Where in the world is Molly Norris?

By Jack Cashill

Today, if anyone of note, let alone the president, says so much as an unkind word about Islamic Reps. Omar Ilhan or Rashida Tlaib, progressive editorialists rage, and their audiences swoon.

Unfortunately for Molly Norris, progressives do not extend that level of care and concern to their own. It has been nine years since Norris was compelled to disappear, and the major media have not so much as mentioned her in the last four.

In the way of background, in 2001 Trey Parker and Matt Stone had created an animated Muhammad on their profanely irreverent cartoon show “South Park.” At the time, there was no protest about their creating an image of Muhammad.

Liberals had not yet fully embraced Islam and all its sensitivities. When Parker and Stone brought Muhammad back for a guest slot to celebrate the show’s 200th episode in April 2010, they knew full well the worm had turned.

By this time, liberals had either been converted to progressivism or been shoved aside. The progressive elect would not allow the pair the same comic space to mock Islam that it would allow them to mock Mormonism in their soon-to-be hit Broadway show, “The Book of Mormon.”

So, Parker and Stone parodied the left’s dhimmi-like appeasement of Muslin sensitivities by putting Muhammad in a bear suit.

When even this gentle ribbing resulted in a death threat from an obscure Muslim blog, the network that airs “South Park,” the boldly progressive Comedy Central, blocked the image of the bear, bleeped out all references to Muhammad in the episode’s sequel and refused to post the episodes online.

“In the 14 years we’ve been doing ‘South Park,’ we have never done a show that we couldn’t stand behind,” said Parker and Stone. “We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central, and they made a determination to alter the episode.”

The creators had written the episode to end with a speech “about intimidation and fear.” Although the speech did not mention Muhammad, said the pair, “It got bleeped too.”

Blogger and former Comedy Central employee Lindsay Robertson spoke for many in the media community when she lashed out, “They owe an apology to every Comedy Central employee they’ve put in danger in pursuit of their own glory and publicity. … If God forbid something does, it is on Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s shoulders.”

Not everyone in the media backed down. Upset by the threats directed at the “South Park” creators, Molly Norris, a contributing cartoonist to the Seattle Weekly, 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, some Islamic firebrands went postal. Norris came under increasing pressure and quickly backed off. On April 29, Norris suggested that the new holiday be deep-sixed. “Let’s call off ‘Everybody Draw Muhammad Day’ by changing it to ‘Everybody Draw Al Gore Day’ instead,” Norris wrote.

She may not have understood that blaspheming global warming was almost as risky as blaspheming Islam. “Enough Muhammad drawings have already been made to get the point across,” a frightened Norris pleaded. “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 Norriss surrender, Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki insisted she be made “a prime target of assassination.”

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.

Norris may have anticipated a “Spartacus” moment, when her friends at the Seattle Weekly, a predictably self-satisfied, left-of-center rag, would all stand up with their Muhammad cartoons and say, “I am Molly Norris.”

That did not happen. To justify the staff’s passivity, one colleague, Daniel Persons, informed the readers that the publication also received threats and that “depictions of the prophet are considered sacrilege by many Muslims.”

Person wrote the latter as if to suggest that Norris should have known better. He and his colleagues watched her vanish as dispassionately as the Eloi watched their own being snatched by the Morlocks in H. G. Welles’ “Time Machine.”

Norris went ghost in July 2010 and has not been seen in Seattle since. A U.S. drone strike dispatched Anwar al-Awlaki heavenward a year later, but Norris remains a ghost, and progressives remain utterly indifferent to her fate.

“Will President Obama say a word on her behalf?” the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto wrote at the time. “Does he believe in the First Amendment for anyone other than Muslims?”

The answer was no and no.

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