City of Brass

City of Brass


South Park, Mohammed (and Santa), and the freedom to blaspheme

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Welcome, CNN.com readers! I’d like to point out that though the article implied I approve of depictions of the Prophet, I actually do find them offensive. However, in my piece below I was trying to explain that the degree of offense varies with intention; and I take greater offense at those who would bring a molehill to Mohammed instead of a mountain.

The famously irreverent and deliberately provocative TV show South Park has had a long fascination with the Prophet Mohammed SAW. The Prophet SAW first made an appearance on the show as a member of a superhero team comprised of famous historical figures (“Super Best Friends”), which didn’t really attract any attention. But after the global controversy over cartoons of the Prophet SAW in the Danish media, South Park tried to depict the Prophet in the name of free speech and expression – only to be pre-emptively censored by their network. This was ironic, because the episode in question (“Cartoon Wars”) was all about media self-censorship and free speech.

Last week, the show aired its 200th episode, a celebration of all the controversies it has deliberately sought out over the years. The Prophet SAW made an appearance, this time in a bear suit, to give other historical and religious figures advice on how to avoid being insulted in the name of free speech. The result? death threats from a radical web site:

Revolutionmuslim.com, based in New York, was the subject of a CNN investigation last year for its radical rhetoric supporting “jihad” against the West and praising al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Its organizers insist they act within the law and seek to protect Islam.

On Sunday, Revolutionmuslim.com posted an entry that included a warning to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone that they risk violent retribution – after the 200th episode last week included a satirical discussion about whether an image of the prophet could be shown. In the end, he is portrayed disguised in a bear suit.

The posting on Revolutionmuslim.com says: “We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.”

(…) The entry on Revolutionmuslim.com goes on to advise readers:

“You can contact them [the makers of South Park], or pay Comedy Central or their own company a visit at these addresses …” before listing Comedy Central’s New York address, and the Los Angeles, California, address of Parker and Sloane’s production company.

Contacted by CNN, the author of the post, Abu Talhah al Amrikee, said that providing the addresses was not intended as a threat to the creators of South Park but to give people the opportunity to protest.

Most other blogs and news sites are not providing a link to RevolutionMuslim.com – which appears to have been hacked, possibly by angry fans of the show – but I think it’s important to let these idiots know that they are being critiqued. And my critique of them is much the same as my critique of Anwar al-Awlaki: they are cowards, who seek to gain publicity for themselves. In a lot of ways, they have much in common with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, except that the latter are at least funny on occassion.

prophet_scotus

The Prophet SAW has been depicted by non-muslims with respect many times in the past – including a marble frieze of the Prophet as one of history’s great lawgivers, on the South Wall inside the Supreme Court building in Washington DC (photo at right). Muslims themselves, particularly in Iraq and Iran, are fond of depictions of the Prophet, with many public paintings and billboards of him and Ali ibn Talib AS. These are expressions of respect or love, and are not in any way an insult or an undue reverence.

In fact, it is precisely the over-reaction of extremist muslims who wave around threats of violence that leads to more depictions and insults to the Prophet, not less. The right way to inculcate respect for the Prophet among non-muslims is not to act like a barbarian but to simply express ourselves and explain our beliefs – and then excercise our own right, to walk away. It is by their own actions, supposedly in “defense” of the Prophet, that these extremists actually cause greater offense to the Prophet’s legacy than any mere cartoon. After all, the Prophet SAW is judged by non-muslims solely by the behavior of those who profess to follow him.

I don’t watch South Park, and likely never will. But I much prefer their attempt at depiction of the Prophet SAW, which is rooted in a simple need to assert their creative freedom, rather than any genuine intent to defame or insult Islam – quite unlike the Danish newspaper cartoons, which were created with only malice in mind. To understand this, compare and contrast the images of the Prophet as a super hero or a bear, versus a dark figure with a bomb in his turban. The real insult to the Prophet is in refusing to make a distinction at all.

Related: The muslim women lawyer organization KARAMAH visited the Supreme Court to investigate the frieze of the Prophet SAW and have a very nice report on their findings.

UPDATE: A conversation with a reader about muslim sensibilities, assimilation, and tolerance.

UPDATE 2 – it wasn’t Mohammed after all in the bear suit, but actually Santa, according to people who’ve actually seen the episode. This revelation makes me realize that the South Park creators Matt and Trey are, quite simply, brilliant demigods. Well played, sirs. Well played. Of course, that didn’t stop Comedy Central from censoring the episode anyway…



  • Justin

    Voice of reason. Excellent article.

  • Kyle Davis

    Why is it that the “voice” of Muslims seem to be coming from the militant side? This is exactly the kind of attitude that people should have, and it is the same attitude that members of all other religions have when their figureheads are depicted, and even poked fun at. I have yet to see a Christian or a Mormon or a Jew get militant with South Park, even though it is those religions which are made fun of the most. It is exactly because of these militant Islamists that the majority of Americans look down on the Muslim faith, and see the prospect of a religious war more likely than not. Yea, go kill more people…. That’s a way to convert the population…. I really enjoyed this article, and wish that it was the way all Muslims thought…

  • Ali Bin Saheed

    Mohammed no longer walks on Earth, he is at the side of Allah, to show a bear walking and suggesting it is Mohammed cannot be true, the show does NOT depict Mohammed therefore. I urge you brothers, do not see this as as Blasphemery it is not.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo Stan

    If you cannot make fun of something, get rid of it, it’s dangerous.
    Religion is still a serious issue in the 21st. century, some people are willing to kill or die for it. That’s a sad sign of the infinite human stupidity.
    Stop believing for a moment and try to think: religion is not the answer, it’s the problem. Grow up already!
    Religious upbringing should be considered as child abuse, the “holy books” should be x-rated, adults only. Manipulating kids into the twisted world of organized religion is a crime.
    Thank God (or whatever you call your imaginary friend) for South Park.

  • Asif

    “simply express ourselves and explain our beliefs – and then excercise our own right, to walk away.”
    As Muslims we have the right to defend prophet by any means possible, the response you talking above is what christians had been doing, you think that stop these idiots from bashing Prophet Essa (Jesus)? No, infact Prophet Essa has suffered more insults than any other prophet because of the kind of attitude adapted by christians which you suggesting for Muslims. No its not the guys at revolution muslim but you are a coward (Muslim by name Hindu by mentality).

