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Molly Norris, the Seattle Weekly cartoonist who spearheaded "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," has gone into hiding at the suggestion of the FBI, says Mark Fefer, the editor-in-chief of her newspaper. In a column, Ferer explained that she is "moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity" in response to mounting threats on her life. The impetus for her "Draw Mohammed Day" cartoon came after a South Park episode was censored for depicting the Muslim prophet. The Web reacts to the latest news:

  • Let's Put This in Perspective, writes Jon Bershad at Mediaite: "While some people have taken things altogether too far this summer, this story about Norris reminds us that the dangers of extremism and terrorism are still all too real. The South Park situation ended comparatively well, but a woman who was just doing her job as a satirist has been forced to start her life anew because there are people in this world who are willing to kill over their beliefs."

  • The Seattle Weekly Explains How She's Doing "Norris views the situation with her customary sense of the world's complexity, and absurdity," Seattle Weekly Editor-in-Chief Mark Fefer writes. "When FBI agents, on a recent visit, instructed her to always keep watch for anyone following her, she responded, 'Well, at least it'll keep me from being so self-involved!' It was, she says, the first time the agents managed a smile. She likens the situation to cancer--it might basically be nothing, it might be urgent and serious, it might go away and never return, or it might pop up again when she least expects it. We're hoping the religious bigots go into full and immediate remission, and we wish her the best."
  • It's Time to Just Feel Sympathetic, writes Ann Althouse: "My heart goes out to you, Molly, even though I was always opposed to the 'everybody draw Mohammed' approach to protesting the threats against the cartoonists who had drawn Muhammad. I believe strongly in free speech rights, but I think people should, in deciding how to exercise their rights, think about the effect their speech has on others who don't deserve to be offended. I imagine (and hope) that Molly is drawing her adventures and telling her story in what will be a widely read comic book. She has a charming drawing style and a nice sense of humor -- plus the panache of unjust persecution and danger."
  • I'm Fed Up with This, writes renowned science blogger PZ Myers at Science Blogs: "Come on, Islam. Targeting defenseless cartoonists is your latest adventure in bravery? That's pathetic. It's bad enough to be the religion of hate, but to be the religion of cowardice ought to leave you feeling ashamed."
  • The Question Is--Where Do We Draw the Line? writes Allahpundit at Hot Air:

As I acknowledged during Koran-apalooza last week, it's a fine line between Jones's stunt (which I opposed) and "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" (which I supported). One of the reasons I look dimly on dopey atheist gags like erecting "Secular Trees" next to Christmas trees on public squares is because the offense to Christians seems gratuitous. Sure, they're making a point about religion in the process, but they're doing it in a way that looks like mockery, calculated to annoy. They have the right, but why alienate people with a taunt? That's what Jones's stunt seemed like to me -- not so much a message to jihadis, even though he tried to frame it that way at times, but something aimed at provoking all Muslims, a group that includes people like Zuhdi Jasser. EDM Day wasn't aimed at all Muslims, though. Some moderates were bound to take offense, but the point of the day was to push back against the sort of jihadis who've now forced Norris into hiding. Intent and intimidation do count here; if Christian fundies were threatening to kill atheists over "Secular Trees," my calculations would change accordingly. But either way, there simply must be space for this sort of offense in public debate. I'm open to drawing the line in a slightly different place, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.

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