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. Onoku

    We have to stop letting ourselves get bullied by belligerent muslims. It is ridiculous what they have done to our way of life. Our country's leadership needs to step up and acknowledge that islam is a threat to our way of life and confront that threat head on.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Arglebargle

    Islam is a religion of peace. Allah is a kind and merciful god.

    It's just their frikkin' followers you can't trust and who'd sooner shoot ya than allow ya an opinion.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Monty

    Who the FAQ is this clown anyway that anything we do or say is a death sentence? And we now have to be scared stiff of these hoodlums? And they can erect mosques anywhere they want to? I really think it is high time the government step in and put an end to this nonsense. Enact a law simply stating that "for every American killed in Afghanistan or anywhere in the world by confirmed towel-heads, immediate mass deportation is our retribution regardless of their stature here." It is time we openly discriminate against this so called peace-loving yahoos' or we're forever doomed. Can't wait to see Home Depot sell towel-head repellent bug spray for our protection!

    September 17, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • wacky

      can we also enact a law that sends u to the moon...

      September 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. goatlover

    This is unbelievable! Why are WE AS AMERICAN'S TOLERATING THIS???? If we don't wake up, our country is lost.
    Maybe it is too late. I already know where to find my Hi-jab! Right down the street!
    This is AMERICA for heaven's sakes!
    Sadly, I see war ahead, on our own soil. 🙁 Already happened on 9-11.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lee

    Though I'm not a South Park fan but I did see the one with Jesus portrayed in it..I didn't get bent out of shape. That show is designed to poke fun. No biggie. It's fun to laugh.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • scranton

      That's because of their lack of education. So sad when the uneducated get their way.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ViiRaL

    See, this is why you respect the religions of others. It serves this lady right, she is stupid for trying to try and force people to draw Muhammad and disrespect the Islam religion. She already knew that it would spark controversy, especially after the South Park episode. This lady's ignorance is the only true cause, the fault lies with her. Now the radical Muslims dislike her, and knowing them...they will be able to find out who she is probably.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • skwirrl

      muslims are far too stupid for that.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • scranton

      You cannot be serious? Is the Islam faith that insecure? Sorry but this is America and freedom of speech covers this sort of activity whether it is right or wrong. Seem Muslims like to be on a one way street when if comes to criticizing religions.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • goatlover

      I'm sorry but your logic is totally illogical.
      You cannot KILL somebody because you don't like what they said! duh

      September 17, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dwighthuth

    Amazing the Religous Right once again paying CNN to censor people by blocking their ability to login to post their comments under Free Speech. It goes to show how childish the Religious Right really is only wanting to hear their own crap at trying to return America to some white-only era in history. Let's put the religious right where they need to be in the same pen with Feisal and the rest of the nutters who only value what they can read from a book where the events of said book took place 2010 years ago. Unbelievable that the religous right even exists. Did you know the OSS now known as the CIA assisted Communist's in Greece after WW2 to oust the Nazi's.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • goatlover

      do what?

      September 17, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. txjoe57

    THIS is how the "peaceful" religion of islam acts. A sad day for the United States.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. scranton

    What an uneducated insecure bunch of muslims. How evolution has passed these idiots by is a mystery. Conoclast your unimportance saves you from being on anyone's hit list. You are too ignorant to matter.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dumb muslims

    Digger says "What's "unbelievable" is how ignorant Americans can be of other cultures." Why does the Islamic community expect America be tolerant of their culture if they have no tolerance for ours? If we do anything that they don't like, the death threats start. This is ridiculous! How much longer will we tolerate this terrorism from the Islamic extremists?!?

