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Molly Norris moving, changing name

The accidental creator of the “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day”, Molly Norris, is reportedly moving and changing her identity according to the Seattle Weekly.

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. 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.

Last July Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is linked to the Times Square car bomb attempt and cited as inspiration for the Fort Hood, TX massacre, placed Molly on a hit list. She has been under the watch of the FBI ever since.

Community Comments

#1 Dave Crews
September/15/2010
@ 3:34 pm

Now that’s just sad.

#2 Dave Stephens
September/15/2010
@ 3:42 pm

Predictable by any 8 year old, though…

#3 Mike Peterson
September/15/2010
@ 4:01 pm

Alas, yes. It’s one thing to say things on line that would get you punched in the nose if you said them in person. When you know the Internet goes all over the world, you really ought to stop and think about who you are messing with.

#4 Topher Davila
September/15/2010
@ 9:09 pm

Something to remember when next you hear about the the Muslim faith and how they claim to be what they aren’t.

#5 Mike Peterson
September/16/2010
@ 4:40 am

… because, as we all know, if all 1.6 billion Muslims aren’t of one accord, none of them can do anything violent, stupid or psychotic.

#6 Chris Myers
September/16/2010
@ 5:05 am

Hundreds of thousands march the streets when someone wants to burn a paper book, tens of thousands protest people drawing cartoons and nobody is protesting the fact that someone needs to move and change their name because of a drawing?

Where is the 1.6 billion Muslim outrage over this?

#7 Ted Rall
September/16/2010
@ 7:17 am

It’s incredibly irresponsible of the media to report this. She should have been allowed to vanish quietly.

I am of two minds about this story. First, threatening someone’s life because of their politics is appalling. Of course, usually the threateners are Christian Americans, not Muslims.

Second, Molly’s retroactive claim that she didn’t really mean it was lame. Whatever happened to having the courage of your convictions?

#8 Tom Pappalardo
September/16/2010
@ 8:25 am

Yeah, she sort of started off with the carefree “let’s insult people on the internet cos it’s fun!” attitude, it turned into a big free speech/excuse to be hateful thing, and then she (smartly) to disassociate herself from it as fast as she could. I try to be charitable and view her as being naive (and, well, sort of a dumbass) and write it off as plain ignorance. It is unfortunate what’s happened to her, but it is a good reminder to everyone else out there that the internet (and the world) is a really really big place.

#9 Ted Dawson
September/16/2010
@ 8:32 am

Irresponsible reporting is what got her in trouble in the first place. Like it never occur to anyone that it might be a bad idea to report her name and where she lived.

I think Molly’s “retroactive” claim was due to the media making her out to be more than she was or intended to be. The whole idea of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day was to show that you could attack one cartoonist but not hundreds.

#10 August J. Pollak
September/16/2010
@ 8:33 am

No one has the right to ruin Norris’ life this way.

That’s really all I can say, because it’s been proven already in previous threads about this that there’s no way to offer an objective opinion of the controversy that started this without being met by Tea Party level lockstep verbal assaults from people demanding that if you don’t hate certain people then you hate the Constitution.

#11 Brian Powers
September/16/2010
@ 8:57 am

It’s easier to hate Christians. That whole “turn the other cheek” thing screws them every time.

#12 Mike Peterson
September/16/2010
@ 11:26 am

… and the poor beleaguered Christian martyrs whine as loud as the most militant Muslims. That’s really what most of this controversy is over — a bunch of whiners on both sides, each claiming the moral high ground and crying that everybody always picks on them.

If either side had bothered to listen to their respective Main Prophet, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

#13 Rich Diesslin
September/16/2010
@ 1:05 pm

You’d think being Chuck Norris’ sister would be safety enough. ;) It was irresponsible to report this though. Bad news.

#14 Adam Casalino
September/16/2010
@ 1:40 pm

It’s really terrible that in this day and age someone has to go into hiding because she spoke her mind.

It feels like sometimes our freedoms are less than what our country claims them to be.

#15 Chad Townsend
September/16/2010
@ 1:49 pm

I’m just thinking how terrible it is to not draw cartoons or comics ever again because of a threat upon your life. that to me is like being condemned on its own.

#16 Karyl Miller
September/16/2010
@ 2:27 pm

I heard she’s dating Rushdie.

