Daily Israel Report

Seattle Mohammed Cartoonist Runs for Her Life

Seattle cartoonist who stirred up Islamic ire at whimsical "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" has gone incognito because of threats against her life.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 9/19/2010, 10:32 AM / Last Update: 9/19/2010, 10:40 AM

Israel news photo screenshot

A Seattle cartoonist who stirred up Islamic ire at her whimsical "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" has gone incognito because of threats against her life. The FBI has not officially encouraged her to do so, but “top security specialists at the FBI” have advised her to hide.

As a Seattle Weekly cartoonist several months ago, Molly Norris inadvertently caused an international storm by encouraging people to draw Mohammed – something that is not forbidden in the Quran but is banned by some hadiths (Islamic texts). She promptly found herself under threat of her life: A Yemeni cleric named Anwar al-Awlaki – an American-born radical who is said to have inspired the Fort Hood Army base massacre - singled out Norris this summer as a "prime target," saying her "proper abode is Hellfire."

In addition, postings on RevolutionMuslim.com stated that other artists who drew Mohammed could wind up like Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker who was knifed to death by a Muslim murderer.

"There is no more Molly," wrote the Seattle Weekly newspaper on Wednesday. Though she is “alive and well,” the article stated, she will, “on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, [be] ‘going ghost’: moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity… She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It's all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day'  cartoon.”

The main threat against Norris was made in the June issue of  Inspire, an English-language magazine meant to help radicalize American Muslim youth. "We understand the absolute seriousness of a threat from an Al Qaeda-inspired magazine,” David Gomez, the FBI's assistant special agent in charge of counter-terrorism in Seattle told the Seattle Weekly News, “and are attempting to do everything in our power to assist the individuals on that list to effectively protect themselves and change their behavior to make themselves less of a target.”