BBC News

Muhammad row cartoonist 'in hiding on FBI advice'

image captionPakistani Islamists burned an effigy of Molly Norris at a protest in May

A US artist whose satirical cartoon inspired an internet campaign inviting people to draw images of the Prophet Muhammad has disappeared into hiding, her newspaper has said.

Molly Norris, who disavowed the movement that provoked outrage in the Islamic world, has moved and changed her name, the Seattle Weekly said.

She fled after FBI agents warned she was in danger, the newspaper wrote.

Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are forbidden in Islam.

'Likened to cancer'

The Seattle Weekly wrote that Ms Norris was "moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity".

"She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection programme," it said, but without government aid.

"She likens the situation to cancer," the paper wrote. "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."

Told by agents to keep an eye out when in public, the paper said Ms Norris responded: "Well, at least it'll keep me from being so self-involved."

In her cartoon, Ms Norris satirically proposed 20 May as an "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day".

The idea inspired a separate Everybody Draw Muhammad Day group on Facebook which rapidly grew in popularity.

The page contained drawings and cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and characters from other religions, including Hinduism and Christianity.

It sparked outraged protests in Pakistan, where a court ordered Facebook to be blocked.

More on this story

  • US cartoonist apologises over Facebook Muhammad row