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. RenaP

    You bet I did
    "That's the great thing about being an American" and what is that – we act like children making fun of other people's beliefs??? Wow! What great people we are.

    I think you are confused about the whole purpose of having freedom. It’s just being a nice human being to accept other people for who they are and what they believe and not make fun of them for it. What are you six years old?

    Just because you are obviously a person without a religion and no class – let’s not put the rest of the great people in our great county in the same category. Get a freaking life already and go after issues that really matter.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • You bet I did

      The purpose of having freedom also includes having the freedom to say things that are not so nice. And this is a real issue. This woman had to go into hiding because she practiced a freedom that was given to her by the country she was born in. The 1st ammendment does not say "freedom of press as long as it is nice and respectful."

      It says "freedom of press." This isn't about whether or not she was nice. She has every right to be as disrespectful as she wants when she feels it is necessary to do so to call someone out on what she feels is ridiculous....and it is time to do something about protecting that freedom when a group of nut-jobs hiding in a cave in the Middle East has the power to force her into hiding. That scares the crap out of me.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • You bet I did

      And you talk about respect and being nice....well, that right you just used to wrongly assume I have no religion and be mean and insult me by saying I have no class is the same right that is being threatened here. Don't you think it's pretty great to be an American so that you CAN say those things...whether that be about me and my religious beliefs or another person's?

      September 17, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ausmadmaxx

      I think you should talk to MULLAS. You sure can solve lot of problems.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ausmadmaxx


      September 17, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • merope

      RenaP–I also believe in respect for others, always have. But that does not mean I have lost my ability to see evil when it shows up. Islam is pure evil–it CANNOT be tolerated. If you respect it, you are complicit in the murders of women and gays. Evil must be fought, not understood and given a place.

      September 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Keyser Soza

    ALL Religions have their wackjobs. Is Timmy McVeigh and the people who assassinate abortion docs typical of all Christians?
    Here's my solution: Round up ALL the fundies of EVERY religion (ie the folks who hear voices, go every single church event and criticize the nonbelievers in their cult) Shoot them up with Thorazine and ECT until they become normal and then let them go. Like John Lennon said, Imagine no religion.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • cajr

      thats where you idiots are wrong. first of all, you are not going to find a christian endorsing the murder of an abortion doctor, but you will find plenty of moderate muslims who would support threatening people for even mentioning their false profit moho, hohomma, oh who cares! that makes them all extreme and should be rounded up and put in manzanar camps. but sadly it won't happen with a muslim president.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hairy Eyeball


      You little sht. Why don't you go su-ck on one of Rush Lamebags mighty tlts. We're FOR freedom in this country and our President is not a Muslim. Go get tea-bagged by Glen Beck or something.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • cajr

      hey hairy eyeball, kiss my hairy a**. you lib idiots are for freedom alright. freedom of having not to pay for your health insurance. freedom of not having to get and keep a job. freedom of not having to stay in this country legally. go ahead and believe that windbag obama is not a muslim, and your gay progressive buddies. keep drinking the koolaid. oh and say hi to your wife for metell her i'll call later. now would rush say that? huh dirtbag?

      September 17, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Retired

    How many modern day religions advocate cutting off someone's head in the name of God?

    September 17, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • purplepwrgrl

      In Revelation...........says anyone who is not willing to take the mark will be beheaded...........interesting this religion is ok with that kinda makes ya go hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.................

      September 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chaz

      purplepwrgrl: "In Revelation...........says anyone who is not willing to take the mark will be beheaded...........interesting this religion is ok with that kinda makes ya go hmmmmmmmmmmmmm................."

      As a non-Christian, even I know that passage refers to what SATAN and his minions will do to people if they don't take the mark of the Beast...not what Christians will do to non-believers. Critical thinking be all hard, ain't it?

      September 17, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lawrence Phillips

    I had a hot steamy duke that resembled Mohammed. In your f'ing eye Osama, you stupid p ussy.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. D0n

    Islam calling itself a Religion, in no way shape or form, obligates us to recognize it as a religion.
    Ban the Koran as hate literature, and treat Islam as a political party, sponsored by hostile foreign governments that also sponsors terrorism.
    Islam is not a religion.
    It is a fascist form of government and a conglomerate of war mongering militias that claims to be a religion in order to use our laws to infiltrate and destroy our democracy.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. truth


    September 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ANewThought

    These people need to GET OVER their Dark Ages ideologies and get a life. I am so tired of hearing about how they can't take a joke and think everyone is out to defile their "holy" religion. There is NOTHING holy about it- especially when it kills thousands of people, murders innocent women and children- and before you say that's not Islam- there is NO distinction for these people between their culture and Islam. Bunch of pathetic excuses for humans...

    September 17, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. OH YEAH !!!

    Kill them all and let God sort them out !

    September 17, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • facepalm

      You clueless git, WE are the ones minding our own business and exercising our freedoms. They are not.
      It makes more sense to sort out the real d-bags FIRST. But it is not yet our business and might not become our business.
      So throttle it back before someone has to do that for you.

      September 17, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cajr

    i just can't see why people are scared of these idiots? get a gun and if they come up on you put it between their eyes and send them to hell with their false religion. and if they ever want to start their holy war crap here, i say bring it on! i personally would LOVE to send these muslims to a deep, dark place.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chuck Norris

    My wife shouldn't have to change her name. That's it, I'm kicking some @ss!

    September 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Islam...and people wonder why the U.S. is turning against Islam...

    September 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Neuadan

    We should all put in a few bucks for an assassination reward that goes to the first person that kills that Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. I will put in ten dollars.... Wonder if we could get a few million ...

    September 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Barney

    Ignorant fools. They don't even know their own religion. They must forgive her if she asks. She asked many times. Secondly, they are animals lead by other animals just smart enough to manipulate the zoo.

    September 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jeff

    It is no longer a war against terrorism in m y mind, it is a war against Islam. They have seriously abused the privilige......

    September 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. getting tired

    I'm so tired of hearing about this crap. When are we going to wake up? I say level the whole place – pull our boys out and do what we should of done on Sept 12th 2001.

    Make Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like a day at the beach. As in the fine words of the famous "Marcellus Wallace"


    September 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      Yep, you and the other billion or so child rapists in the muslim world today !!

      September 17, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
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