#17 Ryan Agadoni
September/16/2010
@ 6:00 pm

@Ted Rall: I agree with your points, but your “usually it’s Christian Americans who do the threatening” non-sequitur threw me. Can you point me to where Christians have threatened people’s lives over politics, especially in the sense that it’s “usually” them? I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought of Christians as “those crazy people always threatening the lives of their political opponents.”

#18 M.D.Simmons
September/16/2010
@ 8:18 pm

Hey… I’m a Christian American. God is good… jesus saves

#19 Ted Rall
September/17/2010
@ 8:24 am

@Ryan: Ask an editorial cartoonist to show you his or her collection of death threats. They don’t come from Muslims.

#20 Pete Murphey
September/17/2010
@ 10:58 am

“@Ryan: Ask an editorial cartoonist to show you his or her collection of death threats. They don?t come from Muslims.”

A moot point, of course, because written death threats to newspapers are a dime a dozen. The real concern is about which groups actually act upon their threats. Ask those same editors which type of death threat would give them more concern, one from a Catholic extremist group or one from an Islamic extremist group?

It’s always sad that some people will put their energy into criticizing the victim over the perpetrator in these instances,
faulting the wisdom of woman who wore a lo-cut dress rather than the criminal act of the rapist who attacked her.

#21 Tom Spurgeon
September/17/2010
@ 11:26 am

People, people, there’s more than enough suck for everyone to have some.

#22 Ted Rall
September/17/2010
@ 11:31 am

I pretty much figure that a death threat is a death threat. Or are we not supposed to take them seriously when they’re issued by Christians?

#23 Matt Bors
September/17/2010
@ 11:37 am

Written death threats to newspapers don’t count! That’s the best one I’ve heard all day.

#24 Mike Peterson
September/17/2010
@ 1:46 pm

“Ask those same editors which type of death threat would give them more concern, one from a Catholic extremist group or one from an Islamic extremist group?”

What are you, 12 years old? You never heard of the Atlanta Olympics bomber? You don’t know who killed Alan Berg?

This is the most foolish thing I’ve read on a cartoon forum since the days when this rightwing troll used to post over at ToonTalk. Can’t remember his name, but you could never tell whether he was total delusional or just trying to see what kind of outrageous nonsense he could post to get a reaction. Wonder whatever happened to that screwball??

#25 Tom Pappalardo
September/17/2010
@ 2:28 pm

If I had only known death threats were so reasonably priced when purchased in quantity, I would’ve picked up TWO dozen.

#26 Dave Stephens
September/17/2010
@ 3:45 pm

What is more scary, people – Falsely labeled “Muslims” who are experts in killing who kill thousands and thousands year after year, efficiently and ruthlessly? Or fake “Christian” nut jobs who simply DON’T have the infrastructure or support to kill, kill, kill…?

Is that such a hard question to answer?

When an experienced killer with an actual body count threatens you, you should probably be afraid.

Conflating Christian wack-a-doodles with Muslim extremists is like saying off-key and clueless karaoke singers are the same as professional rock stars…

YMMV

#27 Q Bauer
September/17/2010
@ 7:08 pm

“I pretty much figure that a death threat is a death threat. Or are we not supposed to take them seriously when they?re issued by Christians?”

Ted, and any other cartoonist here who wants to compare extremist Christians to extremist Muslims, put your work where your mouth is, or stop this stupid comparison. If you were to satirize one of the prophets from either religion in a publicized cartoon, which religion would you feel safer publicizing?

And, a side note: how many South Park episodes were taken off air to appease Christians upset with the perpetual mockery of Jesus on that show?

#28 Mike Peterson
September/17/2010
@ 7:13 pm

Boy, you’ve got to really be a bigot to think Alan Berg is less dead because he got his death threat from Christian nuts instead of Muslim nuts.

It really doesn’t matter who you hate. There no degrees of death. You’re alive, or you’re dead. Those are the choices. Alan is dead, even though they were Christians.

#29 Q Bauer
September/17/2010
@ 7:27 pm

Mike,

There are fundamentalist nuts who kill because they are nuts; but the recent tragedy at the Discovery building doesn’t make me worry about speaking openly about fundamentalist environmentalists. I also don’t worry about speaking candidly and publicly about the outrages of the Catholic church, or speaking out against the politics of American Evangelicals.

Common sense should tell you that there is a greater imminent threat of posting a satirical cartoon of Islam than there is of posting a satirical cartoon of Christianity. If you think this is bigotry, then start your own draw-Mohammed day, and your own draw-Jesus day. See which fundamentalist group gives you a serious response.

