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. Joe

    Remember Salman Rushdie, He wrote Satanic Verses and was threatened with death. Accurate or not I read the book and found it incredibly feasible. All of you Christians out there, what are you saying about Hawkins saying God does not exist? A devout Muslim would have killed him by now for saying something like that about Mohamed. Satanic indeed.

    September 18, 2010 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Herndogger

      He never said god didn't exists..........He said he didn't create the universe

      September 18, 2010 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. fireybuddha


    September 18, 2010 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Chuck

    I just looked – is available on godaddy for $12/yr... LET'S DO IT!!!!!

    September 18, 2010 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
    • D

      Jesus-faces not enough for your sick phantasies?

      September 18, 2010 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. chillipepper

    Religion of pieces. Heads and hands. And blowing yourself up killing many innocents everyone is at piece then

    September 18, 2010 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. content pessimest

    The allies in WW2 had the power to stand up and defeat Nazism. The Islamism that we see today is what Nazism would have been if it were allowed to succeed. We wouldn't dress Nazism up as a religion and we shouldn't try and hide from the truth and dress Islamism up as a religion either. Some people who are held hostage by the Islamism are innocent and we should refrain from calling them the "m" word. We should unite with all the people who believe in freedom and fight Islamism with the same vigor that previous generations fought Nazism.

    September 18, 2010 at 5:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. D

    In other news, the White House still didn't release the photos of abuse on prisoners. But hey, instead of worrying or talking about something like that, let's rant about non-sense, right?

    September 18, 2010 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. ooooo yessss

    Is this enough proof of the "religion of peace", and the text within its covers?????? Do we really "need" the Imam trying to sell us construction of a building which will breed more of this?????

    September 18, 2010 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. joe

    mohommad and me pi ssed all over each other last night and i took a massive juicy du mp down his throat.....less

    September 18, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      i was there...i saw you and mohommad....he even tasted my cu mshots.............less

      September 18, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ether

    Norris new I'd is Alice. She now works in the Umbrella Corporation. Goodlluck zoombies.

    September 18, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. termlimits

    Animals at work!!

    September 18, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jaysonerex

    Most people like to draw clowns. Why should they not draw the face of the biggest clown of all? It is not fair.

    September 18, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Godless Infidel

    Why is that SOME Muslims feel that they have to kill anyone who draws an image of Mohammed, and yet they say they are the most tolerant religion? When Christians are unhappy about any of their religious icons being made light of or trampled on, they just demonstrate against or boycott the magazine/movie/store/actor/product etc. I think it is because Christians feel secure that they are protected by their God, and THESE Muslims feel insecure, and they have to protect their God from all the godless infidels. Whatever...What the hell is their Holy Book telling them to do?

    September 18, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • buddha

      respons to godless infidel. I'm afraid you're mistaken about your generalization about christians being secure and muslims being insecure. Christianity's spread is a result of conqouring and theft. This very nation does did not originate with christians. what we have here is fundamentalism. Whether Christian, Jew, Musclim, Buddhist, Atheist, Communist or whatever, any ideology blindly accepted without constant critical examination can be reduced to violence. Any doctrine that advocates violence to those who think differently is clearly an erroneous and inferior teaching.

      December 6, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. darren

    religion who justified killing of people who against and insult their religion and a cult or devil incarnation just to disunite the people...look at the history of islam and u will see a violent cycle of death.....this world wont have any peace until people start to realise there is no God and all this while they have been blindly believe this medieval cult..

    September 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. salman

    Do you have an address, Molly? Could you please publish it here. Or anyone knows? I’d like to have them drop by just to check how your mom and dad are doing…. and may be…. Which school are kids going to? Could you please come out of the hiding and get this over with and cool off the whole thing? Please… Molly. I love you, you are cute- without blood on your face.

    September 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ?

    islam isnt a violent religion at all....

    September 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
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