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.”

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

    In 1988 I worked in a building in lower Manhatten that housed the publisher of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses. We literally had to sneak into our offices through back doors to evade the dozens of extremists who threatened his life. In the 22 years since the insults and threats are more intense than ever. But today's star-making machinery fuels these episodes, using such threats to build public awareness for budding clients. In the process one more layer of hate surrounds us and the fear of terror is now a part of our daily lives. We make folk heros of those who defile what is scared to others and then call out the Marines when they respond. People die. We're intelligent and educated. We should do better than this.

    September 17, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • chuckmartel

      You MORON! Yor first few sentences are good info but your PC spin on justifying the subhuman genocidal behaviour of these muslim vermin is the problem facing the US.

      September 17, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Canadian Jim

    The west needs to make it known that we value freedom of thought and belief more than we value religious principles and ideas. That in the west it is perfectly ok to support a faith or to disparage it, and that if that mkaes them uncomfortable, than they should rethink coming here. As well, death threats against Western citiizens issued by the clergy of Muslim States should be considered an act of war, or the states should be sanctioned by the UN, We ahve to agree on hwat rules we live by or we can't live together.

    September 17, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chuckmartel

    The idiot mob rule democracy of America is always whining about free speech rights of muslims. How about free speech for critics of islam? Lets ask some critics of islam.
    Dutch film guy van Gogh made a short film criticizing muslim trearment of women. Oh, no can do, muslim free speech advocate slit his throat in the middle of a street. Lets ask his associate, the Dutch lady from parliment. Oh, no can do. Laying low with armed guards because muslims have threatened to kill her. Tried to ask Danish and Swedish cartoonist's who made fun of "prophet". Oh, couldn't do that eitrher. They have armed guards protecting them because the free speech islami's keep trying to kill them. Today a one armed Chechen boxer was arrested for trying to kill the Dutch cartoonist after his letter bomb prematurely exploded in his hotel room.
    Looks like the cartoon lady in this article may be unaccesible for some time. Maybe I can talk to the South Park cartoonist guys. They did not want to die or go into hiding so they submitted to islam and may not be in danger.

    Seriously you retard PC Americans, don't you realize what has already happened to your country?

    September 17, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lance

    a religion of bombs and bullets not tollerance.

    September 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. David M.

    Hey Muslim America we have something called freedom of speech. I don't have to agree with what others say, but I do have to give them their right to say it. In your country you have no freedom, except to promote killing and terror. Just because you don't like something in America does not make it okay for you to call for the assination of someone. We may just decide to return the favor!

    September 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. UScitizen

    I've been looking for a name for my dog. I think Mohammed would be fitting. Call him "ham" for short.

    September 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • David M.

      Nah...don't insult your dog like that!

      September 17, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • BLH

      Or you could just name it after your mom.

      September 17, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Catie

    Wake up people, this is only the begining

    September 17, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • UScitizen

      You're right Catie. Just g00gle "muslims in Europe" and know that the same thing will happen here if we don't take a stand against it.

      September 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. D. Green

    See, this is the problem and evil of Islam. They can burn our flag, chant, "death to America", anything they want. Somebody insults Mohammed and there are death squads going after you, and there's no doubt that a fanatic will kill this woman. It's fine to insult Jesus and make fun of Jews, and if you do, nothing happens. You don't have to fear for your life. This is some crazy and dangerous religion. Perhaps it's not indicative of the entire religion, but there seems to be an awfully large radical element. I wouldn't call it a fringe movement, but a large segment.

    September 17, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. M Seth

    Prophethile with Aisha cartoon

    September 17, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robin

    I heart Molly Norris. Sorry for the nightmare you've been forced to live through. Good Luck GRRL!

    September 17, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wowee123

    Common sense really isn't all that common.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Magnus

    To every action is a reaction. This woman was stupid and retarded to think this would just fly over in a time like this. To be honest what happened to our respect for one another in this country. we joke about things that shouldn't be joked about, and we (americans) are perhaps the biggest hypocrites in the world, we think we are special or something as if we (majority Christian) didnt take an entire country (US) from its native inhabitants(Indians) then bring slaves from another continent for free labor,mistreated them, abused them, experimented on them physically, mentally, and emotionally( don't forget these are Christian people. they Hung them from trees almost when they felt like it. Dropped nuclear bombs ( world war 2) on other countries, covertly manipulating population control with biological weapons and etc. WOW! How can a civilization be so blatantly arrogant. We will get what we deserve. One Life

    September 17, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mabel floyd

    it will take generations to civilize the radical muslims. we still have not civilized the radicals who think they are christians as they bomb women's health clinics and shot doctors.
    both religions say they are for peace-but when push comes to shove they do not police their flock as they encourage their fringe people to violence.sometimes i think God wonders why he bothered with any of us.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy Johnson

      Well spoken comment Mabel Floyd – it works both ways doesn't it. I just can't figure out though, that if I had a Jesus cartoon contest and a Mohammed cartoon contest, which one would cause me to have to go into hiding on my own homeland? Both are peace loving religions (so to speak) ..... oh well like you said – kinda makes you wonder why God bothered with any of us.

      September 17, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Curt Sacramento, CA

    And Hillary Clinton wants us to be "tolerant" of Islam....I bet she's burka-shopping right now!

    September 17, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MuslimsROCK

    “to get even”, “fling the greatest insult at them”, do you hear yourself?

    See John, the problem with people like you is the belief that solutions to all your problems lie within your faith, when in fact, it’s the stem/root of all your problems. You have this superficial reality where good battles evil, white and black, where in reality there is no good or evil, these are human conceptions of their fears and fantasies.

    You want to get even with people you clearly fear because you lack substantial understanding of them and their cultures. You, my friend, are ignorant (don’t take it as an insult, try to use it as a challenge to better understand what you may lack understanding of)

    Also, do yourself a solid, read some technical literature and un-drill the cancer that has been drilled into your head at a young age, namely religion. whether its Muslim or Christianity, you are seeing evidence of its negative aspects first hand

    September 17, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • unspokenword

      Please read for clarity the things you just wrote. Then take 2 aspirin, lie down and place a cool towel over your forehead. I wonder exactly which part of the Quran do you support? When Mohammad was in Mecca or in Medina or both, also do you subscribe to the fact that Mohammad could neither read nor write and, although being a prophet, can it be proven that he was a prophet of God, or a false prophet? Let me know your thoughts for it will tell me worlds about yourself.

      I myself am a follower of God the one and only, the merciful, all knowing. Come onto me 'ye children of the earth for yours is the kingdom of heaven.

      And I also follow the teachings of the son of God.

      September 17, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29