent on shutting down and shutting up freedom fighters, and yet there has been scarcely any discussion of this creeping fascism in the public sphere. We are relinquishing our most cherished freedoms, our unalienable rights, with nary a whimper. What is wrong with everyone?”
Geller and Spencer are leading the movement of freedom fighters here and abroad. They must be protected and supported.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at [email protected].