Artist relocated following al-Qaida threat

Sept. 20, 2010 at 1:34 PM
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SEATTLE, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- A cartoonist for a Seattle newspaper was given a new identity by the FBI after receiving death threats from al-Qaida, her publisher announced.

Molly Norris, a cartoonist for the Seattle Weekly at the insistence of the FBI left her position, changed her name and moved from Seattle because of the controversy surrounding one of her cartoons.

Anwar al-Awlaki, a lead cleric in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, through the terrorist organization's "Inspire" Internet magazine, said the Seattle cartoonist doesn't deserve to live.

Awlaki in his message blasted Norris for a May cartoon posted on her Web site that lampoons media company Viacom for censuring an episode of Comedy Central's "South Park," which depicted the Prophet Mohammed dressed in a bear suit. Morris in her cartoon declared May 20 "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."

"(Morris) is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program, except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab," the Seattle Weekly said.

FBI official told Norris they consider the Awlaki statement to be a "very serious threat." Washington put the cleric on its hit list following allegations he was linked to several attempted terrorist plots targeting the United States.

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