Molly Norris used to have a life and a career in Washington, as a cartoonist for Seattle Weekly, an alternative paper. But not any longer. She has now — at the urging of the FBI — gone underground, forfeiting her identity and her job. Is Norris a criminal? No. She just had the poor judgment to draw a cartoon entitled “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day,” which led to the issuance of a fatwa — or Islamic death sentence — against her. Perhaps she had forgotten the 11th Commandment: Make fun of Christians and Jews all you want, but thou shall not inflame Muslim ire.
The fatwa was issued by imam Anwar al-Awlaki, a man The New York Times described in October 2001 as “a new generation of Muslim leader capable of merging East and West.” Al-Awlaki, who was born in the United States and headed a mosque in Virginia, is now conducting his dirty work from a hiding place in Yemen.
Barack Obama has remained silent on this matter, conspicuously so because only recently he lectured all of us on the freedoms afforded by this country. Of course that was in relation to the building of the Cordoba House mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. When it comes to the injustice that has befallen an average American like Molly Norris, he has nothing to say.
While some in the field of journalism are threatened with death for making a joke, others are rewarded for their hatred. Recall Helen Thomas, the poster child for women in journalism, who was canned after making incendiary comments at a conference celebrating Jewish heritage. Thomas’ statement that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland, Germany, America and “everywhere else” was caught on tape so that not even leftists could defend her.
Even after her weak apology, no one would touch her with a 10-foot pole. No one, that is, except the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Next month the 90-year-old Thomas will be given a lifetime-achievement award at CAIR’s Leadership Conference & 16th Annual Fundraising Banquet in Arlington, Virginia. Clearly, her final flourish as a “journalist” was appreciated by someone.