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. Alex

    Hey, let's build a mosque right next to Ground Zero!

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


    September 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kckaaos

    When we get a president, maybe he will help protect U. S. citizens from the muslims

    September 17, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    So, the American citizen lifts their voice when a Florida pastor almost burns Qurans – but I hear nothing from these manimals imams to dissuade them from trying to murder yet another cartoonist? I no longer see the point in considering any Muslim "moderate", not standing up for whats right (even if it means confronting your own kind) is rampant in this "religion". It is painfully obvious to me that there are no moderate Muslims, only active and passive terrorists.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Xchange

    Just another example of crazy Nazi Islam followers.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jeff

    you threaten to burn a koran, and the president of the united states calls you up, the fbi comes a calling. What has this country come to. The most vile wackjob of an american, and the most evil thing he could do was burn a koran, compared to the killings, the bombings, burning effigies, death to America. Come on Obama, get off your muslim ass, and tell it like it is. Time to back the country, the world, from Muslims.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Real boats rock

      Quit calling the President a Muslim. He isn't. And if you want to kick some Muslim a$$, he's going to be your boss, get it?
      You don't need to insult the man just because the GOP is busy bribing everyone left and right and bringing this country to a halt. If he can't get things done, there's a better than 80percent chance that the GOP is behind it.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pete Greyghost

    Someone could make a fortune if they would make tee shirts available with cartoon pics of the Islamic prophet, Mo Ham It.

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

      Yes. All Americans should band together and wear T-shirts of Mohammad on the same day. I think their heads would explode.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jeff

    everyone, quick, draw a cartoon of the king raghead, then the first muslim that pops up, between the eyes.........

    September 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. freedtoo

    Headlines....US Christians rioting, screaming "death to Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan", burning Iranian flags and effigies of Amhadinejad and the Ayatollah ..........Now that would be a story!

    September 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art


      Who needs to call for war? All we're doing is exercising our freedom of speech and expression.
      They need to prove they are not all insane.

      We're just sitting at the kitchen table drawing a few pictures. They are so insecure about their beliefs and their lack of honor that they are willing to kill us for drawing pictures.

      We don't do anything but sit and draw. Give them a chance to find some self-control and tolerance. Then maybe we can have peace.
      Or war.

      But they need to quit failing the tests we're giving them, first. The rest is up to them. How do they want to live with the rest of the world? As raving lunatics or as intelligent people with a bit of sense? This is not rocket science.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vijai


    September 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      “There is no room for play in Islam… It is deadly serious about everything” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

      September 17, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    The Religion of Peace strikes again

    September 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Barry

    Here's a picture of Mohammed from a distance


    September 17, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art

      I laughed when I finally figured it out. That's a good one!

      September 17, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Schelin

    I have no respect let any concern of these radical low life cowards who would attack a person because of what they said or drew.....kill every f@#king one of them with EXTEME PREJUDICE..........

    September 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MistaPrime

    Hey I am a Christain and I would not ever make fun of another religion but this crap is ridiculous. I have an idea how about we all draw a Mohommed and lets see how many of us go into hiding and dare those extremist threaten us. I have nothing but love for our true peaceful Islam brothers and sisters but those extremist can kiss our MOHAMMED cartoon making AMERICAN A$$ES.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. spazel

    Ya know killing seems to be their only solution for all who oppose the way they live or mock the way they live. I'm curious about killing in the quran what does it say???? Surely it doesnt suggest this??? Seems to be the easy way out.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
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