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Swedish Mohammad cartoonist attacked at lecture

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist whose sketch of the Prophet Mohammad enraged many Muslims, was head-butted on Tuesday while giving a lecture about freedom of speech, he said.

Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks poses before an interview with Reuters in Stockholm in this March 10, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Bob Strong

A video of the incident was posted on Swedish newspaper websites and showed an angry crowd in the lecture hall with many people on their feet and shouting. Police were at the front of the hall and one policewoman used pepper spray on a man.

Vilks, who depicted the Prophet Mohammad with the body of a dog in 2007, said he was assaulted by a man sitting on the front row as he spoke at the University of Uppsala, about 70 km (44 miles) from Stockholm.

“He head-butted me and I fell into the wall and lost my glasses,” Vilks was quoted by news agency TT as saying. He added he was unharmed.

The video, which mainly showed what happened after the assault on Vilks, showed the lecture hall in complete tumult with dozens of people on their feet and shouting.

Cries of “Allah is Great” in Arabic could also be heard from one woman in the crowd.

Swedish media said the incident happened after Vilks began to show a video involving sexual and religious images.

The video posted on the website of Aftonbladet newspaper showed Vilks’s clip was entitled “Allah ho Gaybar.”

A spokesman for Uppsala police said two people were detained in the incident.

Vilks was not immediately available to comment further. He says he has received death threats since his Prophet sketch.

In March an American who called herself “JihadJane,” was charged with plotting to kill the Swede and using the Internet to enlist co-conspirators.

In January, a Somali man was indicted for terrorism and attempted murder for breaking into the home of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and threatening him with an axe.

A cartoon by Westergaard in 2005 which depicted the Prophet Mohammad with a turban shaped like a bomb sparked outrage across the Muslim world, with at least 50 people killed in riots in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Most Muslims consider any depiction of the founder of Islam as offensive.

Reporting by Patrick Lannin; Editing by Maria Golovnina