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. mike summers

    john lennon had it right 35 years ago IMAGINE NO RELIGION

    September 17, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    Look at the picture – these people are animals. I look forward to the day we round them up and put them in camps.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • JEM

      I fear the day they put US in camps!
      Perhaps we are starting to understand how it must feel to live in Israel and have the UN condemn
      any effort towards defending yourself against these "People".

      September 17, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ratkartz

    So let's make this guy pay the "security" costs for his free speech work, just as they do in Fascist Florida.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. karen h

    Doesn't suprise me. For the most part, this is high school at a bigger level but you have no one to bail you out. LOL in a sick way- GOOD MORNING AMERICA

    September 17, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    What a peaceful group of people

    September 17, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dorothea7

    I don't know what's worse, the fanatics who threatened Molly or the politically correct wusses who try to tell us to appease the fanatics. Both are the enemy, the wusses just can't pull their heads out of their wazoos long enough to realize it.

    September 17, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. KPJ

    Kiss my butt up in my hood spouting that crap and u better be wearing a suicide vest.......If not we will help u to old allah real quick. It America and i can say, draw what the f–k i want. We are gonna get tired of you BS and start putting the fear of God in u my camel driving friends. You muslims are cowards anyway...suicice bombs, beheading tied up victims......stand up and fight man to man once and a while....Take that backwards, hate filled, gutter religion and pound sand...........These colors dont run baby. America love it of leave it....................

    September 17, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Milke Honcho

    This is way they cannot enjoying the same religious freedoms like the other religions in this country. When they learn to allow people to freely express how they feel about Islam, then maybe the can build a mosque anywhere they want. We need to stop being terrorized by this religion.

    September 17, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. wazzup

    In hiding....for the last couple weeks, since the mosque controversy, I keep hearing that islam is a relagion of peace. If so, why does she have to hide. Maybe the New York imam who wants to build his wounds healing mosque near Ground Zero can explain why a US citizen needs to hide from islamic followers.

    September 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • salman

      America is land of the free. So let us build the Islamic center right on the Ground Zero.

      September 19, 2010 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ipanema

    If anyone has ever been anywhere near the Middle East they will understand the primitive behavior of a large group of Muslims. It is not PC to say it, but to be honest these are people living in a time warp. They may have all the trappings of modernity, but intellectually, as a group, in general, they are closer to medieval England (and that too is a stretch) or earlier. They may prevent people from having freedom of religion, except for Islam, but as one who grew up in India, and saw their backwardness first-hand, advice to those of us in the U.S. who value our freedom, we should not cower to these zealots.

    September 17, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Starspangledgirl

    I'm not a hater but we have been turned into a nation of dummies.. We have been putting up with this crap since 9/11 while these people are allowed to do anything to us and under the guise of a peaceful religion. These people have spread like a bad rash not just here buy in many countries. We are not allowed to say hey I don't like them. We have been trained to accept everything they dish out. I say if we don't like it we should be able to say so and the doors to this country should have been closed after 9/11. But no we sit here while the slowly take over.

    September 17, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tedlo

    Animals. They need to be treated like rabid dogs. Put down. Here is mohammed image. () – : &

    September 17, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |

      Your drawing of the holy prophet is very pretty. 🙂

      September 17, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Allah

    These guys have no sense of humor. Can't make fun of a fat bearded guy in a turban anymore? And by the way, how the heck do they know how this mohamed clown looked like?

    September 17, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Allahu SUCKBAR

    I have a gun and my bullets are dipped in pig fat just in case I have to defend myself from some extremist.

    September 17, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Starspangledgirl

    Oh and another thought maybe we should ALL draw something that they deem offensive and they can come and try to kill us all!

    September 17, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
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