Vilks, the Swedish artist who enraged Muslim groups with his depictions of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog, agreed earlier this month to speak at a conference organized by the anti-Muslim group Stop Islamization of Nations (SION).
Last week, however, an art gallery in northern Sweden booted him from a planned group exhibition because of his decision to accept the SION invitation. Several of the other participating artists pulled out in solidarity with Vilks, stirring up a debate in Sweden this week about artistic freedom and Islamophobia. The art exhibition, which was due to open on September 30th, has since been cancelled.
In a lengthy interview published in the Aftonbladet newspaper on Thursday, Vilks defended his decision to speak at the SION event. “If the Ku Klux Klan had invited me, I would have gone,” he told the paper.