Molly Norris, former cartoonist for Seattle Weekly, has gone into hiding on the advice of the FBI after receiving death threats from an Islamic extremist.
The Washington paper says Norris is in the witness protection program without government funding after being put on Anwar al-Awlaki’s execution list in July.
The Yemeni-American cleric in Yemen called for Norris’s execution in English-language al-Qaeda magazine, Inspire, calling her a "prime target of assassination."
Al-Awlaki has been linked to a Times Square bombing attempt, the Fort Hood massacre and a plot to kill two U.S. soldiers.
"The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully," Seattle Weekly editor-in-chief Mark Fefer wrote Wednesday.
"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."
In April, Norris published a drawing deeming May 20, 2010, "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day," including drawings of the Islamic prophet as everyday objects. Some Muslims deem illustrations of Muhammad blasphemous.
The drawing, which Seattle TV station KIRO 7 says was a response to Comedy Central banning of South Park’s illustration of Muhammad in a bear suit, inspired a Facebook group of the same name.
This group resulted in many protests and a banning of the social media site in Pakistan.
After the cartoon went viral, Norris went on her website, claiming the drawing and suggested day were not meant to be a criticism of Islam, but a platform for expressing cartoonists’ right to freedom of expression.
"I apologize to people of Muslim faith and ask that this 'day' be called off," she said on the site, which has also disappeared.