A Muslim threat to free speech in the US?

 "On April 14 Comedy Central broadcast the 200th episode of “South Park,” a cartoon that Trey Parker and Matt Stonehave produced for that channel since 1997. In honor of the occasion, Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone populated the episode with nearly all the famous people their show has lampooned in its history, including celebrities like Tom Cruise and Barbra Streisand, as well as major religious figures, like Moses, Jesus and Buddha.

Cognizant that Islam forbids the depiction of its holiest prophet, Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker showed their “South Park” characters agonizing over how to bring Muhammad to their fictional Colorado town. At first the character said to be Muhammad is confined to a U-Haul trailer, and is heard speaking but is not shown. Later in the episode the character is let out of the trailer, dressed in a bear costume.

The next day the “South Park” episode was criticized by the group Revolution Muslim in a post at its Web site,revolutionmuslim.com. The post, written by a member named Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, said the episode “outright insulted” the prophet, adding: “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.”

Mr. van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker and a critic of religions including Islam, was killed by an Islamic militant in Amsterdam in 2004 after he made a film that discussed the abuse of Muslim women in some Islamic societies."  NY Times


I am not a Muslim, but I have been a student of the religion and the civilization influenced by it for many years.  I often lecture on these subjects.  I lecture from the point of view of a respectful but skeptical outsider.  I would expect a Muslim lecturer to take the same approach to speaking of Christianity or any other religion.  Prince Hassan of Jordan's excellent book, "Christianity in the Arab World" would be a good example.

Having said that, I, nevertheless, think that "Revolution Muslim's" posting of Talhah al-Amrikee's statement is a thinly disguised death threat intended to intimidate free speech.  The sub-text here is that some speech should be freer than other speech and that speech with regard to Islam should not be free at all, but, rather, should be limited by the opinion of Muslims as to what Islam really is and its applicability to all people.

I think "South Park" is  sophomoric and vulgar.  John Stewart and Colbrt are true political satirists.  Stewart's show is gradually divesting itself of some of the gross thematic material and language of the past.  I have not heard him cry out "NAMBLA" for a while.  Colbert is a formidable adversary for anyone who wants to debate.  The only time I have seen him flustered was the occasion when Jane Fonda sashayed to his side of the table, sat in his lap and nibbled on his ear.

In short, "South Park" is a "dog's breakfast," but in a secular, religion neutral society that believes that speech must be free if people are to be free, threats like this should be taken seriously by prosecutors and police.  If this kind of thing is tolerated, how long will it be before some zealot stands up in an audience to threaten me for describing Islam as I understand it?

"Crying fire in a crowded theater" is outside the limits of free speech but this is not that.  pl


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65 Responses to A Muslim threat to free speech in the US?

  1. Brien J Miller says:

    I could not agree more, and by such threats do these practitioners of Islam denigrate not only themselves, but cast even darker shadows across the otherwise rich belief which they claim to hold so dearly.

  2. jr786 says:

    I am a Muslim, and always find reactions like al Ameriki’s (spare me) curious. In America, I would just shrug, ask G-d’s protection and make it a point to have nothing to do with anyone who is disrespectful just for the sake of being so.
    I’m quite happy living in a conservative Muslim country, circumscribed with tradition and, to most Western people’s eyes, hidebound conceits on personal and public decorum. Believe me, it isn’t just Muhammad who is respected. That’s here. But who on earth can possibly expect respect from unbelievers? Who would even want it, considering that any such respect would be hollow in the extreme? The Prophet said that the best amongst us were those with the best manners. In this case it would be wise to remember that the most courteous answer to fools is silence, wa Allahu Ahlam.

  3. Arun says:

    Is it within the bounds of acceptability to say that Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee faces a long stay in a Guantanamo-like place? “This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.” ????

  4. Patrick Lang says:

    No. IMO a prolonged stay in a state or federal prison is the more likely thing and more advisable. You want to make this political. it is not except in the sense that it threatens free speech in the US. pl

  5. Patrick Lang says:

    What you do in your country is your business. pl

  6. N.Z. says:

    Not one being has the right to claim that his understanding of any religion is the truth, Muslims or not .
    Questioning the Holocaust, not denying is considered a punishable act, almost a crime .
    The prophet Muhammad is a venerated figure in the Muslim tradition, depicting him or any prophet, steers unwanted feelings .
    But threatening to kill someone for an act is unacceptable and I fully agree with Colonel L. that it should be neither ignored nor left without punishment .

  7. Arun says:

    Col. Lang:
    Al-Amrikee probably thinks that his religion is limited by our ideas of freedom of speech, and our ideas of the limits of religion in the public sphere. Ultimately resolving this difference is a political issue.

