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. Mary

    This is America~!
    And freedom of the press, freedom of speech.. And an American is in hiding for expressing an opinion by the same people fighting to be allowed to build their mosque near ground zero, to express their freedom's???
    Some thing stinks here.. Some thing 'stinks'~!!

    September 17, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Johnson

      Amen, Mary.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JDB-DC

    If Allah is that powerful, then why does he require violence on the part of his creations to enforce his laws. I mean, I think he's a big boy and can handle his own affairs (no different than any of the other Abrahamic religions). I've drawn all sorts of nasty pictures of your precious prophet...come and get you some!!! BRING IT!!!! I refuse to let you use fear to drag the rest of the world into your deep, dark whirlpool of willful ignorance j

    September 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John Doe

    Here is a likeness of moHAMed: %4)//## . Not in a bear suit. Scuse me while I wipe my %4)//## with a page from the koran.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • JDB-DC


      September 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • MuslimsROCK

      So brave...... John Doe. LOL. The point isnt wiping your ass sweetheart, we know that may seem like a daunting task for you in general, but the point is not being disrespectful to half the world, unless you enjoy getting your head chopped off....but even YOU already new that, hence John Doe.......or are you brave enough to say you full name and address for the world to see?

      September 17, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      MuslimsSUCK – it seems the only way to be able to show muslims the disrepect many of their actions deserve means using anonymity, going into hiding, having cops surround your house. If islam really were something to be proud of, it could stand up to disrespect of any kind without reacting in a mentally twisted, berserk, and non-human fashion. Maybe in 500 years you all will have evolved to the point of rejoining the human race and actually be able to tolerate insults without virus like reactions, and maybe at that point muslim contributors to forums will have the integrity (look it up) and humanity to condemn school girl killings, movie maker killings, nun killings related to HAM cartoons, beheadings, etc. Or can you only be proud by threatening others? You have just showed us once again what your religion is made of.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • JDB-DC, again, why does Allah need the help of bomb and machete wielding zealots to handle his affairs? If he's really that powerful, then why are Christians, Jews, and all other non-Muslims still alive? I mean, why create us in the first place? It doesn't add up!! I'm not posting my 411 on this blog, but I will say it to anyones're all sick!!

      September 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • MuslimsROCK

      First and foremost, i am not religious, religion is a cancer of the mind, false and delusional at best.

      Second, how is drawing a mocking picture of a holy figure constructive criticisms? its not. its mockery, just as your comment. So please get off your horse, you do not hold the higher ground here, your comment shows the true colors of racism, ignorance and a goal to cause harm. Im just asking you to be brave, identify yourself, hold your head up and spew, dont crawl in a cave like your counterpart.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • peace

      @MuslimRocks sum'd it up. Muslim thrived on We-Know-Where-You-Live principle. Worked well for street gangs too

      September 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • MuslimsROCK

      @Peace....your comment does not equate "muslim" to anything, but rather shows you as a racist by generalizing a religion to your racist outlook, and more accurately depicts your general ignorance for making such a comment. MORON.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • peace

      @MuslinRock It is from reading your comments where I formulate the said racist generalization. So you are the great force behind the anti-muslim perception. Keep up the good work!

      September 17, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • LetsHaveAMomentOfSilence

      and contemplate a funny image of you-know-who in our mind. Would that still offend?

      September 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • MuslimsROCK formulated your racist perspective of Muslims from my comment that im not Muslim, in fact i called religion a cancer of the mind, so......ya, your a MORON. thanks for the confirmation!

      September 17, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Johnson

    Wow, I say let's do it again, Draw a cartoon of terrorists playing chess with Mohammed. or Mohammed wiping his butt with toilet paper with his picture on it, or something like that. If THOSE fools think Americans will bow to their threats, they are sadly mistaken.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Johnson

      However.....our government just seems to be the ones bowing to these fools.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Average American

    islam, the religion of love and peace! Mohammed suxs....

    September 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. s crew you

    Really! Don't talk about Muhammad but kill anyone who mentions Jesus. If Islam is a peaceful religion then why all the anger? Forgive and show mercy. ...this woman needs to learn. From this but killing her is hatred not peace

    September 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ausmadmaxx

      Forgive and Mercy is not in their Dictionary.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. David M.

    I am more impressed with Islam every day. Why don't all of you get out of our country and stay in your own?? You stay there, we'll stay here. You bomb our building, kill thousands of innocent people, and then get your drawers in a twist when you don't like something. Just get out!

    September 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • wacky

      listen david...when we stop killing Millions of Muslims..stop interfering with thier politics...stop supporting crupt leaders...stop plundering their natural resources...then maybe they wouldnt come...but then again if u kick all the Muslims out...u are getting rid of some of the smarts ppl in our country...including doctors, scientist, professors...oh and then again NYC would probably come to a stand still...

