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. ChicagoGrad

    I believe in freedom of speech as much as the next guy, but people have to realize that words can provoke a strong, and sometimes violent response. People are free to pretty much say whatever they want without fear of arrest, but intentionally provoking violent individuals is another matter. If you walk into an area controlled by a violent gang and start making offensive remarks about their members, you certainly have the right to do so. However, don't be surprised if things get ugly. People get knifed and shot for showing disrespect in this country all the time. Would Ms. Norris intentionally disrespect a gangster? Maybe she would, becasue she certainly seems short on common sense.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • MuhammedThePedophile

      You are a disgusting apologist – too PC to see the forest for the trees.

      September 17, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChicagoGrad

      All I'm saying is that people are attacked all the time in this country for even unintentionally showing disrespect to gang members. I don't see a lot of journalists going into our inner cities and intentionally disrespecting the gangs there. Most of the free speechers here are probably too afraid to even go into gang territory...let alone insult the gangs there. Since when did disrespect become a virtue? Who would Jesus disrespect?

      September 17, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roger Rabbit

      You are funny. What did you graduate from, numnuts school??

      September 17, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MuhammedThePedophile

    This is what happens when you kowtow to ignorant goat herders.If they don't like it then get the hell out of the West and don't let the dor hit you in the rear end.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChicagoGrad

      The hatred of Islam seen on this board is a product of fear. If the people posting here developed even an ounce of courage, they would realize how pathetic they look. Only a complete coward would be so overcome with fear that they would hate an entire religion.

      September 17, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MuhammedThePedophile

    Dirty Filthy Backwards Muslims Are Not Welcome In The US , nor most of the civilized world. This is a holy war- between humanity and the scourge of Islam. KILL THEM ALL

    September 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mattmchugh

    It is inappropriate, unfair, and inaccurate to judge all Muslims based on the behavior of a few extremists.

    But those extremists are some serious f–kheads.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • chuckmartel

      Just a few, huh? Gradiate duh 6th graad an leern to reed nd coount. blep blep.

      September 17, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim P

    The religion of peace right......

    9-11 Never forget, never forgive.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roger Rabbit

      Yup, I think it is about time for a good clean-out of the basement. Too much muslim rifraf.

      September 17, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Keer to islam

    I say keer to Islam and Muhammed,they know what it means......

    September 17, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Charmahal

    The whole middle east and islam is controlled by British ,they just playing Chess!

    September 17, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MuhammedThePedophile

    I am Mohammed the pedophile –
    I am the spawn of a goat and my mother who laid with it.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MuhammedThePedophile

    It is impossible to know my father as the sperm of many goats was put in my mother's womb.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roger Rabbit

      Best chuckle I had all day:):) Thanks:)

      September 17, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. menotu

    I say kill em all and let god sort them out!

    September 17, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • salman

      You mean kill all those insulting cartoonists? I'll get you the bombs.

      September 19, 2010 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. JC

    As happens so often in so many religions... people miss the point.

    Mohammed didn't want people to show his picture because he didn't want people to deify him and lose sight of the message he was spreading. Wouldn't you say that threatening to kill someone over his image is pretty much akin to deifying him? In a roundabout sort of way, Muslims who react like this are doing exactly the OPPOSITE of what Mohammed wanted.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      JC – great point! While we Christians are offended by crosses in urine and other western artists visual (and verbal) insults and disrespect towards Christian symbols, they are only symbols. Even the Bible only CONTAINS the Word of God – Jesus. The message is not holy; it brought what is holy (to us, anyway). So burning, jumping on, crapping on the Bible, while certainly disrespectful, cannot take from our belief that Jesus brought us free salvation. We won't (and should not) hurt or kill you for your opinion, even if it is disrespectful. How about giving tolerance a try, muslims? Or is it even possible to hope for such a thing from you all?

      September 18, 2010 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ron

    Now the Muslims control the US. Wake up Americans.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JEM

    Muslims pretend to be peaceful but have one goal and that is world domination through Islamization. Don't be fooled by their lies. Their religion encourages them to lie to fool the infidels. They are a plague on society.
    Islamization occurs when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their so-called ‘religious rights.’
    When politically correct and culturally diverse societies agree to ‘the reasonable’ Muslim demands for their ‘religious rights,’ they also get the other components under the table. Here’s how it works (percentages source CIA: The World Fact Book (2007)).
    As long as the Muslim population remains around 1% of any given country they will be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to anyone. In fact, they may be featured in articles and films, stereotyped for their colorful uniqueness:

    United States — Muslim 1.0%
    Australia — Muslim 1.5%
    Canada — Muslim 1.9%
    China — Muslim 1%-2%
    Italy — Muslim 1.5%
    Norway — Muslim 1.8%

    At 2% and 3% they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs:

    Denmark — Muslim 2%
    Germany — Muslim 3.7%
    United Kingdom — Muslim 2.7%
    Spain — Muslim 4%
    Thailand — Muslim 4.6%

    From 5% on they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population.They will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature it on their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply. ( United States ).