  • http://sliceoflemon.com Sabrina

    Woah. Asif. That’s mean. Sort of right, but also really rude in its delivery. Look, the thing is, freedom of speech and freedom of religion in this country are beautiful things. It’s because of our right to freedom of speech that the masses were able to march on Washington during the “war on terror” to protest America’s invasion of Iraq on grounds that were false. It is because of our American right to practice our religion that I am able to pray on an airplane, in a parking lot, or at the mall without being arrested. But with good comes bad. And for every person who will use our freedoms to make positive change, there will be people who are ignorant bigots who will abuse these privileges that we’ve been given. I totally agree that Muslims should defend our beautiful prophet(s) against those who try portray them in a negative light, but there is a way that these things can be done while also portraying the beauty of Islamic manners, which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) portrayed better than any human being who ever, or will ever walk the earth. Remember when the new pope talked all that trash about Islam, and then all these Muslim scholars from all over the world wrote him a beautiful letter? God! How INCREDIBLE was that? In think Br. Aziz Poonwala should have included that it is not permissible for ANYONE, Muslims or non-, to draw pictures of our prophets, or the wives of the prophets, or God, etc. And just because people in Iran do it out of love, that doesn’t make it okay. That’s like saying that out of love for my best friend, I’ll take a sip of wine at her wedding because she’s my best friend and oh, I love her so much! Come on, Dude. That’s called your naffs. Doing something that you know is wrong because *you* think it’s right. I’m all for protests and petitions, but the reality of this world is that people will take advantage of situations when they can. And Muslims have to follow the sunnah as closely as we can to defend our religion, but in a way that will invite others to this beautiful deen, and not further perpetuate stereotypes. What South Park did is wrong. What the Danish papers did is wrong. But until our freedoms of free speech are revoked, or until parents raise their children better — to be humble, and respect others, stuff like this will never end. Our job is to find a way to solve this problem with the best of Islamic manners, and in a way that is most pleasing to our Creator.

  • Rome927

    Honestly, I feel that if we just stood strong on our floor and followed basic Islam, meaning the 5 basic pillars, we would be stronger than ever. The “extremist” Muslims are just normal people that are a bit frustrated with the negativity against Islam. Islam is not a difficult strict religion, as others look at it in that way, we should follow the 5 basic pillars and not think too much about unnecessary things. We create our own image, we give them the chance to expose us like that. If we learned to just enhance our connection with Allah and ignore these minor unimportant false things, we would not be paced in these situations. Vision an elephant walking forward and 20 dogs barking at it, the elephant won’t care, it will keep walking with confidence, but if you a think a bit if the elephant wanted it could step on each dog and destroy them, but instead it keeps moving forward with it’s large sturdy structure,maybe the dogs would wonder, why am I not like that, simple as that, I hope y’all get the point. Following that I conclude by saying that it is not too late, we need to stand up, not as violent extremists fighting for our religion, we need to stand up as knowledgable individuals like we are, used to be, and Inshallah will be. Islam is not only a religion, it is life, it is air, it is success, and most of all it is us. Everyone in the world is Allahs child, instead of always critisiziing and wining, let’s help people reach heaven, let’s help them find peace, Allah, and most of all the correct path. I am 19 years old and I was raised somewhat an Ismaili Muslim, truth is that I found the right path of Islam, not Sunni or Shia, but Muslim, because honestly I don’t quite remember the Quran stating those as Muslims, there is only one kind but there are some people tht still need to fall on the correct path and stop being ignorant. That is our job, not South Parks, or Family guy or any of those tv shows, it’s comedy central, they usually joke about everything, not only Muslims, so quit being offended and focus on much greater things and making a difference in life. Sending a picture of a dead man, is not a good difference, the difference it will make is weaken our image.
    -Rome

  • Rome927

    Honestly, I feel that if we just stood strong on our floor and followed basic Islam, meaning the 5 basic pillars, we would be stronger than ever. The “extremist” Muslims are just normal people that are a bit frustrated with the negativity against Islam. Islam is not a difficult strict religion, as others look at it in that way, we should follow the 5 basic pillars and not think too much about unnecessary things. We create our own image, we give them the chance to expose us like that. If we learned to just enhance our connection with Allah and ignore these minor unimportant false things, we would not be paced in these situations. Vision an elephant walking forward and 20 dogs barking at it, the elephant won’t care, it will keep walking with confidence, but if you a think a bit if the elephant wanted it could step on each dog and destroy them, but instead it keeps moving forward with it’s large sturdy structure,maybe the dogs would wonder, why am I not like that, simple as that, I hope y’all get the point. Following that I conclude by saying that it is not too late, we need to stand up, not as violent extremists fighting for our religion, we need to stand up as knowledgable individuals like we are, used to be, and Inshallah will be. Islam is not only a religion, it is life, it is air, it is success, and most of all it is us. Everyone in the world is Allahs child, instead of always critisiziing and wining, let’s help people reach heaven, let’s help them find peace, Allah, and most of all the correct path. I am 19 years old and I was raised somewhat an Ismaili Muslim, truth is that I found the right path of Islam, not Sunni or Shia, but Muslim, because honestly I don’t quite remember the Quran stating those as Muslims, there is only one kind but there are some people tht still need to fall on the correct path and stop being ignorant. That is our job, not South Parks, or Family guy or any of those tv shows, it’s comedy central, they usually joke about everything, not only Muslims, so quit being offended and focus on much greater things and making a difference in life. Sending a picture of a dead man, is not a good difference, the difference it will make is weaken our image and strenthen their plan on destroying our image. Don’t we need a round of applause? Wake up, take control of your life. Salam
    -Rome

  • Beautiful_Dreamer

    I’m watching the South Park episode right now…I’m wondering if the use of a bear costume is at least partly in reference to the story a while back about an American teacher offending Muslims by naming the classroom’s teddy bear ‘Muhammad’…:)
    And now the funniest line in the whole episode-
    ‘Buddha, don’t snort coke in front of the kids!’

  • Fahad F Ansari

    Dear all those who are skeptic!
    Dear all those who look at our beloved Prophet Muhammed (May peace and blessings of Allah continue to shower upon him forever) with such intense skepticism and ridicule, finding faults in his person everywhere!
    I would like to ask you one serious question, which it would be very wise of you to ponder over but only if you seriously and deeply think over it. Perhaps i am talking balderdash, but perhaps i am not.
    The question is as folllows.
    According to perhaps Encyclopedia Britannica, Prophet Muhammed is the only religious personality of his stature, who lived, preached and died IN THE FULL LIGHT OF RECORDED HISTORY. He is the founder (actually, not the founder) of the world’s second largest religion. Of all other major religions of the world, their founder (or other equally important) personalities have often been argued by some scientists as perhaps may never have existed, or if existed not in the way they are normally believed to have been existed by their followers. We know Prophet M nearly as much as we know Thiomas Jefferson or Abraham lincoln or Jinnah of Pakistan or Gandhi of India. Do we know Buddha or Confuscious or even Jesus and St. Paul so well? Most Scientists doubt they even existed.
    If it is true that M is the only personality we know so well with 100% surety of having existed, then: Do you know of any other person ever to have existed in recorded history who has even been COMPARABLY as SUCCESSFUL as Prophet M of Islam?
    The Prophet civilized the most bitter and wild barbarians of the world, from becoming a long forgotten people much like the eskimos or huns, into a humongous world community which till several centuries led the world in science and arts and culture and refinement, drawing the first map of the world, inventing historiography and the kind of modern hospitals we know in the world today.
    I think his success was nothing short of a miracle. Do you know anybody who is even comparable? If i am not speaking balderdash, then please think carefully before you answer. Do you think such a person could be mad? Muhammed’s name is mentioned in each one of our prayers five times daily, yet he claimed himself to be a normal human being who could make mistakes. Please consider. Please think how successful he has been!

