July 14, 2010 by staff
Molly Norris:(CNN (blog)) –A Seattle artist who drew a cartoon about the Prophet Muhammad has been warned by the FBI about the death threats made against her by a radical cleric with ties to Al Qaeda, an FBI agent said Tuesday.
“She should be taken as a main objective of the killings,” terrorist suspect Anwar al-Awlaki allegedly wrote about artist Molly Norris on English-language magazine called Inspire was intended as a publication of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
“This campaign is not a practice of freedom of expression, but a mass movement at national level with the Americans” who are “out of their way to offend Muslims worldwide,” the article signed by the -Awlaki continued. Al-Awlaki is the same as looking in Yemen for his alleged role as a planner of the assassination attempt on a passenger plane bound for Detroit on Christmas Day last year.
Norris has been advised to take precautions to ensure their safety, said the FBI special agent Marty Prewett.
“The FBI always examine and assess the information it receives,” Prewett said. “Every time the FBI comes into possession of information of a threatening nature to an individual, to let that person know so they can take appropriate security measures. Such is the case here.”
Prewitt declined to comment when Norris is and if she is receiving police protection. Al-Awlaki also threatened to eight other artists, journalists and writers from Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Norris started a controversy in April with an online cartoon about an imaginary group called “Citizens against citizens against humor” that
proposes a “Draw Mohammed Everybody Day” on May 20. Norris said in media interviews at the time that was inspired by the furor created from an episode of “South Park” Propeht showing Muhammad wearing a bear suit.
Comedy Central, which airs “South Park” aired an edited version of the episode after the creators of the series of threats.
Norris cartoons inspired a campaign to create images of the Islamic prophet through the Internet with more than 100,000 people have signed up on a Facebook page. A Pakistani court ordered access to Facebook was cut by two weeks. Competing sites criticized the campaign also attracted tens of thousands of followers. Many Muslims find drawings and other depitcions the Prophet Muhammad to be deeply offensive.
Norris said the consequences were unintended drawing. “I was not ready,” the artist said in an interview last month with the City of Arts Magazine, where many of his cartoons were published. “I do not want my satirical poster to be taken seriously. It became a sort of excuse for people to hate or be mezquino.” I’m not stingy, “said Norris.
An editor of City Arts magazine said neither nor Norris had no comment on the death threats against her.
Adam Raisman, a senioranlyst at SITE Intelligence Group which monitors Islamic terrorist groups online communications, said the threats of al-Awlaki was an ongoing effort to reach a wider audience and should not be taken lightly.
“The prophet is the pinnacle of jihad [Al-Awlaki and] fans,” he said. “It is better to support the prophet to attack those who slander than it is to travel to the land of jihad as Iraq or Afghanistan.” In February, a hatchet man broke into the home of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who has been targeted by extremists for his drawing of Muhammad. He and his granddaughter hid in a fortified Panic Room “during the attack.
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