“It’s essential that we stand by her side, as a community, Muslims along with everyone else,” Bukhari said. “We should stand up to people who make these kinds of threats, not look the other way.”

Yet there’s been a “low-grade indifference” to Norris’ plight, Jackson says. Public officials haven’t contacted her, not even privately.

“Here’s a case of a wanted terrorist demanding the head of a Northwesterner,” Jackson wrote on the Web site Crosscut. “Why, then, has Molly Norris been met by the mother of all silence?” 

*****

     I wanted to post this to show my support for what Molly was originally going for with this cartoon, and that is to show solidarity with the folks at Comedy Central when they poked fun at Muhammad. Of course jihadists threatened them, and they also threatened Molly, and both Comedy Central and Molly for whatever their reasons were, stopped.  What kind of message does that send? And the Seattle Weekly should be changed to the Seattle Weak Knees. You guys should have backed up Molly and stood your ground against these idiots.

     Why do artists and media groups continue to ‘bow down and kiss the ring’ of these Islamic extremist dorks? For all you folks know, it was some 12 year old kid on a computer trying to get your goat.  I say press on and exercise your right to free speech.

    Even if it was legitimate terrorists, these guys are weak sauce. I have been making fun of these idiots for awhile now and it is an essential part of my wonderful day! lol (the Potential poster is my all time top post on the blog-go figure?) I actually want them to say something, just so I can get a good laugh and channel more traffic to the blog.

   There is another reason for why you should not back down.  Terrorism works, when you actually show fear. hint hint? So Molly, keep your name, get out of hiding, and draw Momo! Free speech only remains your right if you have the courage to fight for it. Inshallah. –Matt

Facebook Page for Draw Momo And Be Happy Day here.

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The cartoon that started it all.

Terror threat to Seattle cartoonist should draw response

Danny Westneat

September 18, 2010

The case of the Seattle cartoonist who used to be named Molly Norris makes me wonder: Shouldn’t we be sturdier than this?

The case of the Seattle cartoonist who used to be named Molly Norris makes me wonder: Shouldn’t we be sturdier than this?

Last week Norris made worldwide news, when it was announced she was “going ghost” because she had been put on an Islamic terror hit list.

“There is no more Molly,” wrote the Seattle Weekly newspaper, where her cartoons once ran. “On the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is … moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity.”

This news was bewildering. The FBI had insisted a U.S. citizen renounce her identity, all because some radical in Yemen doesn’t like her art?

It turns out to be more complicated than that. The FBI says it never insisted Norris go underground. But it is true, her friends say, that an al-Qaida terror threat is driving a Seattleite to change her name and give up her art. It has happened without a peep of concern, either public or private, from Seattle’s political power structure.

The back story is that last April, Norris, 49, drew a satirical cartoon calling for an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” She was protesting the TV network Comedy Central, which, under threat of violence from a Muslim group, had edited out references to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad from an episode of “South Park.”

Norris felt the network should stand up for free speech.

What happened next is that Norris lost control of her story to the fever swamps of the Internet.

Two students in Europe started a Facebook campaign for drawing Muhammad. That attracted such a wave of anti-Muslim bigotry and offensive cartoons that Pakistan briefly banned the social-network site.

Norris was horrified. She apologized. Her idea of a “day” to draw Muhammad was never serious. She had meant to back free speech, not trash an entire faith.

Two months later, Anwar al-Awlaki, a cleric in Yemen with ties to al-Qaida, included Norris on a hit list of artists for making “blasphemous caricatures” of Muhammad.

It’s real, the FBI warned. Agents met with Norris this summer and occasionally have checked on her since. Security experts suggested she take a lower profile, said David Gomez, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle office.

But Gomez told The Seattle Times the FBI did not insist she vanish into a sort of witness-protection program.

“Whatever she did, it is what she decided to do,” Gomez said.

Pete Jackson, a local freelance writer, said he had lunch with Norris on Friday — two days after the Weekly story ran. It was his understanding the FBI’s advice consisted of things like varying walking routes and, “How to do the bomb walk around your car.”

“Her fear is very legitimate,” Jackson said. “but some of the details are getting blown out of proportion.”

Here’s one: Norris never drew a likeness of Muhammad in the first place.

One of her biggest defenders turns out to be the director of the local chapter of a Muslim rights group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. It’s all a misunderstanding, he says, a sign of the inflamed times.

“She drew cute pictures of tea cups and spools of thread, asking, ‘Am I Mohammed?’ ” says Arsalan Bukhari. “The idea of the ‘Draw Mohammed Day’ was insensitive, and she apologized for that. But she wasn’t the founder of any anti-Muslim movement.”

The two went to dinner after Norris apologized, and they became friends.

Bukhari says the real threat isn’t in Yemen. It’s that someone here will be incited by the terrorist in Yemen. The way to combat infectious radicalism, especially when it’s based on a false premise, is to be strong, publicly, against it. While not marginalizing an entire faith.

“It’s essential that we stand by her side, as a community, Muslims along with everyone else,” Bukhari said. “We should stand up to people who make these kinds of threats, not look the other way.”

Yet there’s been a “low-grade indifference” to Norris’ plight, Jackson says. Public officials haven’t contacted her, not even privately.

“Here’s a case of a wanted terrorist demanding the head of a Northwesterner,” Jackson wrote on the Web site Crosscut. “Why, then, has Molly Norris been met by the mother of all silence?”

Maybe it’s squeamishness about touching off another round of Muslim-bashing. There’s also a legitimate worry that talking about Norris may make her troubles worse.

When the author Salman Rushdie was put under a fatwa, the British government not only spoke out against it, but paid for a security detail. Maybe that fanned the flames. But it was their way of not buckling.

“There’s got to be a path, somewhere between the multiculturalists on the left and the Islamophobes on the right, where we can support this person who is one of us,” Jackson said. “She’s dangling out there.”

I’m relieved to learn our government didn’t compel anyone to give up who they are. But the terrorist’s goal is to terrorize. It still seems we’re letting this one too easily achieve it.

Story here.

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On the Advice of the FBI, Cartoonist Molly Norris Disappears From View

Her work won’t be in Seattle Weekly anymore, or anywhere else.

By Mark D. Fefer

September 15, 2010

You may have noticed that Molly Norris’ comic is not in the paper this week. That’s because there is no more Molly.

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.

Norris views the situation with her customary sense of the world’s complexity, and absurdity. When FBI agents, on a recent visit, instructed her to always keep watch for anyone following her, she joked, “Well, at least it’ll keep me from being so self-involved!” It was, she says, the first time the agents managed a smile. She likens the situation to cancer—it might basically be nothing, 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.

Story here.