“Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” Advocates Under Threat

The New York Daily News reports:

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.”

And, further on in the full story, they report:

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.

The successful bullying of the creator of the “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” Facebook page is also very upsetting stuff:

The creator of a now-defunct “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” page on Facebook fears she may be targeted for death now that the cartoonist who launched the online campaign has been placed on an execution list by a radical Yemeni-American cleric.

The 27-year-old Facebook page creator — a Canadian woman who asked not to be identified due to fears of reprisal — told FoxNews.com that she was visited at her home last week by Royal Canadian Mounted Police officials who advised her to remove her page and not to talk to reporters.

“I’m scared,” she said. “I’m scared that somebody might kill me.”

The woman created her version of “Everybody Draw Muhammad” in late April, days after a Seattle cartoonist launched the online campaign to protest Comedy Central’s censoring of an episode of “South Park,” in which the Prophet Muhammad was depicted wearing a bear costume. The Canadian woman said she will no longer act as the administrator of such a page.

“I just want to be quiet now,” she continued. “I wish I didn’t do this.”

As part of “Inspire,” a 67-page English-language Al Qaeda magazine, Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki — who has been linked to the botched Times Square bombing and cited as inspiration for the Fort Hood massacre and the plot of two New Jersey men to kill U.S. soldiers — targeted the Seattle cartoonist for “assassination,” along with others who have participated in her campaign.

Probably the most stunning and disturbing part of the story is Anwar al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico. Here is the beginning of his bio at The New York Times:

Anwar al-Awlaki is an eloquent Muslim cleric who has turned the Web into a tool for extremist indoctrination. Mr. Awlaki is perhaps the most prominent English-speaking advocate of violent jihad against the United States. The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of Mr. Awlaki, who is in hiding in Yemen.

Mr. Awlaki, born in New Mexico in 1971, served an imam in California and Virginia. He has been the focus of intense scrutiny since he was linked through e-mails with Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., in November 2009 and then to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25. He also had ties to two of the 9/11 hijackers although the nature of association remains unclear.

In May 2010, Mr. Awlaki was mentioned by Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American man accused of trying to detonate a car bomb in Times Square. Mr. Shahzad said he was inspired by the violent rhetoric of Mr. Awlaki, an American official said.

American counterterrorism officials say Mr. Awlaki is an operative of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the affiliate of the terror network in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They say he has become a recruiter for the terrorist network, feeding prospects into plots aimed at the United States and at Americans abroad.

The Obama administration’s decision to authorize the killing by the Central Intelligence Agency of a terrorism suspect who is an American citizen has set off a debate over the legal and political limits of drone missile strikes, a mainstay of the campaign against terrorism. The notion that the government can, in effect, execute one of its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence, makes some legal authorities deeply uneasy.

The Road to Jihadist

There are two conventional narratives of Mr. Awlaki’s path to jihad. The first is his own: He was a nonviolent moderate until the United States attacked Muslims openly in Afghanistan and Iraq, covertly in Pakistan and Yemen and even at home, by making targets of Muslims for raids and arrests. He merely followed the religious obligation to defend his faith, he said.

A contrasting version of Mr. Awlaki’s story, explored though never confirmed by the national Sept. 11 commission, maintains that he was a secret agent of Al Qaeda starting well before the attacks, when three of the hijackers turned up at his mosques. By this account, all that has changed since then is that Mr. Awlaki has stopped hiding his true views.

The tale is more complex and elusive.

The rest of his tale can be read here.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X