  8. frank durkee says:

    If we don’t respond without supporting free speech strongly, we;re simply paying a form of Danegeld to buy them off. This only brings more pressure. the Col. is correct: find them indict them try them and if guilty put them away.

  9. b says:

    “Al-Amrikee” – Doesn’t that mean so he is from the states?
    http://revolutionmuslim.com/ is registered through a company in Florida. The server is hosted with an Internet provider in Houston.
    Send in the FBI, get the “Al-Amrikee” IP address, track him down and give him a good talk. That shouldn’t be hard to do.
    On “free speech”:
    How much is such a warning, not a direct thread mind you, not itself free speech?
    What about the free speech rights of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American preacher who the current American president wants to kill for what he says without a trial and outside of all legal means?
    Haven’t seen much free speech protectors speaking out against that…

  10. Great post! Is there an open source available that would allow non-Arabic speakers to have some insights at to that culture and its current themes? For example are there not over 50 sects in the world of Islam with some more threatening than others? And which ones appear to be growing in importance and influence in the Islamic world and the non-Islamic world? Do we know how many fully fluent Arabists are citizens of the US and available to the US government for its various purposes? What exactly is the status of US Black Muslims within the Islamic World?

  11. ww says:

    I agree, but do not hold CC’s decision to alter the offending material against them, either.
    SP’s political speech is in the context of profit motive. CC does have some obligation to protect its employees, most of whom have nothing to do with SP, from what is recognized as a real threat of danger.

  12. ked says:

    I think SP presents a sophisticated pov that its raunch masks as much as it magnifies. About 1 in 5 shows are as good as light entertainment on TV gets these days (faint praise, perhaps) – it is an acquired taste (if at all) along w/ Rocky & Bullwinkle and Futurama.
    The incapacity to ignore outsider’s blasphemy reveals as much truth about a faith than anything else.

  13. Phil Giraldi says:

    This kind of thing gets very tricky. We have the First Amendment which guarantees our right to free speech but there is also an increasing trend towards hate crime legislation which makes it illegal to say certain things. I would throw all hate legislation out the window and go back to the old standard whereby you actually had to DO something to be charged with a crime. As for our Muslim friend, he has to adjust to our norms if he wants to live in our country. That includes being able to make fun of Mohammed (or the Pope). If he does not like that he can get out. There are a lot of other places where he can live.
    I am a strong supporter of the French government’s banning of burqas and full veils. I bought my wife a burqa when I was in Afghanistan. She wore it once to work. The cowed, politically correct office staff did not even comment on it. Pretty scary.

  14. Patrick Lang says:

    This subject is the study of a lifetime. There are no single books that are adequate unless you want accept xomeone’s special pleading. “50 sects?” What a joke! There are potentially as many views of Islam as there are Muslms. Remember, this is a religion if laymen, no hierarchy and no priests, only scholars and mystics. OK. Bring it on about the Shia Howza. pl

  15. Nancy K says:

    Phil, to often if you wait until a terrorist, Islamic or home grown, commits an act, you have waited too long.
    As for your wife wearing a burqa and not being noticed, I think it in poor taste to make fun of other’s customs and religion. Maybe the people in her office were not cowed but were polite.

  16. Patrick Lang says:

    IMO a death threat like this is not protected speech.
    “Amrikee” might mean that, or anything else that struck someone’s fancy.
    You and several other peple here insist that you do not accept the difference between domestic police and justice functions and combat operations in a foreign war.
    In fact, if Awlaqi returned to the US and surrendered himself to probably be tried for “substantial support of terrorism” then the civil restrictions on violence against him would apply
    Since he took himself abroad and evidently has participated in making war against the US he is a legitimate military target. His cirizenship is utterly irrelevant. pl

  17. Patrick Lang says:

    That political point was settled long,long ago in the US. It is so much a settled principle that anyone who acts against it will be the target of the full force of the civil law. People who do not accept that principle should leave the country becasue they will inevitably suffer a bed end. pl

  18. Patrick Lang says:

    Our view is that everyone has the right to claim unique truth for this beliefs. What they do not have is the right to impose it on others.
    It is not illegal to deny the truth of the Shoa in the US. It is merely stupid. pl

  19. Patrick Lang says:

    Since you did not comment on freedom of speech, instead merely writing on tolerance for what you might see as bad speech, I assume that you do not favor free speech unless you like the speech. pl

  20. optimax says:

    Equating South Park with Rocky and Bullwinkle is blasphemy. May you be attacked by moose and squirrels.
    If SP dropped the bathroom humor they’d have something more of us could stomach.