  • http://phelps.donotremove.net Phelps

    Asif, if that is way you really want to frame the argument — that free speech isn’t a right, but violence over an image is — then we’ll fight that fight. We’ve done it before. We’ve always won.
    You are setting up an existential war that you. Cannot. Win. America is essentially putting up with this the same way we put up with the Japanese in the 30s. Yes, it’s terrible, but let’s just throw some blockades at the problem, let’s do some fighting in China (but not here) and see what happens. When you convince the American people that you really mean it, then the sleeping giant will once again waken, and it will all be over but the crying. Ask the people who went to the American concentration camps and the people who got nuked how well the war went for them — and that’s both sides.
    I get it, you’re willing to die for that belief. That’s cool, we’re happy to oblige you.

  • Shinta

    For Asif, when trying to defend Islam do you mind do it in Islamic manner or else you just give us a bad name and is not good for da’wah. Also, what’s with militant muslims, aren’t they realizing that what they’re doing is very negative for da’wah? Islam is calling for good but what’s good is it if muslims do the opposite? Prophet Muhammad always forgave those who insulted him during the course of his da’wah but now “the followers” are doing things that offsetted his good examples. I am not saying that we should be happy and accept people’s insults against our prophets, just don’t do it in a way that harm Islam and da’wah, and prophet’s examples. In Qur’an it’s very explicit that we should call people to Islam in the best way.

  • Elise

    Where were you people when they made fun of the people of the book? trey and matt have been making fun of religion for 13 years and all of a sudden you all get pissed because of this. get over yourselves. my father is muslim but he’s not into raising hell on them. this show doesn’t give muslims a bad name. terrorists, extremists and people threatening them do.

  • Tom gay

    If your prophet civilized the barbarians what the F…. happened to your religion. The seat of most science, mathematics and literature along with many other advancements/inventions was in the middle east. You were hijacked by a bunch of kooks and fanatics and you let them rule over you and bring you into religious slavery. Kill the scholars and teachers, don’t let women excell, destroy all culture and knowledge and subjugate the people to imams whims and fancies.Oh tolerance of others is part of your religion. So you will go out and kill someone for saying something that you don’t like about your religion.Right, thats a civilized way to deal with things.You call yourself muslims and yet you allow clerics to state that earthquakes are caused by women who dress provacatively and keep you all in the dark ages of ignorance. Are you f—ng stupid or what. Your religion sucks and mohamed is a blasphemer, idolator, and a liar. muslims as a whole are kept stupid by their total belief in their imams who spout this garbage. Jihad my ass. We should just bomb you out of existence as you have no tolerance for others. You are lucky to even be in this country with your kook-uran.You cannot even bring a bible or cross into your countries. What are you afraid of, the truth!

  • Sean Boyd

    The famously irreverent and deliberately provocative TV show South Park has had a long fascination with the Prophet Mohammed SAW.
    –I think you’re overstating this “fascination.” South Park has spent far more time satirizing other religious figures, like Jesus (who used to live in South Park), Satan (an effeminate yet musclebound demon who was Saddam Hussein’s love slave in Hell), Joseph Smith (an entire episode which discussed the origins of the Mormon church, all done with a musical number with the constant refrain “dum dum dum dum dum”, Moses (a large floating, spinning top), Scientology (even you probably know what they’ve said about Hubbard’s followers.)
    The Prophet SAW first made an appearance on the show as a member of a superhero team comprised of famous historical figures (“Super Best Friends”), which didn’t really attract any attention.
    –Famous historical figures like Krishna? Did Krishna actually exist? REALLY? Get your facts straight.
    But after the global controversy over cartoons of the Prophet SAW in the Danish media, South Park tried to depict the Prophet in the name of free speech and expression – only to be pre-emptively censored by their network. This was ironic, because the episode in question (“Cartoon Wars”) was all about media self-censorship and free speech.
    –Do you freely acknowledge why? Because Comedy Central was afraid of being a target of the zealots your religion produces with great efficiency.
    Most other blogs and news sites are not providing a link to RevolutionMuslim.com – which appears to have been hacked, possibly by angry fans of the show
    –Wait a second. Do you have evidence of that? Or do you think that by simply saying it’s POSSIBLE, that you avoid having to take responsibility for your opinion?
    but I think it’s important to let these idiots know that they are being critiqued. And my critique of them is much the same as my critique of Anwar al-Awlaki: they are cowards, who seek to gain publicity for themselves. In a lot of ways, they have much in common with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, except that the latter are at least funny on occassion.
    –Actually, they have nothing in common. Matt and Trey create satire. They tell funny stories which critique things they see in society that deserve it. Revolutionmuslim.com’s content creators seem content with issuing semi-anonymous threats that they OF COURSE have no intent of carrying out, although the prospect doesn’t seem to bother them.
    In fact, it is precisely the over-reaction of extremist muslims who wave around threats of violence that leads to more depictions and insults to the Prophet, not less. The right way to inculcate respect for the Prophet among non-muslims is not to act like a barbarian but to simply express ourselves and explain our beliefs – and then excercise our own right, to walk away.
    –Exactly. Tell that to the barbarian that killed Theo van Gogh. You see, the basic problem is that you, and other normal Muslims, seem to be doing a good job of telling the extremists among you to walk away after the fact. But the sane citizens of the world don’t see a lot of action on part of the Muslim community to educate your youth better, and to pro-actively shun those who would commit violence.
    I don’t watch South Park, and likely never will.
    –You should. It’s crude, but often stunningly accurate in describing human hypocrisy. Don’t reflexively avoid things you disagree with…you might learn something useful. Or at least have accurate information from which to base a critique.
    But I much prefer their attempt at depiction of the Prophet SAW, which is rooted in a simple need to assert their creative freedom, rather than any genuine intent to defame or insult Islam
    –I wouldn’t be so sure of that. They might not have a problem with Muhammed, but I’m guessing, having watched virtually every episode of South Park, that they have serious problems with pretty much all organized religion. And all evidence to the contrary, that seems to include Islam.
    quite unlike the Danish newspaper cartoons, which were created with only malice in mind.
    –Those cartoons are a reaction to Muslims strapping bombs to themselves and killing innocent people IN THE NAME OF YOUR MUHAMMED. Do you expect a cartoon praising Muhammed? Seriously, get over yourself.
    To understand this, compare and contrast the images of the Prophet as a super hero or a bear, versus a dark figure with a bomb in his turban. The real insult to the Prophet is in refusing to make a distinction at all.
    –As you aptly pointed out, when the predominant view of your prophet is the action of his followers, and the rational among you are manifestly ineffective at rooting out this insanity, you don’t have a right to a different reaction. Clean up your own house, before you worry about your neighbor’s house.

  • dr 8 kangas

    Wonderful article.
    We will teach the muslims the meaning of Humor.
    Youtube: paul8kangas

  • Nancy

    Do you think your above humor,or Christianity why can’t you just relax, and enjoy people and their diversity! We are all the same one in spirit.

