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. bobbbbb

    July 11th is my birthday!!!! This is to me the funniest thing I have heard today....july 11th ends the funniest insult to the worlds worlds most ridiculous past time....religion....Now my birthday kicks 2 times as much ass as it did before....thanx religies!!!! My drawing of muhammad ("') O.O ("')

    September 18, 2010 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. touchey-the-clown

    *touches bozo and muhammad on the buttox!*

    September 18, 2010 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. Abraham Lincoln

    All religion is cancerous. Doesn't matter who your prophet is, he's still a royal d-bag.

    September 18, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Micah J

    the "religion of peace" strikes again... Wake up people!!!!

    September 18, 2010 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rodror

    So they can burn an effigy of an American, but we cannot burn a KORAN???????????????????????/

    September 18, 2010 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. ChipH

    Yeah, she's NOT being put in a WITNESS protection program because she was INCITING TO RIOT in a TIME OF WAR, which
    is TREASON punishable by SUMMARY EXECUTION, Americans are so damned TRIUMPHAL EXCEPTIONIST they think they can press the WORLD TO DEATH UNDER STONES, then make a MOCKERY OF IT IN CARTOONS.

    September 18, 2010 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      ChipH – here's crushing you to death with stones – OOOooo %^)-//; see previous sentence for making a mockery of it in a cartoon! For an example of how muslims handle either situation see the fire dance above, and see how they treat those whose words or films they don't like (nun killed over the cartoons, Dutch filmmaker killed over uncomplimentary film about islam). BIGG DIFF – they are still living in the 1300's; thank goodness the west/Christianity made it through those hateful unChristian years.

      September 18, 2010 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Ituri

      All of that is absurd. She did not incite a riot in a time of war. She came up with an idea, and it went viral nearly without her help save for mentioning the idea. Thats her fault, that the internet *shock* WORKS? The "time of war" is questionable at best. How long will we be "at war" this time? 10 more years? Unless we bomb someone else and extend that. Your idea on treason and your view on Americans is short sighted, personally motivated, and not nearly as honest as you seem to think. Do catch up, reality is nowhere near that simple.

      September 18, 2010 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. MohammedWasAPedo

    The religion of peace? They try to use our freedom of speech to build their victory masque and ram it down our throats but we cant right cartoons? These are barbaric murderous people

    September 18, 2010 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. MohammedWasAPedo

    No peace i Islam. Only oppression and violence

    September 18, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • DaLe

      You are barbaric, oppressive, bearing false witness and your speech is violent.

      September 18, 2010 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Curious

    Yeah, Islam sure is a "religion of peace."

    September 18, 2010 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
    • DaLe

      Sure beats being a 'country of sodomy and hypocrisy' any day, doesn't it?

      September 18, 2010 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. funny

    Wow, i am amazed. You had the determination and drive to draw the cartoon, and now you are so scared that you had to go into hiding. Stand up and face what you started. Don't let these guys scare you off.

    September 18, 2010 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Realist

    To the people who have drawn the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We will launch of jihad/crusade and call for your assasination!

    No religious fools there is no eternal bliss awaiting for your after you detonate that explosive vest, which the rest of the world now associates with your religion.

    September 18, 2010 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. facingthetruth

    Perhaps America should try bombing some more peace into the middle east.

    September 18, 2010 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Glass Master

      Glass is prettier than sand anyway.

      September 18, 2010 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
    • DaLe

      While at it, perhaps they could drop you out of the plane instead of bombs?

      September 18, 2010 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ituri

    The "Religion of Peace" strikes again. This got old a long time ago. How about we go back to pre-9-11 days when these violent nobodies COULDN'T GET AWAY WITH THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR? Thats right. After two wars, we are MORE LIKELY to be molested by these people for stupid reasons like this, because they know they can aggitate us. We've let them feel important, and now they're acting out like a child with newly gained allowance money and no guidance. Anyone else feel "safer" today than before 9-11?

    September 18, 2010 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
    • D

      pre-9/11 = Bush/Dick '00 = people voting for politicians based eg. on 'funny' names. What a democracy!

      September 18, 2010 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. jesse

    what crap!! they should have burned that damn koran!! we shouldn't let these nut jobs put ANY American into hiding. when the hell are we going to stand up for ourselves??

    September 18, 2010 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      The Eagle has been emasculated and its talons are gone.

      September 18, 2010 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Herndogger

    Remember the word Islam means submit or surrender............................

    September 18, 2010 at 2:49 am | 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