The American Kafir

2010/07/16

Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki puts ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed’ cartoonist Molly Norris on execution hitlist

Source: NY Daily News

Radical American-Yemeni Islamic cleric Imam Anwar al-Awlaki has singled out artist Molly Norris as a "prime target.

BY James Gordon Meek and Katie Nelson
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

A CHARISMATIC terror leader linked to the botched Times Square car bomb has placed the Seattle cartoonist who launched “Everybody Draw Muhammed Day” on an execution hit list.

Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – the radical who has also been cited as inspiring the Fort Hood, Tex., massacre and the plot by two New Jersey men to kill U.S. soldiers – singled out artist Molly Norris as a “prime target,” saying her “proper abode is hellfire.”

FBI officials have notified Norris and warned her they consider it a “very serious threat.”

In an English-language Al Qaeda magazine that calls itself “Inspire,” Awlaki damns Norris and eight others for “blasphemous caricatures” of the Prophet Muhammed. The other cartoonists, authors and journalists in Awlaki’s cross hairs are Swedish, Dutch and British citizens.

The 67-page terror rag is seen by terrorism experts as a bald new attempt to reach and recruit Muslim youth in the West.

“The medicine prescribed by the Messenger of Allah is the execution of those involved,” writes Awlaki, 39, a Las Cruces, N.M.-born American citizen.

“A soul that is so debased, as to enjoy the ridicule of the Messenger of Allah, the mercy to mankind; a soul that is so ungrateful towards its lord that it defames the Prophet of the religion Allah has chosen for his creation does not deserve life, does not deserve to breathe the air.”

Awlaki’s rant first appeared late last month in “Inspire,” which was posted to the Internet by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemeni branch linked to a Christmas Day bombing attempt on a U.S.-bound jet.

Initially, only three Web pages were accessible, leading to speculation it might be fake. But yesterday, the full edition was posted on jihadist Web forums, according to SITE Intelligence Group.

David Gomez, the FBI’s assistant special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Seattle, said Norris and others were warned of the “very serious threat.”

“We understand the absolute seriousness of a threat from an Al Qaeda-inspired magazine and are attempting to do everything in our power to assist the individuals on that list to effectively protect themselves and change their behavior to make themselves less of a target,” Gomez said.

Norris initially grabbed headlines in April when she published a satirical cartoon on her Web site that declared May 20 “Everybody Draw Muhammed Day” as a way to mock Viacom and Comedy Central‘s decision to censor an episode of “South Park” that showed the Prophet Muhammed dressed in a bear suit.

Soon after, the topic erupted on the Web with the start of a Facebook support group for Norris. In response, Pakistan blocked access to the social networking site as a fiery pro-and-con debate raged worldwide.

Norris eventually backed away from her cartoon and cause.

“I regret that I made my cartoon the way I made it,” she told the Seattle-based KING 5 TV.

Norris’ neighbor said yesterday he’s noticed an increased police presence on the street lined with modest Craftsman-style homes. No one answered the door at her home, where a blue baby swing hung from a tree outside.

Most of the “Inspire” entries are regurgitations of widely available jihadi propaganda, including translated speeches from Osama Bin Laden and tutorials on how to “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom.” Still, experts say the goal is clear: to reach a young, impressionable audience.

“It’s like Al Qaeda’s Tiger Beat,” said one senior U.S. counterterrorism official.

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