Here is the scary thing about this column: No more than one in 50 readers knows who Molly Norris is. A month ago, I did not know, so I am hardly in a position to talk.
What got me interested was author Larry Kelley’s appeal to launch a “Molly Norris Project.” In his brave book, “Lessons from Fallen Civilizations: Can a Bankrupt America Survive the Current Islamic Threat,” Kelley asks why a White House that labors to protect alleged victims of the fictional “Republican War on Women” does nothing to protect real victims of the Islamic war on women.
One such woman is Molly Norris, most recently a contributing cartoonist to the Seattle Weekly, a predictably self-satisfied, left-of-center rag with a materialist bent.
Upset by the threats directed at “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Comedy Central’s censorship of the offending “South Park” episode, Norris conceived the nicely mischievous new holiday, “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.”
On April 20, 2010, Norris created a poster to announce the holiday, which was to be celebrated on May 20, 2010. On the poster, she drew humanized images of a coffee cup, a cherry, a box of pasta and other objects, each claiming to be the likeness of Muhammad.
“Do your part to both water down the pool of targets,” wrote Norris bravely, “and, oh yeah, defend a little something our country is famous for (but maybe not for long? Comedy Central cooperated with terrorists and pulled the episode), the First Amendment.”
The cartoon quickly went viral, and Norris attracted a small army of sunshine patriots and summer soldiers eager to defend the cause, at least on Facebook.
Just as quickly our Islamic friends went postal. Norris came under increasing pressure and understandably backed off. On April 29, Norris suggested that the new holiday be deep-sixed.
“Let’s call off ‘Everybody Draw Mahammad Day’ by changing it to ‘Everybody Draw Al Gore Day’ instead,” Norris wrote. She seemed to understand that blaspheming Gore was almost as risky as blaspheming “the Prophet.”
“Enough Muhammad drawings have already been made to get the point across,” Norris continued. “At this juncture, such drawings are only hurtful to more liberal and moderate Muslims who have not done anything to endanger our First Amendment rights.”
Not satisfied with Norris’ retreat, Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki put a fatwah on Norris’ head not unlike the one under which Salman Rushdie still labors.
The FBI took the threat seriously enough to recommend that Norris “go ghost.” In other words, Norris had to scrub her identity and disappear. It was like the witness protection program but on her own dime.
I suspect that Norris anticipated a “Spartacus” moment, when her friends on the left would all stand up with their Muhammad cartoons and say, “I am Molly Norris.”
Silly girl! They watched her being whisked away as passively as the Eloi watched their own being snatched by the Morelocks in H. G. Welles’ “Time Machine.” Norris went ghost in July 2010 and has not been seen in Seattle since.
Had Norris talked to Christopher Hitchens she would have known what to expect. Hitchens discovered the moral cowardice of his leftist pals when he tried to shelter Salman Rushdie, whose book, “The Satanic Verses,” enraged the Iranian mullahs.
Usually astute, Hitchens was shocked to find the “postmodern left in league with political Islam.” Most of his political allies refused to shelter Rushdie, and some even scolded Rushdie for disturbing the status quo.
Comparably, the Seattle Weekly has offered Norris very close to no moral support. In a recent article, Daniel Person compares Norris’ plight to that of Mark Basseley Youssef, the man behind the much-discussed quasi-film, “Innocence of Muslims.”
Person reports breathlessly, “Seattle Weekly also received threats due to its mere association to Norris.” How brave!
Person helpfully informs the reader, “Depictions of the prophet are considered sacrilege by many Muslims.” He writes this as if to suggest that Norris, like Youssef, should have known better.
Meanwhile Youssef remains in a federal detention center without bail. Last week, I came across a group of ACLU interns on their assigned fools’ errand, protesting “book banning” by local school boards. When I cited Youssef’s arrest as a cause actually worth pursuing, they assured me he was in prison for something other than his film.
I corrected them. The feds may have arrested Youssef for probation violations, but they went after him for insulting our easily insulted Islamic friends. He will face a judge next week. The ACLU and its fellow travelers will pretend not to notice.
As to Molly Norris, good luck.