Seattle Cartoonist in HidingSeptember 16, 2010 - 11:27 AM | by: Dan Springer
Molly Norris is no more. The Seattle cartoonist who drew a cartoon in April urging an “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” has gone into hiding out of fear for her life. Mark Fefer told readers of The Seattle Weekly that Norris has “gone ghost” and that her cartoons will no longer appear in the alternative newspaper.
The F.B.I. urged Norris to take extreme caution after a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen placed her on an execution list in July. Anwar al-Awlaki, who is linked to the failed Times Square bomb plot, called Norris a “prime target” whose “proper abode is hellfire.”
Norris was laying low for awhile and continuing to draw cartoons, but at the urging of the F.B.I. Fefer says she has “moved, changed her name and essentially wiped out her identity.”
Shortly after her cartoon was published in April, Norris apologized to Muslims, said she was just joking and asked people to NOT draw Mohammad on May 20. But it was already too late thanks to the internet. The idea went viral and quickly more than 100,000 followers were on Facebook pushing the event.
Norris is not the only journalist in hiding right now. Danish Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has been under police protection since February 2008. He also landed on a cleric’s hit list following a cartoon offensive to Muslims depicting Mohammed with a bomb for a turbin. In Islam any drawings or depictions of Mohammad are stricly forbidden.
There have been at least three attempts on Westergaard’s life. He recently received an honor from German Chancellor Angela Merkel praising him for his role in promoting the ideal of a free and open press.
In 2004 Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was assassinated following the release of his movie which was critical of Islam.
The Seattle Weekly’s Mark Fefer compared the threats made against Norris to cancer. You’re not sure if it’s critical, not that serious or even if it seems to go away for awhile never certain it won’t come back and kill you.