September 17th, 2010
01:01 PM ET

'Draw Mohammed' cartoonist goes into hiding, paper says

Muslims burn an effigy of cartoonist Molly Norris in Karachi, Pakistan, on May 26.

A cartoonist for Seattle Weekly in Washington state is in hiding after she received death threats for mocking the Prophet Mohammed five months ago, the newspaper reported.

The alternative weekly’s editor in chief reported this week that artist Molly Norris is “going ghost” on the advice of FBI security specialists. She will be moving and changing her name, Mark Fefer wrote.

“You may have noticed that Molly Norris’ comic is not in the paper this week. That’s because there is no more Molly,” he said. “She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program – except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab.”

Norris’ hasty exodus stems from an April controversy in which the creators of “South Park” saw their 201st episode censored over its inclusion of Mohammed as a character. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker received death threats because their 200th episode featured the Muslim prophet in a bear suit.

Norris dedicated her cartoon that week to Stone and Parker and attacked bloggers at Revolution Muslim, who she said made threats against the “South Park” masterminds. Couching the cartoon as a First Amendment protest, she accused the Comedy Central network of cooperating with terrorists for pulling the original episode.

(Revolution Muslim's organizers told CNN in April the blog post - which said Parker and Stone would "probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh," the Dutch filmmaker stabbed to death after releasing a film about the oppression of Islamic women - was a call to protest, not violence.)

Norris announced that May 20 would be “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” above a cartoon of a cherry, domino, handbag, cup of coffee, spool of thread and box of pasta arguing over who was the “REAL likeness of Mohammed.”

But by the time May 19 rolled around, Norris had been overwhelmed with the attention surrounding her tongue-in-cheek proclamation. Tens of thousands of people took to Facebook to lambaste her, similar numbers jumped to her defense and Pakistan blocked access to the social-networking site until the furor subsided, according to The Big Blog, a cultural offering from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

“It's been horrible,” Norris told the blog, explaining she had lost seven pounds and spent previous weeks issuing apologies and talking with national media. “I'm just trying to breathe and get through it.”

The controversy didn’t pass after the fictional holiday. On July 11, The New York Daily News reported that Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – who has been linked to the Fort Hood massacre and the botched May 1 bombing in Times Square – called for Norris’ assassination.

In the July issue of al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine, which included an article on how to “make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” by the AQ Chef, al-Awlaki called for Norris and others to be executed for their “blasphemous caricatures.”

“The medicine prescribed by the Messenger of Allah is the execution of those involved,” The Daily News quoted al-Awlaki as writing.

The FBI told the newspaper the threat was serious and said it was working with the targeted individuals. On Wednesday, Seattle Weekly reported Norris had gone into hiding.

Fefer wrote that Norris likened the development to cancer: “It might be urgent and serious, it might go away and never return or it might pop up again when she least expects it.

“We’re hoping the religious bigots go into full and immediate remission, and we wish her the best.”

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Anti-Islam • Islam • Pakistan • Religion • Washington state
soundoff (793 Responses)
  1. wow

    How could any one consider this man to be a prophet? The word pedophile is to good for him! He is not worthy of any depiction. I was actually taking an honest interest and just touching on begining to become educated about the muslim religion to expand my mind but my muslim educator made know mention of muhammads impure (to put it lightly) practices....hmm, guess I now know not to bother. That is some really sick sh**!!!!! And they call him a prophet? And this represents an actual religion?

    September 19, 2010 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. DGHankins

    Some day that oil will be all use up and then we will have no use for the and the false idols .<<<>>>.

    September 19, 2010 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. wow

    Maybe they could use the catholics as a role model and keep up the pedophilia but just stop being crazed killers...

    September 19, 2010 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Advice of FBI

    Fear Islam, we can not protect you.

    September 19, 2010 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Islam is a total contradiction to american society, stay the hell out if you cant make the two mesh....

      September 19, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. Advice of FBI

    She will be moving and changing her name. Life as she new it is over.

    September 19, 2010 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ken

    Oh yeah you're really defending your religion wisely there by making death threats and denying people their freedom of speech. Way to validate yourselves, oh yeah.......

