Cleric’s threat forces Seattle cartoonist into hiding

Molly Norris, a political cartoonist for Seattle Weekly, went into hiding in September 2010 because of threats made after her tongue-in-cheek call for an “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day,” according to Seattle Weekly. The call was included in a cartoon Norris drew to protest a decision by the cable television network Comedy Central not to broadcast an episode of “South Park” that tested the Islamic taboo against depicting images of the Prophet.

Norris’ cartoon did not directly depict Muhammad, but included images like a smiling teapot saying, “I am the real likeness of Muhammad.” The cartoon was reposted by third parties on Facebook. A Pakistani court ordered service providers to temporarily block access to Facebook over the cartoon.

A Yemeni-American cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, declared in an English-language magazine, Inspire, excerpts of which were later posted by the website “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” that Norris “does not deserve life, does not deserve to breathe the air,” according to the New York Daily News. Norris went into hiding on the advice of FBI experts, Seattle Weekly reported.