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Extremists Warn South Park Creators Over Muhammad In a Bear Suit 1131

An anonymous reader writes "A radical Islamic website is warning the creators of South Park that they could face violent retribution for depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit during an episode broadcast on Comedy Central last week. RevolutionMuslim.com posted the warning following the 200th episode of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's South Park."
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Extremists Warn South Park Creators Over Muhammad In a Bear Suit

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  • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) * on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:52AM (#31924144) Homepage

    They already had depicted him before in season 10 "Cartoon Wars Part II":

    http://images.southparkstudios.com/media/images/504/superbestfriends.gif [southparkstudios.com]

    I was kind of surprised when I watched the show since they did this right after the danish
    Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyllands-Posten_Muhammad_cartoons_controversy [wikipedia.org]

    What surprised me even more is that I don't recall anybody saying anything back then. Nevertheless, apparently Comedy Central is now refusing to show depiction of Muhammad so it seems the authors decided to masquerade him as a bear.

    • They mentioned that in the article:

      Al Amrikee said the website is considering a protest against the "disgusting" show, which also depicted the Prophet Muhammad in an episode on July 4, 2001.

      I remember that one, I think it opened with a bugs bunny-ish skit depicting Bin Laden in some slapstick comedy.

      What I want to know is how Al Amrikee feels about Fox news hosting the image of Muhammad in a bear suit in the article? And how does he feel now that his comment has had the Streisand effect and Foxnews.com is showing it to many more people that don't have access to cable television. Wouldn't he, as part of the distribution channel and medium, be also on sa

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ZSpade ( 812879 )
        The reverse is also true though, this is getting Al Amrikee much more attention than he deserves.
        • The reverse is also true though, this is getting Al Amrikee much more attention than he deserves.

          Really? I think he deserves a little more attention. I eagerly await the South Park episode where a whiny little pissant runs around saying, "This is not a threat but a warning that you are on murder lists ..." to everyone in South Park. It'd be hard but I have confidence that Matt and Trey would adequately portray the stupidity of Al Amrikee. "Raising awareness?" More like a power trip or inciting a murder.

    • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) * on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:05PM (#31924466) Homepage

      I mixed up things, they actually depicted him 2001 as TFA says in "super best friends" , but as I stated, I don't recall anybody said anything back then.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Best_Friends [wikipedia.org]

      "Cartoon Wars Part II" is a different show aired after the danish
      Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartoon_Wars_Part_II [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:58AM (#31924296) Homepage

    They could have put him in a pedobear costume.

    • by b4upoo ( 166390 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:13PM (#31924632)

      I see no reason why Mohammed should not be portrayed as a complete ass hole.

  • by hkmwbz ( 531650 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:59AM (#31924304) Journal
    The South Park guys seem to mock anything and everything. However, their targets don't usually threaten with violence, do they?

    I think they actually knew what they could be getting themselves into when they did this. Even though South Park seems "childish", it does do social commentary, and it shows that the authors seem to be paying attention to the world around them. I may not agree with everything they have done, but in my opinion, it's better that they do too much than too little. It's important that someone has the balls to stand up and speak out. And now they dared to touch Muhammad.

    That said, have they ever refused to parody or ridicule someone or something? Is there anything that is "sacred" to them?

    Muhammad might be sacred to Muslims, and they may be offended by this. But this is exactly why Muhammad needs to be ridiculed even more. Nothing should be above criticism and ridicule, and if some think that they or their symbols are, they should be the target of even more ridicule, until they understand that they will not be able to do anything they please without criticism for their wrongdoings.

    Let's hope Matt and Trey won't end up as "martyrs" of free speech, though. We need them around to keep doing what they do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by norfolkboy ( 235999 ) *

      That said, have they ever refused to parody or ridicule someone or something? Is there anything that is "sacred" to them?

      I suspect not. They seem consistent.

      Remember Chef/Isaac Hayes - despite being a great character, they were happy to let him protest and walk, in the name of freedom of expression.

    • by tophermeyer ( 1573841 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:08PM (#31924532)

      That said, have they ever refused to parody or ridicule someone or something? Is there anything that is "sacred" to them?

      I seem to remember that they were close to backing off of Scientologists, mainly because of Isaac Hayes (voice of Chef) is one. But then they went ahead and did it anyway, so he quit, and they made a big deal about Chef leaving town to join some evil cultish adventure club.

      IMO, nothing is sacred to them. They ridicule pretty much everything, which is one of the reasons I love the show. Like you, I don't really agree with all of the offensive things they have portrayed, but at the same time I did laugh at a lot of things that many people would find offensive. I think that a show like that has some cultural value, at the very least to let us see how ridiculous some of our prejudices and sensitivities are.

