I have been fortunate enough to meet several of the great personalities involved in the struggle against Islamic totalitarianism over the past few years. In 2012, I met two of them for the first time in southern Sweden. One of them was the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, whom I met on October 27, 2012 during a visit to Malmö.
The other one was Lars Vilks, a Swedish art theorist and self-taught artist. His life was turned upside down after 2007, when he started drawing Islam’s founder Mohammad as a roundabout dog. This triggered several explicit death threats from Muslim groups. He has been living under police protection since then, especially following a statement from al-Qaida’s purported leader in Iraq offering a $100,000 dollar reward for his assassination.
Vilks warned in the spring of 2012 that “The attacks against me are working.” The strategy of physical intimidation employed by his opponents is unfortunately quite effective. He has seen his lecturing activities dry up over organizers’ fears of riots and of being labeled “racist.” At Karlstad University in Sweden, a lecture was interrupted by a loud group of aggressive young Muslims throwing eggs at him for showing one of his pictures inspired by the Muhammad caricature battle in neighboring Denmark.
Vilks lives in his home in a rural area of southern Sweden. In the summer of 2012 I joined a few other people who had met him before, and who had an appointment. When we arrived at his unassuming house, I discovered that a handful of Swedish police officers literally camp outside his home to provide around-the-clock protection against would-be assassins. They obviously wanted to see valid photo-IDs for each of us, preferably a passport.
I gave them one, and noticed some frantic whispers a couple of minutes later as they realized what a controversial person had just showed up unannounced. However, they quickly understood that I had done nothing criminal. I was controversial for being anti-Islamic, and was therefore very unlikely to harm Vilks.
Overall, the police left a professional impression. I don’t know if they were regular police or Swedish security police (Säpo), or some combination of both, but Vilks seemed to be in good hands. An armed policeman stood guard in the door and watched us every second, ready to intervene instantly if somebody posed a physical threat.
While my companions interviewed him, I took a quick look at his bookshelves. I do this often, not to be rude, but simply because I am curious, being a man of books myself. You can tell a lot about a person by what kind of books he has on his shelves. I noticed that Lars Vilks has many books about art history and art theory, not just in the Scandinavian languages or English but also in German. He has lectured in art theory as a professor. Vilks has been criticized because his Mohammed dog cartoons don’t look like the average Rembrandt painting, but that’s because they are supposed to look the way they do.
Many artists, writers or self-appointed intellectuals claim to be open-minded and anti-dogmatic individuals. The truth is that they often tend to be remarkably narrow-minded and frequently support the most repressive and dogmatic ideologies existing. Perhaps we can call this the Bertolt Brecht or Jean-Paul Sartre syndrome. Lars Vilks, on the other hand, takes his art project very seriously. He sees this as a true challenge to repressive dogma with the goal of expanding human freedom. He is a genuinely open-minded and tolerant individual, in the best possible sense.
I introduced myself by my real name at first. That didn’t ring any bells. Yet as soon as I mentioned my pen name, he knew who I was. That is a fairly common reaction and is one of the reasons why I have chosen to retain my pen name. As Ned May of the Gates of Vienna pointed out, I earned my reputation as Fjordman, not as Peder Jensen.
Vilks didn’t mind my presence at all. On the contrary, it probably triggered his curiosity. He certainly does not condemn people based merely on what has been written about them in the newspapers. Vilks is not married and doesn’t have any children, so he almost seemed to view his security guards as family members. They joined us later, as he went to see a nearby exhibition of ceramics in a nearby town. The local art lovers there didn’t treat Vilks as the radioactive, evil Islamophobe as he has been portrayed by certain hostile Swedish journalists. He mingled freely, but always with a security guard walking quietly just a few steps behind him. Another couple of security guards were watching the crowd and the entrances and exits. I believe there was also a car waiting outside; so that Lars Vilks could be swiftly moved to safety should any threat arise.
I was fortunate enough to meet Vilks on a different occasion some weeks later, in an informal social gathering. He was again friendly towards me as well as everybody else present. It is madness that such a polite and gentle man has to live as a virtual prisoner in his own home simply because he has painted some controversial portraits of a person why may or may not have lived in the Arabian Peninsula 1400 years ago. But such is the reality of the Western world today, collectively in the grips of a Multicultural madness.
Paul Berman has described the way in which the author Salman Rushdie, since the death sentence handed down to him for insulting Islam by the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran in 1989, has metastasized into an entire social class, a subset of the European intelligentsia that now lives in a climate of fear and survives mainly because of bodyguards. Each and every one of them today serves as a living reminder of what we all stand to lose, if we continue to import and appease the forces of Islam.