      September 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark Yelka

    Religion = fairy tales. Believing you need to kill people who don't respect your fairy tales is sick.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • JDB-DC

      Amen to that!!

      September 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bob

    islam is a violent religion: so it gets criticized for being violent and protests(like draw mohammed day) start.

    islam is a violent religion: so muslims react with anger and hatred to criticism.

    what have we learned?

    September 17, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill from SoCal

    I like how everyone says this further illustrates that Islam is not a religion of peace. I suppose that all those bombings and murders of abortion doctors would prove the same of Christians. It's easy to look at the fringe extremists of any cause and use it to paint all followers that way. That, my friends, is called ignorance. Molly Norris' actions are also those of ignorance and disrespect, and I don't know many Christians who wouldn't be outraged if she denigrated Jesus in that fashion. I'm glad to see she's gone into hiding as a result of her ignorance, and even more glad to see she's footing the bill for it, and not us.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ausmadmaxx

      Bill: You did not get it. Max let her get fired from the job but not a threat, that is the civilized way and that is the whole point.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      Bill – a major point of these forums is the degree involved here. Western and other artists put their clear disrespect of Christianity into display weekly, and no killings are threatened. Yeah, you still have the odd wacko who kills abortion doctors, but they are the exception, not the rule. He, like the koran burner (remember, no actual person was harmed), was roundly and publicly and consistently condemned by Westerners and by Christians. Where is the muslim condemnation of actual harms, murders, death threats on this forum. ABSOLUTELY absent. If that doesn't give you a hint of the difference between the West/Christians (not the same) and muslims, you are beyond hope.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kevin

    ALL religion sucks, they ALL preach hate. Anyone that follows another mans belief blindly is an idiot.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JLS

    Looks like Molly's a lot less arrogant than when she originally popped off at the yap & proceeded to produce the stupid ego driven cartoon in the first place... It may be a stupid cartoon to the average American but obviously these people don't think it's terribly funny. Her “typical American ego” has now gotten her into a mess... Pretty un-comfortable not knowing if the person passing you on the street is about to chop your nugget off eh??? When you provoke a loon you'd better be prepared for the consequences…

    September 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mary

    People need to get over it...
    God can take care of himself.. He didn't ask anyone to go off the deep end and go fighting and killing everyone over who he is or what he wants.
    Step back, God can take care of himself..
    He doesn't need any of his puny creations to go out and beat everyone into submission.. Just offer the word..Then let it go.. What about all this strife says 'love one another'?

    September 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ausmadmaxx

      What you say is perfect. But how do the parasites survive if they cannot control the other by way of money, virgins etc....

      September 17, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      I think we need to see what the real problem is..It is not actually religion and belief' is about hatred and religion is the excuse.. the people that hate and want to kill, maim and mutilate in the name of their "religion" are nothing more than vicious people that have found a crutch to use as an excuse..
      The KKK had their organization..The Nazi's had theirs... And many use religion..
      It's about forcing their will on others.. It's in wanting everyone to think their way..We see it every day in life.. People that want to control others.,
      The bigger the organization the bigger the hate they can spew.. Because the more of a like kind they can entice and indoctrinate into to joining their hate agenda...
      God can take care of himself.. And his agenda is to "love one another"... So anyone that uses religion to spread hate..Is not doing what God wants.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Common sense laking

    I just don't get everyone... it is not about religion as much as it is about dealing with thugs. We common, smart, educated people hiding behind our laws, rights and freedom will never be a match against any thug. Try mocking a mobster, you might get whacked. Try insulting a gang member and see how fast you can run. Fundamental islamist are no different. Their rules are however very clear. They take offence when you draw a picture of mohammed. That might seem retarded but its fairly simple. No matter what rights you have, angering a thug is usually a stupid thing to do. Angering 10,000 is a death wish.

    That story reminds me of all young preppy kids that show up in a tough neigbourhood school. They find a way to get themselves a good beating because they wanted to look cool with their smarts. You can think that you are smarter than a bully but telling him that to his face might lead to a bleeding nose.

    So people, come down from your high horses, act with some common sense, don't get yourself killed for any perceived good reason like getting a point across... that's life, get used to it.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • MuslimsROCK


      September 17, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Angering Muslim thugs sounds like a terrific idea. I would welcome some Muzzie thugs trying to jump in front of my AK.
      I might even pee on a Koran and post it on YouTube with a special invitation aimed at Dearborn.

      Get over it muzzies while you still have a chance.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mark Yelka

    What words describe an organization that punishes dissent? Dictatorship, fascism, and I guess Islam come to mind.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
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