Why did Lars Vilks, a mild-mannered Swede who calls himself "the artist," booby-trap his art with electrified barbed wire, keep an ax by his bedside, and build a panic room upstairs?

For one, Mr. Vilks's 2007 cartoon of the prophet Mohammed as a stray dog continues to bring death threats and even a bounty on his head from an Al Qaeda-related group in Iraq.

But after US authorities on Tuesday arrested Colleen LaRose, a Philadelphia woman known on the Internet as Jihad Jane, for allegedly planning to travel to rural Sweden and assassinate Vilks, civil libertarians such as George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley are pointing to another potential incentive for European artists to protect themselves: growing deference shown to Islam by European governments and journalists worried about stoking fanatical flames.

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