Virtual Voices

Jihadist invasion in Seattle

Issues

America is under attack from jihadist verbal predator drones. At least one American citizen has lost her life, and we have all lost some of our freedom of speech.

Young Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris was irked that South Park artists Trey Parker and Matt Stone and their employer, Comedy Central, were intimidated under jihadist (implied) death threats into censoring an episode in which they depict Muhammad in a bear costume. So the brave Molly (perhaps just naïve) published a cartoon declaring "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day." That was May 20. Then someone turned it into a Facebook page, and it took off . . . all the way to Yemen. There, a couple of months later, American jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki issued a fatwa calling for Norris' assassination for insulting the prophet of Islam, according to Fox News and The New York Times. Last Wednesday, Seattle Weekly announced:

"You may have noticed that Molly Norris' comic is not in the paper this week. That's because there is no more Molly. The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, 'going ghost': moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity."

From beyond our shores and without setting foot on our soil, the jihadists have invaded our country and taken the life of one of our citizens. Norris is still alive, but the woman as she was known is gone. She has lost her life in the legal sense: new birth certificate, school records, life story. For anyone who knew her, it is as though she is dead. But it is not just one life the jihadists have taken. To the former Molly Norris, it is as though all the people she has known are also now dead. They have been torn from her life because she has been torn from theirs.

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A random attack-an exploding SUV in Times Square or a suicide bomb on an airplane-would spur us to retaliation. Be this is worse. Al-Awlaki targeted Norris in particular because she exercised her right to free speech in America in a way that displeased him and those who share his political religion on the other side of the world. The result: American blasphemer successfully neutralized. This is cause for national alarm.

President Obama has been quite vocal about standing up for the First Amendment rights of the Muslims who want to build a mosque near Ground Zero. But as that is an issue that involves local government, popular opinion, and private enterprise, it is actually none of his business. By contrast, as this involves foreign threats against an American citizen in her own country, the matter is central to his business. President Obama should call this what it is: an act of war. He should make full use of his armies and agencies to protect this woman's life and liberty, and should defend her as he would defend our borders. But he has been completely silent.

D.C. Innes
D.C. Innes

D.C. is associate professor of politics at The King's College in New York City and co-author of Left, Right, and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics (Russell Media). Follow D.C. on Twitter @DCInnes1.

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