Most people have probably heard about the artist Lars Vilks‘ lecture in May, which was suspended after several Muslim attendants had physically attacked Vilks. The video clips on You Tube were shown on several TV channels around the world. Since then, two young Muslim men also have been convicted for arson on Vilks’ home.
In October, the University of Uppsala decided to carry through the lecture. This time there were 130 policemen and 50 watchmen. A helicopter was hovering above the site. The audience had to pass the same kind of security check that must be passed at an airport. Four persons were taken away before the lecture could start. This film clip can give a hint on the extent of the security measures (only in Swedish, though). A policeman held an introductory warning:
The police will film the audience. Loud-voiced attendants and questioners will be sent out and the police intend to report it under penalty of a fine or prison for 6 months. For those who will have to go to the bathroom, they also will have to pass the security control once again. Those who leave the premises and go out will not be allowed to enter again.
The lecture should have started at 2 p.m. but because of the extensive safety controls, it started 65 minutes later. It was held without incidents. The guard cost Swedish taxpayers 800,000 SEK (86,000 EUR or 118,143 USD) and was as large-scale as when the pope visited Sweden last time.
Why do I write this now, a month after the lecture took place? I want to show you the proportions of the security measures taken, and thus the costs associated with free speech in Sweden nowadays. I also want to show to what extent free speech is threatened, thanks to our politicians’ vision of the delightful multicultural society, any criticism of which is not allowed whatsoever. Just pay and smile!
The imam in Uppsala commented the lecture:
I don’t understand why and it is sad that such a big and well-known seat of learning kindles conflicts between people.
Vilks comments this on his blog:
In other words, freedom of speech should have an exception for Islam, a religion that is particularly sacrosanct. If you challenge it you create conflicts between people. And the imam is not alone having this opinion. On his side there is a left-wing that seems to have exchanged Marx for Mohammed.