World News‎ > ‎

Artist Targeted By 'Jihad Jane' Says He Will Exhibit Mohammad Drawings

posted 6 Jan 2014, 16:17 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 6 Jan 2014, 16:18 ]

A Swedish artist targeted for murder by Colleen R. LaRose, also known as Jihad Jane, says he is hoping to exhibit his controversial work depicting Prophet Mohammad.

STOCKHOLMSWEDEN (JANUARY 6, 2013) (REUTERS) -  The Swedish artist who depicted the head of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad on a dog, making him the target of a failed murder plot by an American woman, said on Monday (January 6) he was hoping to exhibit his controversial work.

Lars Vilks spoke to Reuters ahead of the sentencing of Colleen R. LaRose, also known as Jihad Jane, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a U.S. judge for her role in the failed plot in 2009.

"It's a long story, and I've been following the reports and many times it's been coming up to a verdict and no-one (verdict) has yet appeared," Vilks said.

The artist said he believed LaRose should be released and receive psychological treatment instead of being imprisoned.

"I think they actually should let her loose and give her some therapy because I think that she's in a bad state, and actually this is a psychological case."

The 67-year-old artist said the arrest and subsequent trial of "Jihad Jane" had affected his life as an artist, making it difficult for him to exhibit his work.

"It's been very difficult to make exhibitions because people are scared and we come in to other things, like I've been accused of racism and things like that."

But he said he was now hoping to exhibit the work that stirred controversy in 2007.

"I'm quite optimistic of the future. I hope that this year, it will be possible for the first time, to show the original drawings that started all this fuss in 2007," Vilks said.

LaRose pleaded guilty in 2011 to terrorism-related crimes, including conspiracy to murder Vilks.

Asked if the sentencing would bring closure to the issue, Vilks said that he had used "inflation" in his artistic work to deal with the controversy that surrounded him.

"I've been working in different ways to use this theme and the best thing to get out of it is to create some sort of inflation - you do it over and over again until everyone is tired."

He said he was looking forward to putting the case behind him, but that the sentencing may not prove to be the end.

"Probably they will appeal again, so I think there will be more of this. In one way it is kind of over. They have found the roots of this matter so it's just the formalities that is left," Vilks said.

LaRose became involved in the Muslim online community and travelled to Europe in 2009 intending to participate in a militant plot to shoot artist Vilks in the chest six times.

But she became impatient with the men who lured her to Europe and she gave up after six weeks and returned to Philadelphia, where she was arrested.

At Monday's hearing, LaRose apologised for blindly following the instructions of her handlers.