  • dawud

    Stone and Parker must be stoned for even contemplating a stupid move like this. With all the violence recently, they clearly have learnt nothing. With freedoms come responsibilities and even moreso when you are a creator of a popular TV show.
    There is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech and expression and even in so-called mature democracies like the US, slander and tarnishing of one’s reputation carries with it, very real legal reprecussions. In Germany, to deny the holocaust for example, carries prison terms and there are many laws that safeguard civil society in almost all countries.
    Southpark has touched on many controversial and sensational issues in the past; and they’ve gotten away with it. I think they’ve chewed more than they can swallow this time. Muslims, unlike other faith establishements, do NOT take lightly any mockery of their sacred symbols.

  • Arnold Harris

    Aziz,
    Irrespective of my well-known unbeliefs, I always have avoided showering believers with disrespect regarding their great historical personages. That goes for Avraham, Yeshua, Muhammad, Gautama Buddha, whomever founded the religious faiths of India, China and Japan, and the Baha’i offshoot of Islam that developed in Iran. After all, who is to say that my visions merit believability any more than theirs?
    Having said that, I wonder why believers in general and Moslems in particular get as pugnacious as they do over perceived slights to their prophets? Having been born and raised in this land, you know as well as I do about the spirit of bored and uncaring skepticism toward religion that has overtaken western civilization. In the consciousness of large numbers of people of this era, studied insults heaped on great men such as Muhammad reflect nothing more than the way they treat their current national leaders.
    So instead of retreating before this kind of barrage in shock and anger, why don’t make a better effort to understand their social psychology?
    As for individual western Muslims or groups of them muttering threats of assassination, don’t you think these are matters best left to the police authorities?
    I did not know that a statue of Muhammad had been built into the US Capitol. I’m not certain how the sculptor knew what he looked like. At least from my understanding that graven images purportedly are forbidden under koranic law. Or am I wrong about that?
    Anyway, western Moslems ought to consider what I have written here. You make more headway treating people who defile you as mindless and grossly impolite idiots than you ever can accomplish by threatening them with bodily harm or death.
    By the way. I still think american Islam some time in the future will wind up resembling some sort of mild protestant christian church group or reform jewish synagogue group, with watered-down observance standards even if the orthodoxy of original Islam remains unchanged. That’s the nature of cultural and civilizational assimilation. Let me know what you think of that.
    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  • Aziz Poonawalla

    Arnold, thank you for commenting. I rarely reply to comments because of overload, but when you speak, I listen :) (I disagree often, but I still listen)
    Let me point out that American muslims do not as a rule get “pugnacious” about their faith. In fact you have one dude, on one website, making a stink. That guy gets a lot of attention from the media because he is the exception, not the rule.
    I refer you to the link in my post at the end about the muslim women lawyers’ visit to the Supreme Court (the KARAMAH organization). Read their report and note their respectful approach to the issue, how they discussed their concerns and acknowledged the intentions of the sculptor. Is that “pugnacious” ?
    In fact, refer to everything I have ever written, and tell me what cause you have to believe that I am not representative of my community. I remind you that the purveyors of violence in this country are overwhelmingly non-muslim. Such a man flew a plane into a federal building in Austin, another destroyed a federal building in Oklahoma, another murdered a doctor in cold blood. None of these men, unlike the shooter at Fort Hood, could be characterized as having “snapped” but acted out of deep conviction and resolve. So, I ask you, where is the threat? Who is being pugnacious?
    And I will say simply that things that are sacred must be defended – in words, and reasoned argument, and dissent, and protest – and that is what muslims, American or worldwide, do as a general rule. We revere our Prophet; we don’t expect you to revere him, but just like my mother and my daughters, I won’t suffer insults to them without an answer, a statement.
    South Park insulted our loved one in this way – but not as maliciously as other insults elsewhere, as I acknowledge. In response, one nut, on one website, went too far – and the American muslim community *shut him out* and said unambiguously, “you are not us”.
    I’m sorry Arnold, but I disagree with you. We aren’t your problem. In fact, we are already the solution.

  • Guy Allen

    I can’t understand how the faithfull of any religion can think that unbelievers can insult their god(s) or prophet(s). If they truly have faith then they will beleive that belief system is ABOVE insult or blasheme. This contoversy is mostly about lack of faith.

  • Asif

    This is a slap on the face of all the skeptics of revolution Muslim.
    Source BBC:
    “Wednesday’s 201st episode saw any spoken references to Muhammad bleeped out, while a prominent banner stating “censored” was used in the programme. ”
    Unfortunately the idots at south park would continue to insult Jesus(PBUM) because of attitude of christians.
    Its not the Poonawala blog’s which put the idiots in line, its the reminder of death from revolution Muslims. Way to go brothers at revolution Muslims, you win. May Allah grant you more success, Ameen.

  • CC

    Muslims are cowards. Making threats because of words about a prophet. Jesus is lambasted regularly and you don’t hear us Christians making threats. Does that mean we like it? No. But were not gonna threaten or kill somebody over words.

  • Dennis

    Any religion or sacred text that advocates harming others is simply not worthy of respect.

  • Brian

    Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will not hurt me! I guess Muslims don’t teach this expression to their children. So insecure about the validity of your Prophet that you are so threatened by a cartoon. We live in a country that values freedom of speech and by supporting the censorship of one faith over another, you illustrate how intolerant and bigoted your religion is. Congratulation on your crusade to become more extreme and inability to assimilate into modern society. Muslims need to become more tolerant of free speech or crawl back onto the mole hill you and your violent prophet came from.

  • Jay kactuz

    Some observations:
    1. Muslims don’t have much faith in their god that he can punish anybody for blasphemy, apostasy or insults. Or is it that Muslims are afraid of unbelief or of asking questions?
    2. The obvious question is why should one respect Mohammed? Has anybody here read the ahadeeth? All those attacks on peaceful villages and caravans? Consider the meaning of this adoration of a person responsible for so many terrible things (taking of captives, women, looting, killing, etc…). These stories are clear.
    3. Also consider that since Muslims, where they dominate, don’t respect non-Muslims or allow them to practice their religion freely, why should non-Muslims respect Mohammed, Islam or Muslims?
    Nothing should be defended because it is “sacred” – especially if that sacredness is used to justify hate and violence. You, Muslims, have come to the West and you have brought your mentality, attitudes, values and religion with you. You are screwing up our countries just like you people do everywhere. I say that directly because I see no difference between American Muslims and the ones in North Africa, Arabia, Turkey or anywhere else. You come to the West to enjoy the benefits of freedom but immediately start to destroy those values.
    Note that when a non-Muslim kills and does evil, he usually doesn’t justify it by his religion. I can’t say the same about Muslims.
    Azziz, you are a good example of everything that is wrong about “moderate” Islam. You have double-standards. You refuse to be honest about any that relates to your religion and prophet.

