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. Keith

    Just a reminder, American TV shows make fun of Christianity all the time........Anyone watch "Family Guy", I don't see death threats on the writer of that show.

    All I have to say to these Muslim extremist is "grow a set"

    September 17, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jo jo

    RELIGION is a joke......Neither GOD, Mohammed, The Lord, Allah exist people.......religion is there to keep the sheep in check......

    September 17, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      I agree in part about your point about religion keeping people in check, but I think it is a bit extreme for you to say God does not exist.........i mean are you completely sure..........do you have proof God doesn't exist. I am not religious in any shape or form, but i would never tell someone that their God doesn't exist. If people want to be religious, then good for them, it doesn't bother me ( as long as they don't try preaching their beliefs to me).

      September 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeahimright

      Hey jo,
      Just because these religions have it all wrong does not mean that God is not real. Time is infinite and life complexes continually, Intelligence evolves and enhances. This universe may be a relatively new occurrence to us , but it may be a lot more common that what we would be able to tell. The Universe that we live in might easily turn out to be the Septillionth generation. Let’s not assume that these religions represent the true philosophy of theology. They don't. If we consider objectively without bias we can see just how likely God comes to be and just how probable he would also remain objective. There is no good reason to reject the Divine ever. There are always good reasons to reject religious dogmatic ignorance. Please consider these things before you negate God because the religions that claim his authority are false. God is an inevitability.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      You can’t prove G0d doesn’t exist. You just have to take it on faith.

      September 17, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chris

    Moderate Mulsims everywhere must stand up for her! Where are the members of your faith who will protect her? Who will protect the individual freedoms of an innocent citizen? They always burn effigees. what a bunch of cavemen, why don't they all go back to the dark ages where they belong.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. You bet I did

    What about a description of Muhammad? I'll paint a picture of him in your mind.

    He's a bald man with medium-toned skin. He has his left eye-brow pierced and a soul patch on his chin dyed bright red. And....he's picking his nose.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bonnetwagon

    check this out on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CReZVNkPObk

    September 17, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bababooey

    I hereby proclaim Sept. 18 "Take a Dump on the Kuran" Day. Oh yeah...and Howard Stern is actually the Prophet Muhammed.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. KJ

    I baked a Mohammed cookie and ate it head first. After I bit the head off I danced him around on my dining room table singing the theme song to Happy Days.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • allahdouchbag

      I crapped a turd that looked like Allah!

      September 17, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jeff

    Phuk them. Obama would probably cticize the woman for the cartoon in the first place. It is an indication of just how far gone these muslims are, and the enormity of the problem. It is slap down time ......

    September 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RenaP

    hope it was worth it to her. quit mocking people's religion. leave it alone already.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pablo

      Muck Fuhammed and all of his followers. When an American citizen has to go into hiding IN AMERICA because a bunch religiots want to kill you over a cartoon it's time to spart dropping very large bombs on them. Can we just nuke the entire middle east and suck the oil out from under it from a distance. We could name it New Texas, just like NJ, NH, and NY.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • You bet I did

      RenaP:

      No, we will never stop mocking people or their beliefs. That's the great thing about being an American. We can say whatever it is that we're thinking at whatever time we want to. Maybe Muslims need to stop taking themselves so seriously and realize the happiness that can bring. No, it is not worth it to murder someone because they mock your beliefs. You talk as if you think she deserves what she gets. The only thing she deserves is to be mocked back. The day you begin to drop your own beliefs (the belief in the right to free speech) in order to keep from offending someone else is the day that you allow those people to control you.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    Look out, religion of peace strikes again.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pablo

    Religion of Peace at it again.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thesaint

    graffiti artists should draw the same cartoon on all the mosqes

    September 17, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lonnie

    This is the same religion that wants to build two blocks from ground zero.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jeff

    In America, we must fight for the right of people anywhere to tell it like it is. Muhammed was a pedophile, a wife beater, a murderer,a complete and total wackjob. Everyone needs to scream i from the rooftops. Forget this Obama noodle calling for tolerance. It is time to slap some muslim ass..............

    September 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Richard

    Hard to believe that an alcoholic pedophile has such great and deep meaning to such a religion filled with peace and love for everyone

    September 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
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