  21. Cloned Poster says:

    Go trawl all the neocon arguments for war in Iraq.
    They have been hit by cruise missiles and inter-necine bombs that kills, not make ppl upset by words.

  22. Russ Wagenfeld says:

    Hi Pat,
    I agree that “South Park” is sophomoric and vulgar. However,it might be the only political satire that a typical 15 year old would “get” and find entertaining enough to watch. The “South Park” show on the Prius (dubbed Pius on the show) was on the mark. Older teens seem to genuinely appreciate Stewart and Colbert which are often the only news programs they watch.

  23. Arun says:

    Col Lang,
    The political point is settled only as far as the demographics is settled.

  24. mo says:

    So some guy from some unknown group makes a statement of warning of a threat and this is suddenly a Muslim threat to free speech?
    Is American belief and faith in such a tenet so easily threatened?
    If not, treat this for what it is, the ramblings of person who has crossed legal lines within a jurisdiction he has chosen to live in and let the authorities deal with him as they would a Christian who threatens the life of a pro-abortionist.
    Why turn it into a Muslim threat until you have evidence that the majority of Muslim living in the US agree with him?

  25. Patrick Lang says:

    You don’t get it. This is A Muslim threat to free speech in the US, not THE Muslim threat to free speech in America. I agree. The authorities should hunt this man down and punish him for making a death threat in opposition to SP’s freedom of speech. pl

  26. Patrick Lang says:

    Do you live in the US? If you do I find it amazing that you think that immigration will change such principles in this country. This reminds me of the foolish statements that Muslims used to make to me about the future in which they rule in America and the UK and impose Sharia. pl

  27. Patrick Lang says:

    What does that mean? If you think that death threats are not serious then I am puzzled. pl

  28. Brian Hart says:

    Free speech, public discourse and assembly plus the resulting evolution in legal thought resulting in the separation of church and state grew out of the fear and revulsion to the religious wars of Europe.
    As I watch the news today and see multiple car bombs outside Shia mosques set by al Qaeda Sunnis. 74 killed and injured coming out of mosques.
    I stand more firmly than ever in the camp of free speech, toleration and the separation of church and state.
    Come what may, my mind is made up. We cannot tolerate in our country, the silence fear brings.

  29. Lysander says:

    As a non-practicing Muslim who has lived all his life in the US, I will make the following points.
    As far as the law is concerned, freedom of speech must remain sacrosanct. There must never be any law against any speech no matter how offensive to others. No one can threaten physical harm because they are offended.
    That said, there is also social decorum. People modify what they say and write all the time in order to avoid offense. Muslims are not entitled by any law not to be offended, but they should request some decorum.
    The other point, while I thought the Danish cartoons were woefully and deliberately offensive, if Muslims protest the cartoons while ignoring (and in the case of Egypt, conspiring in) the starvation of Gaza, then we are throwing away our self respect.

  30. mo says:

    No I guess I don’t get it. This is a Muslim threat to free speech only if you portray it as such; And surely it is far less A Muslim threat than say the ramblings of Farrakhan.
    It becomes a Muslim threat when hundreds or thousands march on the streets of D.C demonstrating against the right of the SP gang to say what they will.
    p.s. I forgot to add that I would pity the poor zealot who would stand up and threaten you.

  31. Patrick Lang says:

    No. This is a real threat. As someone here said “fear breeds silence” and we can not have that. pl

  32. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    You ask how long it will be before some zealot threatens you? Isn’t that the point? We’ve been struggling with this issue as a country for as long as I’ve been alive, and, I suspect, long before that.
    IMO, the core of the conflict has always been our fear of free speech. Will my group be hurt by the actions of folks who give voice to thoughts and ideas that are not consistent with my own? Our response has too often been, rather than engage them in open debate, to shut them up and keep them quiet. A recent example was “Free Speech Zones.” This Machiavellian tactic was used by the previous administration to circumscribe and limit free speech by deciding in advance where the people could exercise their right of free speech and assembly. In effect, the public was told that you can talk freely here but not there.
    The courts and the ballot box have been our usual way to resolve these issues albeit the latter decisions have often been heavily influenced by those special interests which understood how best to appeal to the self-interests of the voters.
    In recent years, however, these problems have grown more difficult to resolve in a rational, political or even judicial way because of the injection into the debate by some groups of an all-knowing, all-powerful supreme being who is believed to have a special and world wide vested interest in the outcomes. (Unfortunately, this supreme being has as yet been unable to make these desired outcomes generally known although some assert it has done so to a privileged few.)
    This is a much tougher argument to refute. About as bad as trying to convince that poor women who believes that the government has planted a chip in her body that she really needs psychiatric help especially when her potentially severely dysfunctional psychiatric condition has the tacit support and approval of a state legislature which ought to know better.
    Given this context, I’m delighted that our present government has taken on the challenge posed by their prosecution of the Hutaree “. . . the Christian militia group based in Adrian, Michigan . . .” (Wiki) The Hutaree have attempted to justify their alleged criminal actions as based on their religious beliefs. By pursuing this case the Department of Justice appears to be saying that it is willing to stand behind the idea that this kind of behavior cannot be rationalized away by the First Amendment which guarantees the free exercise of religion – the position implicitly taken by the army in the prosecution of Major Nidal Hasan – and that these threats of violence against police officers constitute criminal behavior that must be addressed by a court of law.
    IMO we’ll know whether justice in this country is truly blind when we see how far the DOJ is willing to pursue other cases associated with this kind of potential criminal behavior that we rarely see addressed by or challenged in the courts because of specific constitutional guarantees whether contained in the Bill of Rights or in the protections offered to members of Congress by Article I Section 6.