  • http://muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com Teed Rockwell

    How can anyone be so dim-witted as to read a blog written by a Muslim condemning these violent threats, which contain links to other Muslims condemning violent threats, and then post a comment under that very blog saying that ” All Muslims are violent, thin-skinned etc.” This is a text book case of racist thinking “All Xs have bad characteristic Y, because some do”, but I’ve never seen anyone who made that kind of logical error when a counterexample is staring them right in the face. You don’t have to be a Muslim, or even respect Islam, to recognize that this is the same kind of thinking that made Hitler and the Klan possible.
    Jay’s ignoring of the excesses performed in the name of Christ betrays a level of ignorance that is probably some sort of world record. Have you really never heard of the Spanish Inquisition?
    In response to the comment “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will not hurt me! I guess Muslims don’t teach this expression to their children”: Here’s a quote from Pakistani Rock Star Salman Ahmad. It shows that just as in Western culture some children don’t learn what their mothers are trying to teach.
    “They try to avenge any action they think is disrespectful of Islam. But here is a story that all Moslem children hear from their mothers. When the Prophet, peace be upon him, first began to preach his message, there were many people who reacted hostilely. There was a woman who used to see Muhammad walk by her house every day, and she always dumped garbage on him from her window. Not once did he protest this, or try to get revenge. One day he walked by and she didn’t dump garbage on him. So he went up to see her, and discovered that she was sick. He stayed with her, nursed her back to health, and eventually she converted to Islam. He used persuasion and gentleness, not anger and force. He knew that the only way to win over people is through truth, humility, and compassion. There are so many stories in which his followers wanted him to act aggressively, and he would say ‘the truth will prevail, as long as we’re true to ourselves’. The self-appointed spokesmen for Islam who claim they want to emulate Muhammad’s character erase this whole side of his story.”

  • http://timbrauhn.com Tim

    Great article, man. Thanks.

  • George

    Touch Matt or Tray , then instead of following Barack Obama into peace I’ll switch and vote support the Republican war and crusade party. If you don’t like South Park change the channel

  • ryan

    I have to say that this writing gives me hope. The ideas here of non-violent discussion, debate, explanation, and tolerance are ideal. It is with the greatest respect that i thank the author for his commentary, and I truly hope that many people will read this and understand the greater intent.

  • felix

    http://livefeed.hollywoodreporter.com/2010/04/south-park-censorship-.html
    Now “South Park” can’t even say the words “Prophet Muhammad.”
    South Park has ridiculed every religion, including Scientology. Only one religion has made threats to murder the cartoonists, and that was for “depicting prophet Muhammad in a bear suit,” which is extremely tame by South Park standards. Thought experiment: What do you suppose the reaction would have been if they showed an image of Muhammad defecating on Hosni Mubarak and the Saudi flag?

  • cortes

    I can understand the Muslim view or their prophet and their desire to defend the Prophet’s image.
    I greatly appreciate the comments below about defending his image through civilized, intelligent communication.
    The viewpoint of defending the prophet by deterring others from depicting or criticizing him is a problem for me.
    In a country of free speech and freedom of religion, to stop someone from criticizing Muhammad seems to be an improper response.. I prefer the comments to walk away or to explain the faith.
    I also do not like the comments that seem to suggest influencing others into the faith. To me, that sounds like cult recruitment.
    It especially sounds like cult recruitment when the best face is shown, an ugly side is hidden, and nothing proactive is being done about that ugly side.
    Also, when it seems to be the opinion that Islam will be the world religion I grow concern. No religion has the right to dominate, they are not about war, control, or adherence beyond ones self. I do not believe in letting a faith suppress other people until those people see the light. They’ll join if they chose, otherwise both sides should mind their own business.
    I’ve read comments that Muhammad slept with a 9 year old girl, had 11 wives, owned slaves, was a war general that committed suicide. I plan to read up on these things to see if they are indeed correct. I’ve also read about violent teachings in the Koran. Sure, sensible Muslims do not embrace these things, but it seems some Muslim communities exemplify these more violent antisocial behaviors.
    If any of that is true, it may be beneficial for the Muslim community to begin to clean itself up, educate its more extremist members, and come to terms with being a member in a larger world.
    It my be time for some revision and pruning of the dated material.
    I will die for my personal rights before I allow them to be taken from me. And, I will die before accepting any faith, especially Islam if I find the claims of the prophet and violent teachings in the Koran to be true.
    Sure, defend your prophet like a brother or sister, but if I called your brother a name would you threaten to kill me? How about you just write a letter to the Comedy Central.. a bit more reasonable, no? I think the violent reaction is missing the point..

  • cortes

    Correct: Not “suicide”, I meant “genocide”
    from:
    “I’ve read comments that Muhammad slept with a 9 year old girl, had 11 wives, owned slaves, was a war general that committed suicide. I plan to read up on these things to see if they are indeed correct. I’ve also read about violent teachings in the Koran. Sure, sensible Muslims do not embrace these things, but it seems some Muslim communities exemplify these more violent antisocial behaviors.”

  • John, The Normal Human

    Screw the Muslims, Screw Mohammed. He’s a fricking screw bag. Suicide bombers have no balls, you won’t do anything about this.

  • Liselle

    Muslims are doing their religion and image NO GOOD by acting this way. You want to be treated better, have everyone not assume that all of you are crazy, violent and in favor of doing away with all that don;t believe in Allah? This doesn’t help.

  • http://www.shanzzenith.com Shanz

    Hi got to your blog via CNN
    To begin with you have to ask WHY Muslims hate depicting Prophet (PBUH). One main reason is fear of idolizing him , putting up posters then you see ppl kneeling down and asking the poster to help them (which is against tenets of any idolizing religion), second the debate of whether he was white or black which will take them further from truth and main issue will be instead of concentrating on his message they will focus on how he looked.
    Case study is some Christians (emphasis on SOME) pray the image or stone of Jesus and MANY wear cross but how many follow the tenets of his teachings of humbless, modesty and honesty?

  • T G

    The prophet Mohammed wasn’t actually depicted at any time in this episode. The disguised character was actually Santa Claus, trying to trick other characters in the show.
    I believe this episode was more about a satire on extremism, rather than religion. In fairness they ridiculed Jesus, Moses and numerous other religous figures in this episode, yet Mohammed was completely censored.
    Revolution Muslim are doing themselves more harm than good by not being able to distinguish between a completely censored (therefore quasi-respectful) depiction and a newspaper picture of a prophet disguised as a terrorist.

  • Sick and Tired

    Screw the Muslims keep South Park the way it is if the Muslims don’t like it they can all kill themselves instead of threatening everyone else they deserve to have their a**es kicked when they act this way they are all for the whole suicide thing get it done already and just be rid of your race so you can stop plaqing our earth with your worthless sorry pieces of crap methods. You people make me sick. South Park makes fun of everything you don’t see other groups throwing a fit about it like a little child and making threats please do us all a favor and kill yourselves.

