Swedish Arabic-Language News Sites Filled with Hate After Mohammed Cartoonist’s Death

Picture taken on January 3, 2012 in Nyhamnslage, Sweden, shows Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Unidentified assailants on February 14, 2015 fired on a building in Copenhagen, Denmark, where a debate on Islam and free speech was being held, the French ambassdor to Denmark told AFP from inside the venue. Reports …
BJORN LINDGREN/TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images

The editorial staff at Sweden’s largest Arabic-language news website say they received a flood of hateful comments following the death of Swedish Mohammed cartoonist Lars Vilks this week.

Mahmoud Agha, editor-in-chief of the news website Alkompis, said that the site saw at least a thousand hateful comments regarding the death of Mr Vilks before the editorial staff shut down commenting altogether.

“We deleted nearly a thousand comments before we shut down,” Agha told newspaper Aftonblade. “It’s really boring. We do not accept offensive comments, we are actively working to delete comments of this type.”

The paper notes that some of the comments claimed that the car accident that led to Vilk’s death had been “God’s punisment” while others stated they hoped Vilks would be going to Hell.

“Our news reporting is entirely factual, just like in other Swedish media. But we’re constantly learning things and we’ve learned a lot from this. That our mission to strengthen integration is more important than ever. To explain Swedish laws and viewpoints and fundamental freedom of expression,” Agha said.

Another Arabic-language online newspaper based in Sweden also reported seeing hundreds of hateful comments in response to the death of Vilks.

Kotada Yonus, the founder of online magazine Aktarr, told broadcaster SVT: “It wasn’t just mean comments like ‘we hate him,’ but it was hatred of groups in general and comments like ‘he should have died a long time ago,’ this is not acceptable.”

Yonus said he was considering purchasing artificial intelligence (AI) software to tackle the issue, saying: “We take it very seriously. We have discussed with a company working with AI to see how we can train the technology to filter comments or notify when we need to review or delete comments.”

In the hours after the announcement of the death of Vilks, Islamists on social media began commenting on the death of the Mohammed cartoonist, with many celebrating with the hashtag #larsvilksgotohell.

Since publishing his cartoon of Mohammed in 2007, Vilks had been the subject of many threats against his life and was subject to a $150,000 bounty by an affiliate of the radical Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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