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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 09/16/2010

'Draw Muhammad' cartoonist MOLLY NORRIS changes name, goes into hiding at FBI's insistence [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna

Note: This report was originally published Sept. 15.

Seattle Weekly announced Wednesday that it will no longer run Molly Norris's artwork. The newspaper is also reporting that legally, there is no more "Molly Norris."

Norris -- the Seattle-based illustrator whose cartoon sparked "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day!" earlier this year and a subsequent fatwa against her -- has gone into hiding and changed her name at the guidance of the FBI, reports the Seattle Weekly, which says:

"The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, 'going ghost': moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor."

Seattle Weekly also says that the artist likens the situation to cancer -- the threat could be benign, it could be more serious and sudden.

Comic Riffs had last communicated with Norris in July. Update:On Thursday, Comic Riffs was able to contact the artist, who directly confirmed the report.

Several months ago, FBI officials alerted Norris to what they were treating as a "very serious threat," according to a report. At that time, Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki said that Norris was a "prime target" for execution and that her "proper abode is hellfire."

Awlaki, a New Mexico-born 39-year-old, has been called arguably the highest-profile English-speaking supporter of violent jihad. He has been linked to the recent Times Square bombing attempt and reportedly inspired Texas's Fort Hood massacre.

Norris drew her "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" cartoon in April in response to Comedy Central's editing of its program "South Park" and the animated show's attempts to depict Muhammad -- and to satirize reactions to any effort to ridicule Muhammad.

On April 25, shortly after Norris created her "anti-censorship" cartoon, Comic Riffs broke the news that Norris was distancing herself from the illustration:

"I made a cartoon that went viral but [this campaign] isn't really my thing," Norris told Comic Riffs. "Other folks have taken it over."

On May 19, Norris told Comic Riffs that she attended a Seattle-area "Seerah Conference that was started by a local mosque four years ago after the Danish cartoon debacle. The folks there had to babysit me because I was so upset by this whole viral phenomenon."

Several months ago, Norris's April YouTube video of her explanation for the cartoon was "removed by the user." In that video, Norris apologized to "everyone of the Muslim faith who has or will be offended" by her cartoon and supported calling off "Everyone Draw Mohammed Day," which was staged May 20. She also urged America's Muslims and non-Muslims to come together -- to meet "halfway."

[h/t: dailycartoonist]


'Draw Muhammad' artist placed on execution hit list; her online sites disappear

'Draw Muhammad' artist gains a surprising client -- in Pakistan

17 Pulitzer-winning cartoonists 'condemn threat' against 'South Park' creators

Post-'South Park': Cartoonist retreats from 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!'

Apologetic 'Draw Muhammad' cartoonist urges 'Draw Al Gore' instead

By Michael Cavna  | September 16, 2010; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  General, The Political Cartoon  | Tags:  Everybody Draw Muhammad Day, Molly Norris, Seattle Weekly  
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Next: 'NEXT GREAT CARTOONIST': See the 'Imogen Quest' comic that DIDN'T make today's paper


According to Obama this is all her fault and her behavior has put troops in danger.

Posted by: cleancut77 | September 15, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

By April 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama approved the targeted killing of al-Awlaki.

Posted by: yanghunt | September 15, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I knew this was going to happen. Some locals in Seattle never took 9/11 seriously because they were 3000 miles away from Ground Zero.That newspaper, THE STRANGER has a long history of being inflammatory and disrespectful. They think they can mouth off to others and not have consequences. I do NOT support any violence against Molly or anyone, however, it was a stupid thing to do. Suddenly the war on terror just got a little bit closer now, didn't it?

Posted by: don71 | September 16, 2010 3:11 AM | Report abuse

Let's hear it for the "religion of peace." Another round of applause for the instantly outraged.

Posted by: olddog1 | September 16, 2010 4:55 AM | Report abuse

In place of the "reasonable person", we now have the "unreasonable Muslim" standard. The "heckler's veto" may be forbidden under the Constitution, but the Obama Administration has given tacit endorsement to the "terrorist's veto" when it comes to freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Posted by: RhymesWithRight | September 16, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse

don71, Seattle Weekly and The Stranger are two entirely different publications. And besides, this really has nothing to do with 9/11 or proximity to Ground Zero, Mecca, Denmark, or Comedy Central's corporate offices.

Posted by: jalister | September 16, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

We live in a country that explicitly supports burning the US flag, and portraying Jesus Christ in urine. But now we are going illegalize free speach in order to cower before Muslim extremists? Would our "christian, not muslim" president be supporting a law that would have banned the piss Christ as he is will to support laws against speaking your mind against Islam for fear of offending them?

Posted by: BRD88 | September 16, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Naive liberal much?

Q: What's the difference between the Koran-burner and Molly Norris?

A: She changed her name, went into hiding, and took up peeing down her leg as a hobby. ... The Koran-burner? He went on TV!

Posted by: couwnt | September 16, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

please check out

Posted by: Nabihah | September 16, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

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