  • Hitch

    Question is: Now that it’s out that one ought to both chastise and praise the depiction of , will extremists take that as agency to bomb the Supreme Court building?
    If yes, what is your responsibility?
    If the Danish cartoonist gets killed (he and his granddaugter have luckily survived a murder attempt already) and you have stated that their offense was worse than those of Matt and Trey, what is your responsibility?
    This is moderation? Yes, I see how this is an attempt at moderation. But killing people is not correctly described as “overreaction”.
    Also it is incorrect that the Danish cartoons meant malice. They are commentary. If people would kill and blow up stuff in the name of Jesus, we would WANT to see cartoons of him with a bomb as his halo. And the pope has rightly been mocked throughout the ages. While 500 years ago that got you killed, this is true no longer. Islam has yet to reach that level of humanity.
    So rather than attack the culture of threats and violence, you blame for people from self-censoring out of fear? Shame on you.
    Noone deserves to live in fear for having a point of view.
    The problem with Islam is of course that the religion inherently promotes violence against non-believers (in the sense of not believing in the claimed revelations of ). I have yet to see a moderate site that rather than thinly call murderers “overreactors” but defend the offense they took to justify their murders and instead call for the removal of the murderous mandates in the Quran and the Hadith.
    So you think you are helping by calling intimidators “cowards”, yet do nothing to stand up to protect people’s rights to speak? You should protest for the right of others to speak and you should act to protect those.
    It is completely irrelevant if they are cowards. The second thing you do is call it a PR stunt. This too is irrelevant.
    It is irrelevant if Bin Laden’s mass murder of 5k was a PR stunt or not. What matters is that it was an unspeakable crime. It is irrelevant that the butchering of Theo van Gogh in broad day-light may have been a PR stunt, it was an act of murder and terroristic threat.
    It is irrelevant if the Komeni was a coward for calling a fatwa on Rushdie forcing him to live in hiding a fear for decades. It matters that the act was horrifying and immoral and moderate Muslims should have stood up in masses protesting and if neceesary overthrowing the brute.
    It is irrelevant if it’s good PR to threaten Ayaan Hirsi Ali or an act of cowardess to stab her friend to death to deliver that message. What matters is that noone deserves to live under these kinds of threats and if you are a good and moral person you would not explain nuance of anger, you defend the innocent!
    You say nothing in condeming the fear and the outcome. So it’s comedy central that censored? Well factually that’s correct, it’s as correct as a parent paying ransom to safe their child from being killed by obductors. So let’s blame the parents shall we and call the obductors “overracting”.
    You lack perspective and humanity.
    The Danish Cartoonists were right. People kill in the name of Muhammad and we have to stand up and either say it or show it.
    The Southpark episode was right too. There is a culture of threats, intimidation and fear and even the mildest form of mentioning this will lead to self-censorship, why? Because people want to be safe and live in peace.
    Rather than argue about the nuance of offense and pile more argument why there is more ground that an extremist might kill the Danish cartoonist should stand up against the violence promoted by the teachings of Islam, stand up against the culture of fear and intimidation and help a free society actually express their observations.
    You have done no such thing, I see no letter to Comedy Central from you that states, that you may strongly object to depictions of , but you insist that the show be aired uncensored.
    Justifying the anger that kills people is not moderation. Moderation is to discuss and change the very conditions that create the culture of fear, intimidation and murder. And those conditions are in your holy books. And they are in the facts that even moderates justify the anger and even amplify it!
    That poor Danish Cartoonist. He spoke and depicted the truth of a culture of threats and violence and now lives its reality.
    And there should be no distinction. The Danish Cartoonist should be as safe as the South Park creators and there simply is no justification for murder for words and pictures. Shame on you for (unwittingly?) putting more pressure on a person who already almost got killed and currently lives in the fear for his life!
    So when will you stand up and call for a proper reaction to this from within the faith? Stand up and call for a reinterpretation of the violent passages against unbelieves in your texts? When will you post blog posts that speak up to advocate for cartoonists and cartoon show people and novelists and film makers to publish freely even if they are inclined to self-censor to protect their safety?
    If you don’t do that you either are a coward or you are actually approving of the culture of fear that we are forced to live in.

  • Rocky

    Hitch – I understand your sentiments, but at the same time, I believe you are grossly misinformed and probably uneducated on the Muslim beliefs as well as our texts.
    Though I dont speak for all Muslim people in any way, the following reflects my sentiments based on my knowledge of Islam (which is a little more established than yours, mainly because I am one and I have studied it throughout my life).Let me slightly educate you:
    - There are more references of violence and violent situations in the Bible than in the Quran. (Bet you didnt know that) By constantly saying that Quran is book of violence tha instructs all Muslims to annihilate all non-Muslims is getting kind of old. I do agree with the author that this is all media driven. Oklahoma City bomber was a Christian, you dont see the media going nuts over him saying that he is killing in the name of Jesus.
    Do you believe the words that a criminal utters? All this media hype about Muslims being violent is based on the words spoken by terrorists saying that they are killing in the name of God. Do you believe a child molester when they say they are innocent and they are instructed by God to molest children? It doesnt make any sense! Dont believe the words coming out of the collective blasphemous mouth of people like bin laden.
    - The instance of the Danish cartoonist was no doubt a hate mongering act branded not only by muslims as hateful but also by the rest of the world. Branding Mohammed a terrorist is like saying Jesus was a child molester (because a lot of priests have been caught molesting children). It is as detached to reality as your argument itself.
    - I dont see any part of this article praising bin laden for what he did. I despise that man (as a muslim), and I will gladly torture and kill him if I had the chance for destroying the Muslim perception across the world. Then again bin laden is not a human being. He is no better than Elijah Muhammed who created his own version of Islam.
    I will agree with one thing that you said. Muslims all around the world do overreact to certain things (like South Park). We do take certain instructions literally. The idea of not depicting Prophet Mohammed in pictures and sculptures was just to avoid people from worshipping him instead of God.
    But dont just blame the Muslim people. Blame the media that has backed Muslims into a corner. Blame the governments that have brain washed their citizens into thinking that Muslims are bad.
    I am a Muslim. I would like to think I am a good person at heart and in my deeds. Dont brand me and put me in the same wagon as Osama Bin Laden or the likes of him. If all Muslims are truly violent, then you have more than a billion Osama Bin Ladens, and you dont stand a chance. Pray to all your Gods that day never comes, because if it does, then that will be the end.

  • Alicia

    South Park was not satirizing Muhammed. South Park was satirizing extremists and (as Aziz says) cowards who think that by threatening to “go Nuclear” over any perceived insult, they will chill free speech. This is a pluralistic society, but in order to be a citizen, you have to grant others the same rights that you grant to yourself.
    Given the fatwa against Rushdie, the killing of Theo Van Gogh, and many other stories of extremist violence or threats (ie. the school teacher in Africa threatened with execution for letting her student name a Teddy Bear Muhammed) it is important to take threats like those on this web site very seriously indeed. But, we shouldn’t censor ourselves, and shame on Comedy Central for censoring South Park, and three cheers for Jon Stewart for sticking up for Matt and Trey.

