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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. 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": []

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

    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.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:58AM (#31924284) Journal
    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 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 said "black lists" he warns of?

  • 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.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:07PM (#31924522) Journal

    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 Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:09PM (#31924566) Homepage Journal
    Mohammed (PBUH) did have a 7 year old wife. People who idolize that while threatening violence toward a cartoon are, well, not stable.
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:11PM (#31924598)
    Sort of, but I think it mostly derives from certain Muslim traditions that either discourage or outright ban visual depictions of any living creature, particularly humans. This is part of the reason the Taliban in Afghanistan blew up those giant statues of Buddha, and also the reason we had all those stories early in the "war on terror" about how hard it was to find specific bad guys we were looking for (because few or no pictures of them existed, because having their picture taken was forbidden). Extremist Islamic groups have taken these traditions and radicalized them to the point where basically any depiction of Mohammad (or presumably anyone else, although they seem to get particularly offended if it's Mohammad) punishable by death by suicide bomber.

    More mainstream Muslims don't care quite that much about it, and it's worth noting that there are plenty of paintings and other art works in Muslim areas featuring visual depictions of Muhammad dating back hundreds of years. This is just another symptom of what happens when people with extremist views have access to lots of explosives: their views get a whole lot more attention than they normally would.
  • War on Islam? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gregthebunny ( 1502041 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:13PM (#31924630) Journal
    Now, I'm not condoning war or murder or terrorism or anything like that, but would it be at all ironic (and hilarious) if this lead to a an American "war on Islam" à la the "war on Canada" in Bigger, Longer & Uncut []?
  • Re:Gotta love... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by evilbessie ( 873633 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:14PM (#31924670)

    The scientologists did not look kindly on south park either, but they don't like anyone messing with their cult^H^H^H^H religion so it was to be expected.

    At least Matt and Trey are mostly even as they will mock everything and everyone. I don't see why any group of like minded people can't be made fun of myself, although this is not the case with physical attributes where negative stereotypes may be reinforced.

  • Re:Gotta love... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cowclops ( 630818 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:14PM (#31924676)

    Funny you mention the "move into the 21st century with the rest of us" bit. I've been taking a seminar on terrorism and one (of the many) reasons the middle east and (some of) the Muslims that inhabit it are so prone to violence is because they've had considerably less time to modernize. Europe and America had hundreds of years to turn from an agrarian society into a modern one. The middle eastern world has had considerably less time, and yet they still have access to all the AK-47s they can imagine. The modernization of the western world was not a clean process, but we had a lot of time to do it. Now we expect the same of all these random goat herders, but they don't want to drop their farm and start working in a cubicle and watching comedy central. This isn't the only reason for terrorism, but its something to ponder anyway.

    My other thought as soon as I read the summary is, "You idiots. They did this to illustrate how stupid it is to get up in arms over a mere image. The fact that you took the bait and threatened actual violence against the South Park creators shows how backwards and moronic your whole life is. You have failed epically."

    Of course, that would sound a bit like flamebait itself, but its pretty much the case. If a poorly drawn bear suit on a cartoon on TV thats merely purported to be "Muhammad" is an issue for you, maybe its time to grow some thicker skin.

  • by Ben4jammin ( 1233084 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:23PM (#31924888)
    Right. Which is how you view it, but not how they view it. The "logic" goes something like this:

    1) My religion is right, all others are wrong
    2) Since it is the only right answer, all should follow
    3) If you don't follow, you are wrong and I am right to smite thee
    4) When in doubt, refer to rule 3.

    How "fundamental" (read: dedicated/crazy) they are determines whether #3 is a rebuke, a slap, or a death squad.
  • Re:Gotta love... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bmearns ( 1691628 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:24PM (#31924898)

    Try to avoid being so ignorant in the future. It's not all Muslims, or even the majority. As is normally the case with any group, it is a small but vocal minority that is getting the most attention.

  • Re:Gotta love... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:26PM (#31924938) Homepage Journal

    As an example, the guy who started FSM has a collection of threatening, angry letters posted on his site.

    And rightfully so! It is heresy to teach about anything else than the IPU []!

