Green Room

“South Park” Creators Poke Fun at Muhammad, Threatened by New York-based Radical Islamic Group

posted at 2:57 pm on April 21, 2010 by

Don’t tug on Superman’s cape. Don’t spit in the wind. Don’t pull the mask off the Lone Ranger.

Those rules to live by, courtesy of the late Jim Croce, were joined some years ago by a fourth rule that—like it or not—one would be wise to heed. That rule is: Don’t poke fun at Muhammad. Not even the most innocent kind of fun.

This is a message that Matt Stone and Trey Parke, creators of the popular Comedy Central series South Park decided to ignore when they depicted the Prophet Muhammad in a recent episode as a character wearing a bear suit.

As a result of the broadcast, they have been “warned” by a radical Islamic group based in New York that maintains the website RevolutionMuslim.com, which since appears to have gone dark.

An article in today’s New York Daily News contains text that appeared on the web site before it was pulled. According to the article, the site contained a posting that read in part: “We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid. They will probably end up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show.” The reference was to the Dutch filmmaker who was murdered  in 2004 over a documentary he made  addressing violence against Muslim women.

“This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them,” the statement reportedly concluded.

I don’t know, it sounds a lot like a threat to me, especially considering that the post included a photo of the murdered filmmaker with a knife still protruding from his chest. More sobering still, the poster included information about where Stone and Parker work, along with a sermon calling for punishments for blasphemy against the Muslim religion.

Authorities have claimed that unless the group makes an explicit threat against the cartoonists, their hands are tied. In the meantime, one can’t help but wonder what the show’s creators thought they hoped to accomplish by their depiction.

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In reporting the threats against them, you’re reporting that they accomplished exactly what they set out to achieve. This episode, which was their 200th, featured all the celebrities that they have mocked over the years– some of which have sued or threatened to– and none of which have threatened them with bodily harm.

They featured other religious leaders snorting coke in a meeting, for goodness sake, and there’s no violent outrage over that. They proved that you can say whatever you want about other religions and have no more consequence than a boycott or some angry letters, but do something as mild as pretend to show Muhammad and your life will be threatened. They went so far out of their way to say, “Hey, we’re not showing him. He’s in a u-haul, he’s in a suit, but we’re not showing him!” and it did absolutely no good.

Job well done, Parker and Stone. You made your point, and put your safety on the line to do so. Whether you agree with South Park or not, you have to admire that. When’s the last time other Peabody award winners held so strongly to their principles? Excluding, of course, the times they did so and put others’ lives in peril, not their own.

RachDubya on April 21, 2010 at 3:54 PM

In the meantime, one can’t help but wonder what the show’s creators thought they hoped to accomplish by their depiction.

Maybe one should watch the episode before blogging about it.

The article clearly makes fun, not of Mohammed, but of the Islamic lunatics who threaten murder to blasphemers, and even more so, the Western idiots who cower and self-censor to placate the Islamists.

The episode references an old episode (“super best friends”) in which Muhammed was depicted without backlash before the Danish cartoon scandal, and another (“cartoon wars”) that came out after the scandal, in which Muhammed couldn’t be shown, and which openly ridiculed Comedy Central’s self-censorship. Last week’s episode had the characters cautiously debating how much of Mohammed could be “shown”. They first bring him to town in a U-Haul truck, then let his voice be heard briefly, then let him walk around in a sports mascot costume. (It’s a cliffhanger episode.)

Evoking the lunatic response from the Islamic blogs was not unintentional. It’s part of the humor.

joe_doufu on April 21, 2010 at 3:59 PM

That rule is: Don’t poke fun at Muhammad. Not even the most innocent kind of fun.
This is a message that Matt Stone and Trey Parke, creators of the popular Comedy Central series South Park decided to ignore when they depicted the Prophet Muhammad in a recent episode as a character wearing a bear suit.

I think Mark and Trey were making fun of muzzies who went bezerk when a British teacher named a teddy bear ….Muhammed

macncheez on April 21, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Job well done, Parker and Stone. You made your point, and put your safety on the line to do so. Whether you agree with South Park or not, you have to admire that. When’s the last time other Peabody award winners held so strongly to their principles? Excluding, of course, the times they did so and put others’ lives in peril, not their own.

RachDubya on April 21, 2010 at 3:54 PM

Amen.

Daggett on April 21, 2010 at 4:06 PM

What exactly is wrong with these Muslim Supremacists?

Does it even sound like we can reason or even coexist with them?

Chip on April 21, 2010 at 4:13 PM

joe_doufu writes

The article clearly makes fun, not of Mohammed, but of the Islamic lunatics who threaten murder to blasphemers, and even more so, the Western idiots who cower and self-censor to placate the Islamists.

I don’t doubt that this was their intention (though the short clip I saw does portray Muhammad, as I wrote, as someone in a bear costume). But whether that was their intention is beside the point. Jihadists are misguided savages, with a depraved indifference to human life. While I would love to see a world in which their kind had been expunged, that’s wishful thinking. They are alive, they are crazy, and taking them on in any way, shape, or form is to stick your hand between the crocodile’s jaws.

Howard Portnoy on April 21, 2010 at 4:23 PM

In the meantime, one can’t help but wonder what the show’s creators thought they hoped to accomplish by their depiction.

They’re MAD magazine with less class. They show ridiculous depictions sometimes to make a point, but mostly just because they can. Like a small child who blows a raspberry at a caged lion.

Dark-Star on April 21, 2010 at 4:23 PM

I for one am thoroughly sick of the spinelessness of the West on this matter. The scum making these threats should be tracked down and either jailed or deported. The threatened persons should arm themselves and be given carte blanche to take out a Muslim thug if attacked. If an attack is successfully carried by a jihadi, do what the KGB used to do-wipe out their family. The hand wringing by some of the commentariat (Bill O’Reilly immediately comes to mind) makes me want to barf.

DocinPA on April 21, 2010 at 10:14 PM

An update, of sorts. The episode tonight was part two of last week’s episode. This week they bleeped Mohammad’s name.

strictnein on April 21, 2010 at 11:22 PM

What goat virgins would want illiterate suicide bombers anyway? These Cultists of Roman Polanski should find no safe harbor amongst civilized people, and should be relegated to finding truffles. Aisha’s revenge.

trl on April 22, 2010 at 1:55 AM

Apparently it is pretty hard to convict someone of threats. Just look at the case of Hal Turner, a white power scumbag blogger that has been tried twice for inciting to kill some judges. Both trials ended in hung juries, with a third trial set for this summer.

GnuBreed on April 22, 2010 at 3:07 AM

“…one can’t help but wonder what the show’s creators thought they hoped to accomplish by their depiction.”

So you think we should run and hide whenever some nutcase threatens us for exercising our right to free speech? It’s not as though other groups will adopt the same tactic, right? Where do you draw the line? Or do you just keep retreating?

Then again, if Christians made similar threats, maybe the far left would stop mocking their religion.

Paul_in_NJ on April 22, 2010 at 11:02 AM