    • by Georules ( 655379 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:12PM (#31924604)
      To be specific, they did not mock Muhammad. Muhammad didn't do anything controversial in the episode. They were mocking people's fear over showing the image and the reaction by some to that image.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Even though South Park seems "childish", it does do social commentary

      Those are not opposed stances. It IS childish and it does social commentary.

      I don't want them harmed, but "We need them around to keep doing what they do."
        no, we don't.

    • by DdJ ( 10790 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:41PM (#31925330) Homepage Journal

      That said, have they ever refused to parody or ridicule someone or something? Is there anything that is "sacred" to them?

      Watch the "all about Mormons" episode, and pay very careful attention to the last five minutes.

      They go out of their way to essentially say: "This thing we're making fun of? Yeah, well, you shouldn't lose respect of it because we made fun of it. In fact a lot of its members are really perfectly fine people who you should respect, and we're jackasses for making fun of them. We'll do it anyway, but we wanted to make sure that everyone knows we're aware that we're being jackasses for making fun of them."

      That is their version of "sacred". And I respect the hell out of them for it.

  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:00PM (#31924322)

    ...is to increase the number of targets by several orders of magnitude. No, really, I'm quite serious. If everyone posts or publishes a cartoon simultaneously mocking Mohammed, Jesus, and Moses, there will be no practical way for religious extremists to respond. (Yes, I know there are other religions, but it's the big three monotheist camps that are making most of the trouble.)

  • by Zarf ( 5735 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:00PM (#31924330) Journal

    Part of the plot of the episode was the characters worrying that Muhammad was going to appear in their town. They kept asking "is that okay" in the episode... representations of Muhammad as a stick figure to Muhammad inside a U-Haul prompt worried questions from the characters... eventually the characters opt to place Muhammad in a full-body bear suit so he was not visible.

    "is that okay?"

    I guess not.

  • by Kashell ( 896893 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:02PM (#31924392)
    This is exactly the reaction that Trey Parker and Matt Stone were looking for.

    If you watch the episode, the members of South Park conclude that the only way to _NOT OFFEND_ Muslims is to put him in a bear suit.

    Unfortunately, it looks like in the real world, the Muslims are even more crazy than South Park has depicted them to be. It shows exactly how wacko the muslim community is.

    It's similar to the Scientology episode...except, they didn't actually get sued by Scientologists. I daresay, that Scientologists are more sane in this regard than Muslims.
  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:05PM (#31924472)

    OK, OK, *Somebody* had to make the joke.

  • by Aurisor ( 932566 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:06PM (#31924480) Homepage

    "Extremists Warn South Park Creators Over Muhammad in a Bear Suit"

    What a total wimp-out of a headline. A 'warning' is when the weatherman says 'it looks icy out today, drive slow.' When someone calls upon the nut-jobs of the world to murder you because you pissed off their bronze-age sky fairy, that's inciting violence, an explicit threat. I'm willing to go pretty far in support of free speech, but this is definitely "fire in a crowded theater" material.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by organgtool ( 966989 )
      Obviously you have not watched this episode. The intent of putting Muhammad in a bear suit was not to mock Muhammad but to criticize the fact that no one is allowed to depict Muhammad at all in his human form. South Park has made fun of just about every celebrity, religious figure, and political leader possible. They regularly make fun of Jesus in a country full of Christians and are not threatened by violence, but simply depicting Muhammad without even showing his human form subjects them to threats on
    • Bronze Age? (Score:3, Informative)

      When someone calls upon the nut-jobs of the world to murder you because you pissed off their bronze-age sky fairy,

      I'm an Atheist myself, but to exactly what "bronze-age sky fairy" are you referring?

      The Bronze Age ended more than a millenium before the birth of Muhammad.

      If you're going to disparage a religion, at least try to educate yourself minimally about it. Be a responsible Atheist.

      Perhaps "medieval sky fairy" would be more appropriate

  • Extremist my butt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:21PM (#31924826)

    If they're such extremists what are they doing watching South Park?

  • by sunnytzu ( 629976 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:29PM (#31925028)

    From watching the episode, the entire point of it seemed to be to show the absurdity of a prohibition on any depiction of someone. By making a depiction of Muhammed (PBUH) that involved no image that was recognizably of him, they showed that the prohibition was ridiculous, because it is then a blanket prohibition on any image. I could say that the category icon for this story was a depiction of the Prophet disguised as a white man in glasses with a black rectangle over his mouth - suddenly that would be a prohibited image.
    CAVEAT: This line of argument also means that prohibitions on depictions of things that _we_ think shouldn't be allowed are also absurd.
    Finally, this is not to say that I think that any image is acceptable, but it must have to do with the objective content (or at least consensus agreement of what the objective content is), rather than what the artist intended it to depict, or what it may have been interpreted as depicting.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:34PM (#31925144) Journal
    Is that Islam has not undergone a process analogous to the Enlightenment.

