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. truth

    I ACTUALLY DID FIND HIS IMAGE ON MY BREAKFAST WAFFLE BUT WAS TERRIFIED TO TELL ANYONE!

    September 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Metallica

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha rotflmao

      September 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alla

      Did you pour syrup on him?

      September 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. FN Jerk

    Thats right CNN doesnt like the 2nd amendment. Censorship queens!!!

    September 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Metallica

      I believe you mean the 1st amendment Einstein...though the 2nd amendment would be put to good use on some of the muslim extremists.

      September 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Floria sigmundi

    This is ridiculous and more to prove Muslims are hostile to public safety. This violates freedom of speech an expression and censorship of someones ideas. If the Muslim community can't learn to deal with opinion then they should go into hiding away from a society that knows how to function properly. All those people have been brainwashed and need to wake up. Their religion seems like a self-esteem issue I think Muslims don't live their true lives as they wish but follow like robots just like the southern Christians in the US with gay marriage and racism. People need to worry about themselves and stop trying to make themselves feel relevant by harassing others for their opinions or beliefs

    Check out this video on YouTube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUJ4bL6O3uw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    September 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Regis990

      The acting in that film is the biggest bomb of all...

      September 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. humboldt student

    wow. when are these primative barbarians going to evolve.. how could they condone such violent behavior because of cartoon.. these extremist will have a secure place in hell

    September 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mary

    No one is above being made fun in in the US. NO ONE. You don't like it .... leave.

    September 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian Paul

      F%@K those radical islamic idiots. Crawl back into your cave and stay there. The big war is yet to come and everybody better be ready. They won't rest until they take over the entire planet.

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

    Why does the chicken have to change her name?

    September 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Atheist

    There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. We MUST fight for our way of life. To give in to these pigs is to show extreme cowardice and weakness. This cartoonist is a hero and should be applauded for her courage and her flagrant patriotism. Muslims can cry and whine, just like Christians do every time someone 'disrespects' Christianity, but when they start making death threats and attacking us, it's time to kick some ass.

    September 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ausmadmaxx

      Look at what happened to the French, British and other European Societies with the growing Cult. For the US its not the time to be lenient. It is time to kick ass now or get ass kicked later.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tom, Long Beach, California

    bring it on muslim clowns....we cannot wait to go jihad on your sory butts..........look forward to putting one between your eyes

    September 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gvillet

    So when it comes to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, we Americans are supposed to bow down and allow the Muslims to take this from us? The thing is our government is telling (advising) us Americans to do this. This is so much bigger than a tablet of the Ten Commandments outside a small county courthouse. Us Americans are not supposed to stir the pot, upset or disrespect the Muslims. It will put people in danger. At what point do we stop and say..."The Muslims have taken over our country!"..."We are running scared!" It sounds like we're saying it now.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. holiday

    funds for imam Rauf mosque in NYC are connected to the terrorists Hamas. check it out.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Loren

    The following is a picture of the Prophet Mohammed:

    Isn't he just amazing!

    September 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Loren

    Is it a religion or a political movement?

    September 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ausmadmaxx

      Yes, You are thinking straight. It is a Cult and Political combo.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jose

    why should we be all scared because some people are so sensitive about their religion? where is our freedom? Muhammed was not even a prophet.. they even know that and are afraid to admit it..thats why they get the way they do when their religion is being attacked..

    September 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SBum

    Peaceful religion? Only a few that are jihadists? Over a drawing? And the FBI recommends hiding? Wow. This place is messed up. And WE are the infidels...go figure!

    September 17, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ***

    There are millions of Islamic/Muslim people in the world...surely someone in that camp has a sense of humor that can tell these guys to lighten up.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • You bet I did

      no kidding.

      Literally.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      What? And end up like the girl in this article?

      September 17, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
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