  • Re:Gotta love... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:33PM (#31925118) Journal

    Maybe the fact that you see the majority of Muslims as crazies has more to do with the misinformation you've picked up and your own biases than with the actual craziness of most Muslims. Perhaps there are reasons you don't see the violent actions of Christian fundamentalists reported in the media. Remember the Christian militia that was plotting to kill government officials? Wasn't that long ago. Whatever happened to them? Why haven't we read more about them in the media?

  • by prisoner-of-enigma ( 535770 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:35PM (#31925174) Homepage

    Let me first state that I don't condone terrorism of any kind from anyone. Having said that, your comparison between The Troubles and jihadi's is flawed. Irish terrorism was motivated more by politics than religion, whereas the opposite is true with Al Queada.

    Sure, the IRA played heavily on the Catholic vs. non-Catholic angle as a recruiting tool, and Al Queada plays on the Imperialist vs. anti-Imperialist angle for the same reason. But Irish terrorism was mainly political (i.e. get the Brits out so we can run our own country) not like Al Queada (kill all the infidels and impose an Islamic caliphate world order).

  • 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 stdarg ( 456557 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:44PM (#31925400)

    Maybe the Muslim community supports them more than you think.

    What I've found talking with moderate Muslims from Muslim-majority countries is that they are all for tolerance in principle, but in specific instances they'll say "Yeah but why do they want to say THAT about Muhammed? What does that contribute to free speech?" and so on.

    We don't exactly help the situation when we have Western countries that outlaw hate speech (e.g. Canada, which recently threatened Anne Coulter when she was going to speak at a university).

    I don't know if you've ever read Terry Pratchett novels, but a recurring joke is when the police investigate a death and classify it as suicide instead of murder - because the person did something provocative that would obviously lead to murder. The assumption is that the people who murdered him HAD to murder him.

    Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan have a segmented society and the moderate, liberalized, urban Muslims who you typically see as journalists, authors, etc, are very much like Terry Pratchett's characters. They see a huge segment of their population as beyond help. The bad Muslims have a "tribal" (not "Muslim") culture. They are uneducated and ignorant. They don't know the true Islam. Maybe they are funded/co-opted by the CIA/Israel/India/Blackwater. Whatever the excuse, the purpose is to say "See, we have all these people who JUST HAVE TO get violent when you do something un-Islamic like insult Muhammed, promote women's education, say something positive about the US."

    So for the sake of the stability of their society, they say, they can't support the kind of "destructive" free speech that we want them to support.

    The debatable part (for us) is whether those "tribal" people really don't understand Islam, or if it's the moderate and liberal minority who doesn't understand Islam. (As if there's one "Islam" anyway.) And to what degree the moderates are actually moderate compared to using the "tribal" excuse to appear moderate while pragmatically leaning towards fundamentalism.

    That's just my experience though.

  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @12:53PM (#31925630) Journal

    do you expect them to get violent and angry about people getting violent and angry in their name? If that's not actually how they are, then the "reaction" will be substantially more passive.

    For my part, I saw an ad right after 9/11 for an outreach from the Muslims to demonstrate their faith and that they didn't want to kill white people. So I showed up, talked to a few guys for a long while. During the discussion I learned that if someone asks about their faith, then one of the core principles is that the person has to stop right then and there and explain it to them. Then I learned that the guy that was doing most of the talking had his wife sitting in the car for the 2 hours he had been in there with me - he seemed sensitive to the fact that this was the case, but...fact is, there was no where on the grounds that the wife was allowed to be other than in the car in the parking lot. Not that I was going to be converted anyway, but the fact that the wife wasn't even allowed in the building...or any other buildings on the ground...they can talk all they want about being the "religion of peace" but sorry, I have a bit too much respect for women for that.

  • 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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:11PM (#31926028)

    The website was defaced and then the site was taken offline. For a while all you'd encounter was a 500 error, now they've got a server back and running serving a blank page.

    This is apparently a picture someone took of the defacement.

  • by jbohumil ( 517473 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:21PM (#31926280)
    A Micky Mouse suit would have been better. Then everytime you see Micky Mouse you'd have to try to figure out if it was really Muhammad under there or not.
  • by locallyunscene ( 1000523 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:28PM (#31926462)
    Turkey went through a period of Enlightenment like what you're describing after WWI(Ataturk was a big proponent of Enlightenment ideals) and it's amazing how quickly things have changed there. The religion itself is unimportant, it's all about the people who have opportunities to change things.
  • Re:Gotta love... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:47PM (#31926932) Homepage

    The Old Testament condones violence (and sometimes incredible brutality). So do early Vedic texts.