    September 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      It's not just the fanatics. I keep looking for that needle in a haystack – the muslim who stands up publicly, if anonymously, to criticize the crazed muslims reactions like the wackos around the fire in the picture above. Thankfully, I have read occasional editorials/letters to the editor in the WA Post that aren't kneejerk endorsements of muslim positions, e.g. on the mosque, etc. BUT, you will NOT find a muslims who condemns a..hole muslim actions of hatred like the story above. Why NOT? Only the muslims can answer that. They can write, evidently, but it may take a few decades for them to see that being human and civilized means criticizing hatefilled actions, even if they come from your people or your imom. The Germans suffered for years for their allowing Hitler to practice his hatred. When will the muslims step up??

      September 17, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buck Ofama

      Well put. I have no respect for the religion of terrorism. My picture of Mohammed looks like a turd.
      Here's what I think of Islam.....
      http://www.codeismylife.com/ascii_poo/1006.html

      September 17, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Spark

    Islam – the religion of peace
    Check out this SATIRICAL facebook page, which really hammers home the point:
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Behead-those-who-insult-Islam/128482313868318?ref=ts

    September 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Embarassed American

    What many of you have been led to believe others are commiting in the name of Islam, others in Muslimas countries are committing in the name of Christianity. In fact, soldiers in Iraq were told to "kill all males" when they entered a village. Isn't that taken straight from Christian Biblical text or not? Others were told this war was sanctioned by the Christain God. Therefore, no matter what horrors they committed, God would forgive them.
    Believe me when I say, those people don't care about America's religion or America's WAY OF LIFE. They just don't want the West and Europe(Britain to be exact) coming into their country, stealing their natrual resources(oil) and telling them how to live and how to worship.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • scranton

      I am embarrassed you are an American. I also am embarrassed for your ignorance.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • goatlover

      Actually no it wasn't taken from Christian Scriptural Text. And when were they told to "kill all males"?
      Back up your statements with FACT.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • unspokenword

      Where did you get your facts? That has to be the craziest thing I've ever heard of.."kill all men" .. ahem, I need to lie down after that one.

      September 17, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mary

    My last word here..
    God can take care of himself.. Anyone that thinks they are doing God's will by hurting others for their beliefs is not doing God's will..No matter what they call him..
    God is a god of love.. And he never asked anyone to beat anyone down in his name.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • unspokenword

      Well spoken, Mary!

      September 17, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Common Sense

    Seems like it boils down to this: In the U.S., we have our nutjobs and zealots, sure! We marginalize them! We keep them out of our dinning rooms. We don't let them get any real power and when they cross the line hurt somebody, we lock 'em up or put em down like the wild dogs they are....that's what you (the majority) do with your broken, crazy or otherwise "f"d-up individuals in a civilized society......Now in the "Land O' Muhammed" it seems like even the "good" muslims hide an embarrassed smile behind their veils when some dusty old man cuts somebody's hands off or beheads some foreigner in "God's" name. From our perspective (We the People) it looks like Y'all let your crazy people run your house! Every time one of your "faithfull" goes on TV and threatens some journalist, or blows himself up in a market full of civillians and kids AND YOU DON"T IMMEDIATELY HAND THE WORLD HIS HEAD (OR WHATS LEFT OF IT) ON A PLATTER WITH A SINCERE APPOLOGY PINNED TO HIS FOREHEAD, well it just seems to the rest of us that you eith don't have the stones to run your own show,or you secretly harbor the same resentment towards us as your freaked out brothers do.

    That's why we end up over there with our tanks and guns and medicines and school books and telephone exchanges and computers for your kids – YOU NEED TO SHOW US YOU CAN BE A PEACEFULL, TOLEERANT PART OF THE WORLDS SOCIETY!!! and when you let these degenerate, sociopathic zealots be your mouthpeice and DON'T STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES TO DEMONSTRATE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD YOUR STATED COMMITMENT TO PEACE BY LOCKING THESE FREAKS UP.....well here we are.....so watch it Muslim World...You are either gonna play nice or be removed from the game...count on it.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sansculotte

    ( :
    Oh look! It's the Prophet Mohammed.
    Take your stupid religious beliefs and shove 'em where the sun don't shine.

    September 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
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