US cartoonist distances herself from Prophet cartoon row


Washington : Seattle-based cartoonist Molly Norris has distanced herself from the raging row over “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!”, saying: “I never created a facebook page for EDMD. A stranger to me did so.”

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Norris has written on her webpage: “Hello, I never created a facebook page for EDMD. A stranger to me did so. Thank You, Molly.”

“I did NOT ‘declare’ May 20 to be “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”. I made a cartoon about the television show South Park being censored. (I wish that was what our energies were going toward — protesting’s threat to Comedy Central, and Comedy Central’s over reaction to it which set America on a slippery slope toward censorship!).

“At any rate, my satirical poster, with a fake ‘group’ behind it (Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor) was taken seriously, hijacked and made viral. I never started a facebook page; I never set up any place for pepole (sic) to send drawings to and I never received any drawings (I see that two European graduate students and another woman started the facebook pages).”

She went on to “apologize to people of Muslim faith and ask that this ‘day’ be called off” and she thanked “those who are turning this crazy thing into an opportunity for dialogue”.

Norris told Comic Riffs: “My cartoon was the beginning and end of expressing my personal views about Comedy Central’s South Park censorship. If I had wanted my one-off cartoon to be the basis for a worldwide movement to draw Mohammed, then at this moment I should be thrilled.”

“But instead I am horrified!…The results have shown to be vitriolic and worse, offensive to Muslims who had nothing to do with the censorship issue I was inspired to draw about in the first place.”

Her initiative had turned into an online movement within days, as dozens of Facebook users started their own pages. The original group attracted tens of thousands of fans, according to a report by the US newspaper Seattle Times.

Most Muslims consider the depiction of the Prophet to be blasphemous. Publication of cartoons of Mohammed in Danish newspapers in 2005 and 2006 sparked violent protests in Muslim countries that left around 500 dead, five of them in Pakistan.

Demonstrations have also been held in Pakistan in protest at the initiative.