    Do you know why?

    Those religious texts, like the Koran, were formed when those religions were developing in a relative political vacuum. Pacifistic religions, like Buddhism and Christianity, formed in the context of strong empires and kingdoms, so they don't include a lot of "nation-building" rhetoric in their scriptures. They treat the practice of creating, expanding and organizing a polity as an external event, as "nature." All the violent stuff, all the calls for force, are then taken up in extra-religious discourse.

    Judaism, the Vedic religions, and Islam included the political dimension out of necessity. When Christianity made a transition from essentially being a minoritarian religion to being the religion of empire (and then the religion of an isolated, besieged, increasingly agricultural Europe) it managed to find its war-voice, hence the various campaigns of violent conversion against pagans, the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the pogroms, etc.

  • Re:Gotta love... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @01:56PM (#31927176)

    I bet it's still pretty equivalent from the perspective of the doctor or cartoonist...

  • by Joey Vegetables ( 686525 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:03PM (#31927356) Journal
    In my view, all terrorists are collectivists, by definition, because terrorism is, again by definition, an attack against civilians carried out for political motivations. It is a form of group punishment, which is the very essence of collectivism.
  • Re:Gotta love... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by e2d2 ( 115622 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:38PM (#31928198)

    I disagree. I've seen the church help the homeless, the down on their luck. I've seen them talk people through the most difficult times in their life. My step-father is a pastor and his main "job" is at the hospital talking with people in very difficult situations. Now you can call that a crutch, etc. But if it helps someone through difficult times..

    Myself I don't subscribe to the idea of an "institution" telling me what God thinks. That doesn't even compute. So although my family runs a church I haven't been in about 15 years. They're okay with that. It's not a stopping point for their love.

    That's what I think of when I think of religion. Not mega-churches filled with the rich. Not Islamic extremists blowing things up. Not the pedophile covering-up catholics (or others!). But instead a place where when everyone else has deserted you; When you have absolutely nothing to offer anyone - they will help you. And the only thing they ask in return is a moment of your time to tell you what they believe spiritually. Hardly a bad thing.

  • by stonewolf ( 234392 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:45PM (#31928386) Homepage

    The crusades ended over 700 years ago. Since then the Catholic church has changed dramatically. The pope is no longer the ruler of any kind of an empire. In fact, in the US, he is pretty much just a dirty joke. Since the end of the crusades western civilization has gone through the Renaissance, the Reformation, a long series of civil wars, that has all but eliminated the direct influence of organized religion on government. We've gone through the whole experience of the new world and contact with the civilizations of the Americas, Japan, China, India, Africa, Southeast Asia.... the list is too long to write and I appologize to those I missed.

    In other words we have changed. We are not the people who carried out the crusades.

    In the US we have as a basic concept of law that the government may not interfere with the practice of your religion so long as that practice does not infringe on the rights of other people to live their lives as they see fit. We aren't perfect on holding to that principle. But, it explains why I can be a Buddhist living in Texas who drives past a Mosque on my way to the grocery store. My friends, neighbors, coworkers, and relatives include everything from born again fundamentalist Christians to Wiccans, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans, Mormons, and Atheists.

    Here in Texas you can celebrate Cinco De Mayo in front of the Alamo. We can watch Anime on December 7th. And on St. Patrick's Day, my Irish relatives can sit down with my Scots Irish (Orangemen all by their ancestory) relatives and all drink a beer and toast Ireland. Not one of them cares about which side their ancestor were on. We're all just Irish on St. Patty's day.

    And yet, when I listen to Muslim Clerics and such talking about why they hate us they always talk about something that some people from Europe did some folks from where they live 700 years ago. We aren't the people who did it them. And you are not the people it happened to. What kind of sickness is at the core of a society that keeps a grudge for 700 years?

    Of course, that is the problem. The extremist Muslims seem to still be nursing a grudge from 700 years ago. Every heard a European express a grudge against the Mongols 700 years ago? No? Me neither. But, we are dealing with people who use something that happened 700 years ago as justification for killing us.