  33. walrus says:

    I agree with Col. Lang, this is a threat that should not be tolerated. It is in my opinion a matter for the police as it is essential to demonstrate that in a secular society, religion fueled threats are punished.
    I am also reminded of a cautionary warning cartoon on the Side of St. Marks in Venice that shows the hanging of a drunken and broke country bumpkin who in his anger threw dirt at a statue of the Madonna.
    Perhaps Islam has yet to undergo the necessary reformation so that blasphemy is no longer a capital crime.

  34. mo says:

    Of course fear breeds silence. But I’m not suggesting silence, I’m suggesting that we not fall into the trap whereby a crime, when committed by a Muslim becomes all about the religion and when same crime is committed by non-Muslims it becomes just that, a crime.
    Threatening someones life is illegal. Call the cops. But if a Muslim does it, just one, it becomes front page news and a cause for existential angst. When we start calling an entire segment of society a “threat” because of the actions of one man, well that only leads down one road.
    Its already common practice to mention a Muslims religion in any act of violence in the msm and therefore re-enforce the whole “Islam is a violent religion” stereotype.
    Is it right now to perpetuate that belief on the basis of the words of one representative?
    Is that fair?
    But maybe its an American thing, and I will never get it.

  35. eakens says:

    How’s London this time of year?

  36. Jane says:

    In the development of free speech the bars on blasphemy and fighting words were among the last restrictions on speech to be discarded. Re-instituting blasphemy in the United States would not protect Islamic sensibilities effectively. For among other reasons given the diversity of religions in the United States it is not possible to protect the tenets of one religion without insulting another. For example, the Islamic position denying the divinity of Christ is blasphemous according to many versions of the Christian religion.
    One of the foundational premises of the United States is that no group is entitled to impose its views on another. Many of the Framers reasoned that no true faith could be damaged by free speech. If an incorrect opinion is uttered it is to be corrected by rational refutation — more speech.
    For some adherents of some versions of Islam to threaten those who offend Islamic traditions regarding blasphemy whether the offense arises out of ignorance or malice, is, in the American context both shameful and illegal. It carries an implication that the Islamic faith is too ill-founded and fragile to compete in the marketplace of ideas.
    The Wikipedia article on blasphemy laws presents an interesting comparison of the various national approaches to the topic.

  37. frank durkee says:

    We Christians tolerate under the rubric of Free Speech things which are much more distasteful than th SP program or even the Danish cartoons. The issue of fear ,as the Col says, is critical, must be faced and reisisted. Reflect back on the anger on this blog at the /aipac and other intimidations and how this is seen as harming our national interest. Free speech is not an abgsolute but it is extremely critical to any chance of genuine freedom surviving. Islamicists may not like what is said and done in the West about Islam but, if we fold on this, we fold on a core principal of our American experiment.

  38. s nadh says:

    I think freedom of speech includes respect and insult. I at times like to drink with my friends and eventually turn into a screaming lunatic – 7% beer and cheap Chilean wine. They are with me. They go after me too. It’s what expected. If I lose that freedom then we have a problem. The Man Who Would Be King is one of my favorites.

  39. Roy G says:

    I agree that this cannot be tolerated. However, I think the threat assessment is somewhat overblown. Yes, by all means, crack down on whoever issued the threat, but this is more about homegrown American radicalism that is attaching itself to a controversy, all in the name of publicity. The group was started by an ex-rabbinical student, and their last controversy was vocally supporting Nidal Malik Hassan, for Pete’s sake!
    What’s more interesting to me is that this is what is now considered Muslim terrorism in the US; not the hordes of Arab invaders, which never materialized – despite the fever dream – just a few stray domestic wackos.
    Yes, deal with them seriously, but let’s not mistake clowns like this for the Mahdi’s army.

