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Molly Norris needs us

mollynorrispick.jpgFrom the Seattle Weekly:

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. (more)

A couple of points:

One of Salman Rushdie‘s prime targets in Satanic Verses, indeed, the prime target, was the government in England during the Thatcher years. When Iran issued its famous fatawa on him because of its misunderstanding of a dream sequence in the book, the much-maligned-by-Rushdie English government stepped up with round-the-clock protection. Apparently, Molly Norris, who never maligned anyone, is not entitled to her government’s support. As an American, she’s on her own.

She never drew Mohammad. She drew a cup of coffee, a domino, a box of pasta, a spool of thread, a purse and a cherry, all claiming to be the prophet. (Image here.) Nor did she create the website inspired by her gentle cartoon, “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,”drawn by her to support Trey Parker and Matt Stone after the South Park brush with fanatics.

The Weekly, her former occasional employer, called her cartoon “infamous.” A standard definition of the word is “having a bad name as being the place where an odious crime was
committed, or as being associated with something detestable; hence,
unlucky; perilous; dangerous.”

I’ll go with dangerous. Clearly her cartoon has become dangerous to her.

Britain made it a precondition of restoring diplomatic relations with Iran that it discontinue its efforts to kill Rushdie. On Sept. 24, 1998,  Iran’s Mohammad Khatami said his government would “neither support nor hinder assassination operations on Rushdie.”

Norris has said she doesn’t want anyone to do anything, but I can think of one thing. Let your representatives know you want the FBI to fund Norris in hiding. And while I realize that moderate Muslims have their hands full these days, it would be wonderful if a few of them could try to explain this misunderstanding to those who are so easily and dangerously offended, so that Norris can come home and be herself again.


  1. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Dear Ms Hackett,
    Please excuse me if my rhetoric descends into a cesspool of foul language and hatred but I happen to like Molly Norris and this pseudo religious fatwa crap has got me quite angry.
    Lets face it, these fucking idiots are nothing more than sexually frustrated bullies.
    I’m not trying to grandstand here and I would like to make a serious offer to this so-called religious leader who issued these threats:
    I am sixty three years old and my back aches, I’ve got bad knees and I’ve just recovered from surgery, but if you think you’re such a tough guy, Mr. So-Called Cleric, how about meeting up with me and we’ll settle this bullshit man-to-man. No guns, no knives, and no cowardly car bombs. We’ll meet at a previously agreed upon location and lock ourselves in a room and fight it out using only our hands and feet and teeth and whatever else God provided when we were born into this world.
    Wouldn’t that be much better and more manly than going around beating up on woman and bombing the innocent amongst us, including children?
    I am serious about this offer so please be a man about this and do not send one of your fanatical underlings to fight your battle for you. We’ll both enter our chosen room together and in the end we’ll see who has the ability to walk out.
    You’ll fight for your perverted version of Islam and I will fight for a person’s right as a human being to speak freely without fear of retribution from an asshole like you.

  3. Muslim countries have been drawing cartoons of Jesus and God for years. We never heard of any death threats against those artist. These people need to grow up. They need to stop putting any one who publicly jokes or disagrees with them on a hit list.

  4. What people often don’t get is that the Islamic world allows far more hate speech in their media than we do- as long as it’s not about them. While we are all supposed to be battling Islamaphobia I do not see any move on their part to censor homophobia, anti-semitism, and anti-christian hate speech and laws. Molly’s cartoon had no malice to it. The Islamic media, which is calling for her head, will publish things that even Hitler would feel was unnecessarily hateful.

  5. O please just let it blow over.
    I had no idea that SW blurb would quote things I said ‘off the record’.
    Let’s just all go and make art and forget this crap. Deal?

  6. Sorry Molly, and yes, its a deal, you won’t hear another peep from me. Regina has my permission to eliminate my tongue-in-cheek rant. If she’d like to make you more comfortable then perhaps she should consider dropping it. I know she can do it, she’s done it before.

  7. One of Molly’s great articles is still online.
    Shoes on! This trend stinks, and my feet are cold
    By Molly Norris
    Special to The Seattle Times
    Friday, June 24, 2005
    You were right. Cole Haans were meant to be worn, not deposited at the entrance of a house.
    I hope your artwork will be seen again on the Internet and you can return to Seattle.
    Safe journeys, Molly. You rock.

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