    Pre-Enlightenment, much of Europe was basically a mass of warring theocracies, split between the Catholic ones and the Protestant ones. Separation of church and state were basically nonexistent, blasphemy laws were on the books(and had real teeth, with limited exceptions[thanks a whole fucking lot Ireland] the ones that remain are just relics at this point). You easily could be, and people were, killed for having the wrong doctrinal positions. Censorship was rampant. Things pretty much sucked.

    Thanks to the dedicated(and at times heroic, not a few faced jail, or worse) efforts of various Enlightenment figures, along with a number of political occurrences(the French Revolution had its minuses; but it did have the salubrious effect of annihilating a schlerotic and corrupt divine-right absolutism and replacing it with a secular nation-state. The Glorious Revolution in England was less dramatic; but went rather better. Then, of course, you had the American Revolution, which was absolutely dripping with Enlightenment sentiment[much to the displeasure of today's crop of "America is a Christian Nation founded on the Bible!!! Dominionist nutjobs]).

    The Enlightenment was not an easy process. Much blood, sweat, and ink were spilled; but the results helped make the modern west the more-or-less pleasant place it is today. It was basically the death-knell of absolutist theocracy in the west, and the impetus behind the broad introduction of fun concepts like "human rights" and "freedom of religion"(also coffeehouses and atheism, what's not to love?).

    The relatively benign forms of Christianity that we think of today are basically creations of the Enlightenment(even among the zealous, things like persecution and warfare between Catholics, protestants, and various sects thereof are basically off the table). It wasn't always that way. Even today, there are reactionary hardliners who would really prefer to roll things back(Rushdooney and the "Reconstructionists", for instance, "Dominionists" more generally, are the main thrust of that in the US, where the hardcore are predominantly fundamentalist protestants. On the European stage, we still have the Catholic church pretending that its "canon law", rather than being simply a set of rules for a private club, somehow takes precedence over Civil Law. Without substantial moderating influences, Abrahamic monotheisms are mean, ugly, primitive, and brutal.

    Unfortunately, Islam has not, historically, experienced an analogous process. This doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of more-or-less modern people who are nominally "muslim" in the same way that much of the west is still nominally "christian"; but it does mean that none of the major strains of Islam have been subjected to the radical reduction in power that all the various flavors of Christianity have. For instance, a Christian advocate of theocratic government qualifies as a right-wing nutjob(they exist in surprisingly large numbers, unfortunately; but they still qualify as a fringe position). In large areas of the world, Islamic theocracy(either as a matter of law, or in the form of a state so heavily subservient to religious enthusiasts and Sharia courts that it might as well be) is simply the local form of government.

    This is not to say that there is anything intrinsically superior about Christianity. It fought progress tooth-and-nail, every step of the way, during the Enlightenment. To this day, it harbors downright nasty reactionary elements. And, despite protestations to the contrary, most of the noblest aspects of our society exist in spite of rather than because of it. (Fun stuff like "Civil law" and "freedom of conscience" are either classical, or modern derivations from the classical philosophical tradition). However, because Islam has not been subjected to the moderating(some would say "neutering") influence of an Enlightenment, it retains many of the ugly elements that Christianity no longer has the political power or cultural clout to employ.
  • but in the end, this hobbles and impoverishes the islamic world, because you have essentially banned freedom of thought in your culture, which is the only means by which social and technological progress occurs. the muslim world has money because they have oil. but the world is moving past oil. eventually, the muslim world will find that oil doesn't pay anymore, and that nothing else in their sphere of influence pays anything either, and they will sink into poverty

    a culture is rich when the ideas the culture cherishes are rich. but if your culture values extreme obedience to unquestionable static ideas, you will have a poor culture (unless its artificially propped up by things like natural resources, as is the current situation). either the moderate muslims effectively control and shut up the large number of fundamentalists in their midsts, or the future of the muslim world is poverty and violence. that's the simple truth

    there are fundamentalists in every culture and religion, and every culture and religion in the world has a problem with fundamentalist assholes running around insisting on regimented obedience to unquestionable ideas and ready to do violence if no one listens to them. but you are blind and intellectually dishonest if you don't see that the muslim world has a greater than average amount of such fundamentalists. and the key point: they are funded by the petrodollars

    therefore, it is the moral duty of the rest of the world to move off of oil as an energy source, in order to drain the well of muslim fundamentalists dry. there is the pollution argument, the national security argument, the limited resources argument, but to me, the most compelling argument for getting off oil is the humanist argument: there is direct connection between using oil and funding muslim fundamentalism in this world. this is the crucial realization everyone must understand: the best way to fight muslim fundamentalism, better than wars, better than idea exchange, better than political maneuvering: move off of oil as a fuel source

    stop using oil, on a personal level and a national policy level, every country in the world. or we will all suffer more, in the wider world and the muslim world, due to the braindead fundamentalist assholes running around

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp