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24 May, 2010 06:18

“To offend religion is possible in a democratic society”

Why there should be an exception for just one religion, Islam, not to create cartoons about it when all the other major religions accept this, is the problem bothering Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.

In 2007, Lars Vilks drew a cartoon with a head of Prophet Mohammed on a body of a dog. Now he is facing death threats from Muslim extremists for his controversial images and has had to live in a secret hideout ever since. He made a rare exception in allowing RT to visit.

Lars Vilks was accused of doing “only things against Muslims”, but he said that he is “open to all sorts of taboos.”

“You have to have a line where things are stupid,” believes Lars Vilks. “Almost every Muslim I was discussing it with was comparing these drawings with the Holocaust. ‘If you make an offence of the prophet – why don’t you make an offence to the Holocaust,’” remembers Vilks.

“We have to make this very clear, that in the West we make a difference from symbolic statements, from religion and the things going on in the real life. What you believe [in] is private, what actually happens in the world is reality,” outlines the cartoonist.

Lars Vilks denies the idea of “multi-culture” as an accidental idea, because it is not clear who should represent a multicultural state or society.

“Contemporary art is about the social issues and social critic, it is totally dominating, but it does not lead the art-world,” believes the artist.

Lars Vilks says he regrets nothing because “It is a part of my life and my experience. People are too afraid. The risk is not that high.”