  • Ditch

    @Rocky: If you are a good person at heart, you will go out and protect the Danish Cartoonist. He and his grandaughter almost got killed recently. Yes you still call the anger against him justified. That isn’t moral, but I understand we all want to think of ourselves as moral.
    A good person would defend people’s live and safety.
    About the rest of your arguments, they are irrelevant to the point. Violence is not justified because some other group also is violent! So yes Jesus should be depicted as child molester as long as the problem exists, though it’s a tad unfair to say that jesus called for child molestation. The Hadith does call for killing of apostates. As for the media, well the media has it’s problems, but it’s virtually inconceivable to argue that Khomeni issued the fatwa on Rushdie because of western media! He issued it because it’s in the holy books and was politically expedient (and supported by protests that moderates also participated in!) You are confounding the issue rather than solving it. The fatwa was wrong, independent of ANY context. We should denounce it for that, we can also denounce the media, but that’s another context and justifies by no means what Khomeni has done and moderate Islam as a whole as failed to condemn and act against.
    I’m glad that you seem to believe that literal reading of the violent mandates of the holy texts is inappropriate, but rather than call me misinformed, do something else. Protect the innocent from harm! Where were the moderate muslims protecting Theo van Gogh? Where were the moderate muslims standing up to protect Ayaan or Rushdie? No, instead we see defense and trying to implicate others, like “the bible is also bad” “don’t forget the media” etc. We should stop all of it, not justify bad stuff by showing that there is other bad stuff too.

  • Drew

    Support Matt & Trey by tweeting #supportsouthpark

  • Ed V.

    I think Jon Stewart and South Park are dead wrong on this. South Park shouldn’t have touched this. This is far more than a free speech issue, unfortunately it is something uglier. Where did South Park get its inspiration for this? Europe–particularly the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, a semi-fascist rag that really never apologized for collaborating with the Nazis during WWII. It initiated this and for what purpose? Simply to incite violence in an oppressed segment of the world which has virtually functions as a killing ground for the American Empire (there are many videos on Wiki leaks to show America’s brutal exploits over the years). Did South Park simply do this to yell fire in a crowed movie theatre? Europe instead of addressing the socio-economic problems of immigrants in their countries, vilifies them; essentially aiming everything at them, labeling them the Devil. I will site Szarkozy’s attack on liberty in France against the “dangerous” burqa and Switzerland’s attack on minarets. Instead of integrating these immigrants into society they vilify them, it is fascistic side of the European states I would not like to be reproduced in this country. We honestly don’t need to start reproducing European racial problems on American soil, we have enough racial problems. And why do libertarians and liberals feel that religion is pressing problem, particularly Islam? By the way, South Park does this, concluding that all Fundamentalisms are equal; however their vitriol is aimed at Muslim extremists. Funny, American and Zionist extremists simply have more firepower than terrorist bombers with their vests and Katusha rockets; they have killed more than the so-called Islamic terrorists and Islam is portrayed as more dangerous. It is a little suspect, since Americans under Christian fundamentalism have killed over 1 million Iraqis and Afghanis, also allowing the opium crop in Afghanistan to flourish and these American Christian terrorists run around free getting rich in their think tanks. All this, whether Stewart and South Park knows this or not, is leading to something ugly. This smugness of South Park and Stewart is a symptom of American Empire, which looks to be preparing the US for a war with Iran. These fundamentalist groups are also a creation of the CIA and Western intelligence organizations, how else can these people get away with cultivating heroin on Afghan soil, funding Islamic fundamentalism and ruining the Iran and the rest of Central Asia with heroin, reminds me of the heroin trade during the Vietnam War. They mouth off that is a given without any repercussions, coming out of nowhere to vilify Muslims. It is damn suspect in my opinion that these liberal and libertarian shows give liberal cover for killing Muslims by even airing this veiled propaganda. I am not even sure where this New York extremist group comes from, it could be funded and infiltrated by the FBI, who knows since all the so-called bomb plots have been done by mental deficients who provoked by FBI agents and infiltrators . This South Park episode as well as this position of Stewart is preparing the American liberals and youth for the death of thousands of more Muslims. By the way I am not a Muslim and I am fan of the Daily Show and I am an atheist.

  • interpreter

    When South Park makes fun of Christians, the creators don’t get death threats.

  • cortes

    Tinfoil hat much, Ed? I really don’t think South Park’s writers had any intention of affecting the culture’s perception of Muslims. I really don’t think they are in league with the CIA, FBI, or some secret society to covertly incite violence, aiding the justification of the American miltary-industrial-complex.
    It’s just a TV show. They’re jokesters. In fact, they didn’t depict anything negative about Muslim behavior beyond what was forced on them. They were standing up for their rights.
    I’m glad that I know this is an area that could get out of control. I’ll be keeping my eye on it now. Before this, I had no interest in Islam either way. They’ve created a watchdog.
    And quite honestly, I would never have had an issue, like I don’t with most other religions, with Muslims. But, this unchecked behavior has brought something to my attention that seems dangerous to democracy.
    Fringe or not, it goes against my values and the country’s values.

  • Michael
  • Beautiful_Dreamer

    Anyone who watches South Park should know that they are ‘equal-opportunity offenders’-they pick on *everyone*. Honestly, sometimes their depictions are pretty offensive but the fact that they are making fun of a person or group shows that they *know* about it…apparently whoever is being made fun of has been *noticed* and made an impression, so maybe some people they’ve picked on could consider it a compliment that they’ve been noticed enough to be made fun of…

  • Steve

    The ideal of freedom is not greater than the ideal of respect for the sacred. When freedom disrespects the sacred, it becomes license. That is not true freedom, it is license masquerading as freedom. Western culture does not have a moral mandate to push the ideal of license on the rest of the world at the expense of respect for the sacred. If, however, Western culture combines the highest ideal of freedom with the highest ideal of respect, then the world may react more positively.

