Draw Mohammad, risk your life?
Molly Norris was a cartoonist for the Seattle Weekly, and although she’s still alive, she’s gone “ghost”: leaving her job, moving, changing her name, and essentially erasing any traces of her identity. For fear of her life.
Exercising her right to free speech — and encouraging others to do the same — she promoted “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day.” In July, the Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (who’s linked to the Times Square bomber) announced that Norris “should be taken as a prime target of assassination.”(!) Now, at the insistence of the FBI, Norris has gone into the equivalent of a witness protection program — on her own dime.
This scandal has been unfolding for a while. . . so where are the outraged, fire-breathing editorials in our leading newspapers? Where are the impassioned speeches from politicians upholding the inalienable right of Americans to freedom of speech — and specifically, our right to criticize and ridicule ideologies of every stripe? The muted response to Norris’s fate, the lack of outrage — particularly from the news media — is horrifying. That our political leaders have pointedly shied away from taking a stand on this is all the more ominous. Government’s crucial job is to protect our rights.