“Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” Author in Hiding

| by The Volokh Conspiracy

By David Bernstein

Seattle Weekly, via Althouse: 

[O]n the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is... moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity... in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It’s all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” cartoon.

So the U.S. has its own Salmon Rushdie. This is completely outrageous. If necessary, the FBI should be provided Molly Norris with 24-hour protection, not advising her to change her identity. Meanwhile, the U.S. government should be hunting down whoever is threatening her for exercising her free speech rights.

What I’d really like to see, in fact, is President Obama offer to have her stay in the White House–what could be more secure than that–to demonstrate that American’s free speech rights will not be subject to suppression by violence. 

Yes, I recognize that such an action would be spun in the Muslim world as “President supports blasphemous artist.” But maybe this points to a flaw in the “try to make them love (or at least like) us” strategy of halting Islamist-inspired terrorism. The only way to make people with a profoundly anti-liberal worldview like us is to give up our own commitment to liberalism.

But putting aside that broader question, is the Obama Adminstration really so pusillanimous that it won’t offer Ms. Norris sufficient FBI protection?