#30 Rick Schmitz
September/17/2010
@ 9:12 pm

I suspect that the vast majority of death threats that newsmakers of any stripe receive are from whack jobs that have no intention of following through on their threat… it’s much easier to intimidate someone anonymously rather than in person, and harder to get thrown in jail over it.

Regardless of political or religious affiliation, my guess is 99.999% of death threats are made by people too cowardly to actually follow through on it… thanks goodness.

It looks to me like the FBI thought one of the threats that Norris received was credible enough that it was worth sending her into hiding. I don’t see this and a condemnation of all Muslims or of all Christians, just a few people who can’t play nice with others.

#31 Pete Murphey
September/17/2010
@ 9:58 pm

“This is the most foolish thing I?ve read on a cartoon forum since the days when this rightwing troll used to post over at ToonTalk”

Ah, ToonTalk, those were the days.

Mike, what is most foolish is trying to minimize the sharp distinctions between the brutally murderous, anti-Semitic, and repressive, nature of radical Islamist groups,
and the fringe elements of Catholic or other religious groups. I?m not sure if this comes from a desire to be seen as politically correct but to think of both as being equally threatening to free speech, as you and Ted both seem to be implying, is misguided and dangerous. Over the course of history all religious groups have had their moments of
committing great crimes against humanity–this is not an argument about religious superiority?but over the past few decades radical Islamist groups have been the most virulent, organized, well funded, numerous and radical in their oppression against Jews, women, homosexuals and other Muslims. No other extremist religious group holds a candle to their tyrannical and nihilistic actions and philosophy. If Molly Norris had organized a campaign to draw unflattering pictures of Jesus for a day, to help uphold and delineate the principle of freedom of expression, she might have had some people critique and protest against her, but she would not now be changing her identity and going underground to keep safe. For people like cartoonists who regard freedom and of expression of speech to be of the highest order, to be picking apart Molly Norris or minimizing the brutal reality of the specific group that has caused her to loose her ability to live a normal life is an anathema.

#32 Mike Peterson
September/18/2010
@ 5:06 am

Y’all are right and I’m wrong.

I say this mostly because I miss both Toon Talk and racs and am getting a feeling of deja vu. Not with a bang but with a prolonged series of whimpers.

#33 Ted Rall
September/18/2010
@ 5:55 am

I actually reprinted the Danish Mohammed cartoons inside one of my cartoons. Amount of resulting hate mail: zero.

I’ve gotten hundreds of death threats from people who were almost certainly Christian–others said so explicitly. Trust me, I found them no less frightening because they came from Christians.

@Dave: There’s a typo in the following line:

What is more scary, people ? Falsely labeled ?Muslims? who are experts in killing who kill thousands and thousands year after year, efficiently and ruthlessly?

You meant “Christians,” right? The last time I checked the news, the United States–whose population is more than 90% Christian–was ruthlessly and blithely massacring tens of thousands of innocent people a year.

And that’s not even including gangster capitalism, America’s main export. That kills millions of people a year.

Al Qaeda? Amateurs.

#34 Ted Rall
September/18/2010
@ 5:57 am

Let’s also remember that the fatwa on Rushdie was never rescinded. Yet he’s out of hiding, making public appearances, and not dead. He’s the most famous victim of a Muslim-issued death threat, and yet…alive. Huh.

#35 Jerry Zee
September/18/2010
@ 6:43 am

Please someone explain how you’re going to win the hearts and minds of these people.

#36 rick stromoski
September/18/2010
@ 7:58 am

>>>Can you point me to where Christians have threatened people?s lives over politics, especially in the sense that it?s ?usually? them?

I have been threatened with physical violence over my political and religious views repeatedly by Christians, some of which post on this very forum.

#37 Pete Murphey
September/18/2010
@ 8:13 am

“Let?s also remember that the fatwa on Rushdie was never rescinded. Yet he?s out of hiding, making public appearances, and not dead. He?s the most famous victim of a Muslim-issued death threat, and yet?alive. Huh.”

Let?s see, there was a failed assassination attempt on Rushdie, by a member of Hezbollah, in 1989, several people who either published or translated the book were attacked and one of them was killed, multiple bookstores that sold the book were firebombed and many people were killed during riots over the book. Huh.

#38 Alan Gardner
September/18/2010
@ 9:39 am

I’m closing comments. I have a busy weekend and can’t babysit this thread which has already been derailed into an unproductive tone. More information about the comment section’s future will be explained in the near future.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.