    France — Muslim 8%
    Philippines — Muslim 5%
    Sweden — Muslim 5%
    Switzerland — Muslim 4.3%
    The Netherlands — Muslim 5.5%
    Trinidad &Tobago — Muslim 5.8%

    At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islam is not to convert the world but to establish Sharia law over the entire world.
    When Muslims reach 10% of the population, they will increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions ( Paris –car-burnings). Any non-Muslim action that offends Islam will result in uprisings and threats ( Amsterdam – Mohammed cartoons).

    Guyana — Muslim 10%
    India — Muslim 13.4%
    Israel — Muslim 16%
    Kenya — Muslim 10%
    Russia — Muslim 10-15%

    After reaching 20% expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings and church and synagogue burning:

    Ethiopia — Muslim 32.8%

    At 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and ongoing militia warfare:

    Bosnia — Muslim 40%
    Chad — Muslim 53.1%
    Lebanon — Muslim 59.7%

    From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution of non-believers and other religions, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels:

    Albania — Muslim 70%
    Malaysia — Muslim 60.4%
    Qatar — Muslim 77.5%
    Sudan — Muslim 70%

    After 80% expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide:

    Bangladesh — Muslim 83%
    Egypt — Muslim 90%
    Gaza — Muslim 98.7%
    Indonesia — Muslim 86.1%
    Iran — Muslim 98%
    Iraq — Muslim 97%
    Jordan — Muslim 92%
    Morocco — Muslim 98.7%
    Pakistan — Muslim 97%
    Palestine — Muslim 99%
    Syria — Muslim 90%
    Tajikistan — Muslim 90%
    Turkey — Muslim 99.8%
    United Arab Emirates — Muslim 96%

    100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace — there’s (supposed) to be peace because everybody is a Muslim: we know however that this isnt true is it...?

    Afghanistan — Muslim 100%
    Saudi Arabia — Muslim 100%
    Somalia — Muslim 100%
    Yemen — Muslim 99.9%
    Of course, that’s not the case. To satisfy their blood lust, Muslims then start killing each other...

    September 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Is this from Quran or from bible?? Please explain.

      "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you ... Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die." – Dt.13:6-10

      September 17, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      Is this from the quran – the difference is, Christians (and Jews) haven't practiced or even quoted or acted upon the passage you mention for ... hundreds of years. Christians (practicing ones, anyway) are supposed to live by Jesus' command to love the Lord and love your neighbor as yourself (and even love your enemy, !!!). The passage you quote or something similar is being adhered to by current muslims (seen the picture of the noseless/earless girl who left her husband, the stonings and beheadings that take place often in muslims societies?). If that were to happen in Western/Christian cultures we would properly and quickly condemn them. We are still waiting for your rejection of berserk, perverted actions, all you muslims....

      September 18, 2010 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. AJ Browne

    I can't believe that something like this can happen here; freedom of speech trampled by the muslim fanatics, with ease. What is also hard to believe is that Comedy Central is self-censoring. The creators who Southpark, the show that made fun of everything under the sun, running away with their tails between their legs. Get ready for more of this folks; the more mosques we have here the more religious nuts will move here. They won't move here because the like the U.S., they'll move here because they like the opportunities that freedom provides, but make no mistake, they despise us. Pretty soon you'll have to look over your shoulder every time you say anything about Islam. All this talk by the president and others who are sharing the same delusions about peace and harmony is all nonsense.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Roger Rabbit

    It looks to me that those are not only the "terrorists" that are making threats here, but Muslims in general. So much for the so-called moderate Muslim. It will be a cold day in hell that I will donate a penny to Pakistan. May you all drown for all I care. By the way, there are hundreds, even thousands of websites, each with hundreds of cartoons and depictions of Mohamed on the what are you going to do morons?...burn the Internet?

    September 17, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
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