    September 19, 2010 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Karengp

    Here we go again. Lets be tolerate of crazy muslims while they burn our flag or burn our President in effigy. They are crazy and I for one will never trust a muslim. The muslims here are worse. They sit back and don't openly comdemn what these coo coos are doing, yet like to fall back on our freedoms to get their terrorist mosque built near ground zero. When the muslims here stand up for our country IN PUBLIC I will have more tolerence of them. But until them, no way.

    September 19, 2010 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. Anony-Mouse, The cartoonist

    My Muhammad cartoon was taken down from Photobucket as offensive. So I have posted it at an image-hosting site that believes in freedom of speech. Here it is:

    My goal is simply to defend freedom of speech. I hold no ill-will toward peaceful Muslims.

    September 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • salman

      Yours don't count. Unlike Molly, you are a sissy.

      September 20, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. madhatersall

    @Anony-Mouse, The cartoonist .. Let me say I laughed looking at your Art Work. Then thought mine was way to minor to be drawn. Made me draw again.. but this time it was Mohammed was behind Bin Laden as they knelt to the east... same sentiments felt though! They screw us .. we screw them with Art! no killings at all! Doesn't seem fair does it?

    September 20, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. zeptepi

    isn't it strange that we can go beyond the jurisdiction of the U.S. , even invading a foreign country, in order to enforce criminal laws of the U.S., but the FBI is powerless to help this woman?

    If our jurisdiction is so broad why don't we just go get this cleric and put him in prison? Or, why do we have a double standard concerning drug laws vs. personal crimes? This woman's life is ruined–she can't draw editorial cartoons for a living anymore either, because they will find her.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anony-Mouse, The Cartoonist

      I agree. This cleric needs a cruise missile in his mosque.

      September 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Junaid

    You americans you can say anything and draw anything about any religion!! You all are zombies who are controlled by ZIONISTS AND FREE MASONS!! (Don't know who are zionists and freemasons? google it! And learn something and before that open your eyes and ears wide!)

    Yes Islam is a religion of peace with certain rules.. If we say all peace peace peace and you hit me and still I should say peace? I will hit you back! Yes! Every action have a equal and opposite reaction..

    These cartoonists pushes muslim's religious sentiments and expect peace? Try shaking hands with us and see what you will get! We will hug you! But you are waging war on Muslims! This is modern CRUSADE!

    Whole world knows drawing our prophet's picture is forbidden and yet you people draw cartoons and say “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” ???? What this indicates? What you are doing here? what are you trying to do here? Hurting our religious sentiments! And who so ever does that he/she should be beheaded immediately! It's a big sin!!

    You people are good for nothing.. Always alleging another country for terrorism and invading those countries and killing and raping innocent women and children.. It's living hell on earth. You need our oil, you want our religion to get hated and you are becoming successful in your attempts. You want to kill our religion because you find it truth in it and you don't want the truth to get out!! I know this is cnn website which is sold to us government.

    Try to read Quran with English translation once with open mind and see what you will find. I swear you will remember me through out your life!

    September 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anony-Mouse, The Cartoonist

      I read the Quran once. It's the word of Satan. Same with the Bible and the Torah.

      September 25, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get Real NOW

      "And who so ever does that he/she should be beheaded immediately!" -words of Junaid

      You've GOT to be kidding me, idiot. Drawing a picture of Muhammad should be punished by beheading??? What is WRONG with you? Beheading for drawing a picture? You've just illustrated, Junaid, why more and more Americans are waking up and realizing Islam is a cult that is chock-full of NUTS. Do you honestly believe that a true ALL-Powerful God would want some of his creations killing others of his creations for DRAWING A PICTURE?? Your "religion" is based on NONSENSE. Your Koran is largely plagiarized garbage, and your Hadiths...the words of your 'prophet', make all the stereotypes of Muslims spring to life as truth! Every American should read the Hadiths. Then everyone would know that Islam is NOT a religion, it's a cult, and a dangerous one. Religion of peace, indeed.

      September 27, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. cartoonist

    you are not allowed to draw Mohammad because he was not photogenic.

    October 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Alex

    There are a lot of apollogies that should go round, first from the agressive extremist muslims to Molly, And also from Molly to all the muslims how have felt insulted by this but have not lashed out.

    February 8, 2011 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
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