    One last comment: You don't want to piss off every South Park fan in the world. You really don't. Kill South Park and millions of people who don't currently even bother to vote will become your implacable enemies. Blowing up lower Manhattan is one thing. Messing with a favorite TV show, now that is something you do not want to do.



    I'm a great great grandson of John D. Lee. (look up "The Mountain Meadow Massacre. And yes, according to my family he did it.) So I understand what religious fanaticism can do to people at a deep personal level. I truly hope that this problem passes into history with no more violence. But, I deeply fear that it will lead to the deaths of millions, if not billions, of people.

  • The Middle East has had more time to modernize than Western Civilization has. They have have no excuse for not being world leaders; the Middle East was at one time the greatest center of learning and science in the world. To say they have not had an opportunity to modernize is bull. They have continued to live in the iron age due to the choices they have made; not a lack of opportunity. And this garbage has persisted even into the current century.

    Agreed, and the Iranian experience up until the collapse of the Shah proves it. Up through 1979, Iran was rather "civilized" by Western standards, at least culturally/economically. In many ways similar to China today. It is difficult to imagine now, but there was an alliance between Iran and Israel [].

    At one point, Syria and Lebanon were both developing briskly. For the most part, the Islamic extremist/militant/political resurgence sprung up with the Iranian Revolution. Since then, each nation in the region has done its damnedest to Islamicize as fast as possible, most likely as a counterweight to their economic failures.

    I can speak from family experience, and friend experience, that Iran pre-1979 was culturally very liberal; with public social behavior that would make Westerners' blush. Pre-1979 Iran was the number one customer of AT&T's USA Long Distance minutes, worldwide. The 1973-74 oil embargo had resulted in vast amounts of wealth heading into the Middle East, and many had assumed that in the long run Tehran would be the new banking/financial capital of the world.

    Development is not an inevitable force. One merely has to look at the promising states of the third world, such as Vietnam, North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe, Cuba; many of these places were considered economic miracles at one point.

    Then crappy dictators took over, corruption ran rampant, and the rising stars collapsed. Venezuela is on this path now.

    Some of these states survive, and turned things around, slowly; like Vietnam, and to some extent Lebanon.

    They have have no excuse for not being world leaders; the Middle East was at one time the greatest center of learning and science in the world.
    I cannot agree with this statement more. In addition to having advanced societies, the incredible oil wealth of the Middle East was probably the greatest concentration of natural wealth in a given region, ever. That the regimes of these nations have managed to squander these vast, immense, incredible resources is nothing short of criminal. Criminal isn't even the right word for it.

    It is *simply* *unimaginable* that gas is about $0.29 in Iran; and that most of it is imported since they no longer have the refinery capacity to manufacturer it. It is *simply* *unimaginable* that it is a common sight to see gallons of fuel splashed into the streets of Tehran, because it is so "value-less" to the consumer. It is *shocking* and *disturbing* that Iran and Syria trade away vast quantities of high-quality, industrial resources to China or Russia for a pile of worthless, outdated weaponry which will inevitably used to oppress their citizens.

    These things are a humanitarian tragedy of epic proportions. These nations have truly squandered their wealth. 20-50 years from now, they will have no natural resources left, and will have nothing to show for that massive destruction of wealth; and most of them will endure starvation and poor standards of living between now and then!

    There *is* *no* *excuse* for this mismanagement!!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:36PM (#31929608)

    Yeah, except that Turkey took on kind of a cargo cult version of secularism. It's a secular nation on paper all right, but now they idolize Ataturk to the degree that you will be in for some rough times if you dare to insult (even criticize) his legacy.

  • by More Trouble ( 211162 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:52PM (#31929890)

    Which one was Timothy James McVeigh? How about this rule of thumb:

    "Terrorists are the people in a weak position, violently opposing those in a strong position"

    That covers collectivists, Muslims, and Tim.

  • Re:Gotta love... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:58AM (#31939686)

    Obviously you aren't into reading what you're posting. Scott Reoder doesn't fall into any of the above categories...if the lifestyle doesn't fit the tenets of a belief, than you can't really call that person a 'believer', associated with the 'religion'.

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