  • Fitch

    Steve, that doesn’t work. All you need to do to silence any criticism is to state that what you are saying or doing is sacred. Atheism for example, becomes outlawed simply because they dare to claim that the sacred doesn’t even exist. It can never be freedom if you put the sacred above freedom.
    If it’s sacred to kill somebody, then heck, any moral person knows what to reject and that is the killing! The sacred has no independent agency beyond the words and acts taken.
    It’s evil to force respect on something that one truthfully considers evil.
    So criticizing the treatment of women in Islam is violation of the sacred, yet the bullying, violence and shouting down is OK? Pouring acid on little girls is OK because they want an education? This is no respect, this is justifying the injust! Anybody who respects that does not deserve respect. Theo van Gogh verbalized the role of women in Islam. He got killed for it. Respect for what? Clearly there is no respect for voicing a difficult opinion and there is no respect for live of people!
    The Danish cartoon addressed, albeit in an inartful way, the violence by extremist believers of Islam. But rather than acknowledge the truth in it, they have to be silenced (by law or threat) for “respect”? No. You have no respect for others. That is exactly the issue. You have no respect for the Danish cartoonists expression a grain of truth. Theo van Gogh and 5000 people 9 years ago really died. Translators of Rushdie really took harm. And we should be silent out of “respect”?
    I have no respect for threats, violence and injustice and you shouldn’t either. And I have no respect for calls for respect in response to people speaking about threats, violence and injustice.
    I still would like to see larger protests against the pouring of acid on little children than on the publishing of some cartoons. But no, we don’t blame the extremists for pouring the acid, we blame the lack of respect by westerners! Again a complete lack of perspective. The west isn’t perfect. There is a lot to critizise, but the lack of respect for Islam is not a huge problem. Most people I know don’t disrespect Islam, they disrespect intolerance, threats, violence and the attempt to silence other opinions and cultures.
    That’s respect, I respect those that have values that are decent and have a sane perspective. Attacking cartoons more vigorously than assault and murder is wrong and whoever has this twisted perception has no standing to demand respect.
    Respect is earned not sanctioned. By demanding respect without warrant you are disrespectful.
    You have respect? Show it by addressing Theo van Gogh or Nasrin, or the poor afghan girls who got blinded by acid. Show respect to those that live in fear.
    Does the Danish cartoonist deserve respect for having spoken a grain of truth? The truth that violence in the name of Islam is real? What about the victims of that violence? Where is the respect here? Or is respect something we have to barter for to not live in fear and that very threat of violence and maltreatment is OK? We only get “more positive reactions” if we agree to not speak about violence?
    I think we should speak truthfully. If someone gets hurt it should be OK to say that someone got hurt. And I think we should respectfully but clearly stand against those who demand respect without allowing people to speak what they experience and perceive, because it violates some mandated notion of “sacred”.
    You are entitled to your notion of sacred, but you are not entitled to force it upon all of us. I think you should reconsider reacting more positively regardless…
    I agree with you we need respect. How about we start with respecting the rights to be free from fear and threats? The right to be without harm? The right to speak, draw, paint, film especially about what one sees? The right to seek an education? And the right to pick ones own belief system and ones own notion of “sacred”? How about the right to tolerance?

  • B S Kumar

    Aziz, you got it perfect in your mention of “intent”. South Park may not have intended to offend Islam, but then it is Islam’s call on what it wants to be offended by. The thresholds are different for different people for different issues. If we could arrive at the “intent” of any depiction, it is not hard to deal with the reaction. Personally, I don’t buy into the “equal opportunity offenders” crap. Just because you are in the habit of throwing dung on all passersby, doesn’t mean all passersby will react the same way. One of them is going to give you a whipping and bury you in your dung. That is not because that one person chose to get offended, it is because you chose the wrong person to offend. The Danish cartoonist in my view, got what he deserved, because he wanted the attention of the Muslim world. Sensationalism, sexuality and a lot of unworthy nonsense gets attention in lieu of creativity – and for that alone, a lot of artistic expression should be questioned!

  • Ritch

    Kumar, for this: “The Danish cartoonist in my view, got what he deserved, because he wanted the attention of the Muslim world.” you should be ashamed. You say he deserves to live in fear of death, withstanding actual attacks to his and his granddaughter’s life!
    You have no sense of decency. Go away. I have no sympathy for people who cheer on murder, threat and intimidation.
    And yes Aziz, I’m still waiting for you to stand with humanity and against this vileness.

  • klmpr

    yes there is such a thing as freedom of speech in this country.
    South Park can diss all they want. I may not like it but it’s there right. They treat everyone the same.
    That’s something the Islamic people must get used to and something that is wonderful about our county ( Yes we do have our share of faults) But silencing people with threats of murder isn’t one of them.
    Don’t like what South Park says-don’t watch!!

  • Xangô

    Children in the US are taught that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me”.
    Maybe name-calling is a big deal in the Muslim world, but names have no real power or effect unless you give it power and meaning, primarily through your reactions. You probably know where this is going…
    I.e. if you’re offended by something someone says (or draws), by all means be offended.
    But recognize at the same time that *nothing happens*. You don’t wake up with an incurable disease, your house doesn’t disappear into thin air, the world doesn’t stop. No one has harmed your person or property.
    So you make a mental note that someone said something you didn’t care for, and don’t listen to said person any more. No problem. If said person says enough things that enough people don’t care for, there will arise a common consensus that said person is a jerk, and not to be given attention. But they still have their right to their own opinion (and to express it).
    All the hysteria surrounding this is comical, and tragic. If someone says something horrible about Jesus, non-believers may laugh, or cry, or simply ignore it. Believers may be offended, and most of them will recognize that it has nothing to do with their personal or communal belief or relation to Jesus or God, and leave it at that. Maybe they’ll even pray for the person, “turning the other cheek”. But demand their execution..?
    When Mohammed is portrayed (in any way, shape or form) the whole muslim world is up in arms demanding blood. For what? If you believe, you know it’s not right. Ergo you also know it was a non-believer who made the portrayal. Do people have a right not to believe in your religion? If so, then they have a right to express their thougts about it as well (and you the right to recognize that they don’t understand your beliefs). If you don’t like their thoughts, don’t listen/look. Simple. If your belief is correct, your God will deal with all the judgement and punishment matters when the time is right.
    Saves everyone a whole lot of time, energy and bother.

  • http://www.greenkonnection.com Muslim Social Networks

    Nice one and If you are interested to know more interesting things like that than visit the link and join it.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Some Chick

    Do you know why Christianity is the most popular religion up to date? Because the depiction of Jesus as a human, as something visible to existence gives people a sense of closeness and love. Christians nor Jews don’t go around saying Kafir this, Kafir that. Don’t insult this, don’t insult that. How can you already dictate laws to someone who does not even know anything about Islam yet you already want to put a ruler to their hand like a schoolmaster to a child? I tried reading the Quran but you know, they say Prophet Muhammad is a human (just more holy than us)but the censorship of Prophet Muhammad makes him feel more like a “god”. Therefore, I must argue

    1. Of all the prophets in Islam, why is he the most revered? Are you trying to make him an idol?

    2. How will this make non-believers feel satisfied about Islam as a religion? Answer is, no they won’t.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment muslims a waste of existence

    maybe Christians should start expelling you extremist regects out of America and Europe. go back to living of sand and cowardly attacking people with weapons made by Americans and Europeans. fight like real men not cowards with bombs

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Two Bohras come to aid of Frenchwoman attacked in Mumbai
In the past two months I've traveled to India three times, to attend the funeral and other events after the passing of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (ra). This quite shocking story happened in the Fort area of Mumbai, which is quite close to where I spent much of my time and is considered one of the b

posted 6:20:59pm Mar. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Amidst the grief, solace in the succession of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani The forty day period of mourning has now elapsed, but the profound sadness at the loss of the beloved head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, a spiritual mo

posted 9:48:33am Mar. 16, 2014 | read full post »

NYPD's illegal spying on Muslims was legal, says legal system
This is profoundly disappointing but not entirely unexpected: In a decision filed Thursday in federal court in Newark, U.S. District Judge William Martini dismisse

posted 12:44:10pm Feb. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Valentine's Day and Islam - the virtues of mohabbat (love)
Happy Valentine's Day! I am biased towards appreciating Valentine's Day not just for it's Gujarati origins but also because it's my birthday. However, not all Muslims share my appreciation. Here's a typical example: In its official Friday sermon text distributed to mosques in the Muslim-major

posted 6:04:27am Feb. 14, 2014 | read full post »




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