  40. Patrick Lang says:

    s nadh
    Freedom of speech is unlimited or it is nothing. pl

  41. Patrick Lang says:

    You are creating your own demons. No one has said anything about universal Muslim threats. pl

  42. JohnH says:

    My initial reaction is to wonder about the man’s sense of dignity. After all the denigration of Arabs and Muslims by Hollywood and the news media, they get upset about THIS? I mean, Mohamed was the messenger, and the messenger is always the one who gets the abuse!
    My second thought is to shrug my shoulders and assume that someone is undoubtedly watching this dude closely, so why be fearful?
    There is a lot of free speech suppression going on today, mostly by intimidation using the threat of cutting off advertising dollars. I wish there was a way to counter that kind of suppression.

  43. Patrick Lang says:

    Baloney. This is a direct personal threat of bodily violence. pl

  44. jr786 says:

    Col., America is my country; I’m doing work for it here. A lot of which involves explaining American institutions to people who find some secular practices strange going. My point was that any Muslim who finds it difficult to live in the US should move to a Muslim country.
    Free speech is the law of the land. A Muslim is expected to respect the laws of the land where he lives. Muhammad doesn’t need protection from the creators of South Park; Muslims need protection from their fellows who worship form over content. I concur with Lysander for the rest.
    I agree that al-Amriki’s comments are a veiled threat and further agree that free speech should be protected. I’m not so much the hypocrite, Col., to denounce Zionist pressure on free speech only to complain when things Muslim are mocked.

  45. Patrick Lang says:

    That works for me although how you live out there escapes me. I think that Islam and being American are quite compatible but you might have to find your own Islam. pl

  46. WILL says:

    mo & Col
    we are wading out in the weeds here. where is bertrand russel when we need him? finessing about distinctions b/n the definite & indefinite article, the universal & particular. acknowledge & move on.
    favorite SP epsisode is Tom Cruise in the closet. Come out the closet Tom Cruise! u r right about Colbert Col. he is brilliant!

  47. “I dare speak boldly–for, as men say, he is cunning at his craft…” (Chaucer)
    Free speech has been under assault by the cunning “pro-Israel” types as well.
    The main piece of international machinery has been the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith established in 1913, just in time for World War I. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Defamation_League
    From a Christian perspective, one can argue that Jews and Muslims in the Middle East have, in effect, conspired to drive the area’s Christians out of the Holy Land and the region.
    The outmigration of Christians is stunning: Lebanese Christians, Palestinian Christians, Iraqi Christians etc. And what about the treatment of Coptic Christians in Egypt? And so on.
    These United States represent an extension of European culture. If those who come here (of whatever ethnicity and religion) are not willing to accept our Constitution, laws, and ways they should leave and find another country or not come to our shores in the first place.

  48. Arun says:

    Why is this (Republican governors embrace Guy Fawkes) somehow less threatening than al-Amrikee’s comments? Is it because it is impersonal? Or we find it incredible that these folks might start a civil war (it has happened **only** once before)?

  49. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t get your point. Are you in favor of people who are breaking the law getting away with it? pl

  50. Patrick Lang says:

    What I am trying to tell mo is that the complaint is against this particular group, not Muslims in general. pl

  51. Andy says:

    Revolution Islam’s website got hacked yesterday and the hack is still up:
    It will be interesting to see their reaction to that.
    If it gets fixed, there’s a screenshot at huffpo.

  52. JohnH says:

    You don’t think that US law enforcement pays attention to people who make direct personal threats of bodily violence? Particularly those with Muslim connections?
    If not, then law enforcement is not doing its job, which raises a whole other set of issues.

  53. Patrick Lang says:

    These guys are on the run by now or should be. pl

  54. Abu Sinan says:

    I am an American and I am a Muslim by choice. I agree with you 100%.
    I consider myself a patriot and come from a long line of Americans who have served their country and I have done the same myself.
    This “Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee” (Father of Talhal, the American) is one of those converts, like we see in many religions, that takes the radical approach. Many converts in Islam think that to convert one stop being American, must adpot a foreign culture.
    My understanding of Islam, rather, leads me to believe that America is the most “Islamic” of nations in that we have a process set up for justice and promote equality.
    As one Egyptian journalist said “I traveled in the West and saw Islam everyone, but no Muslims. I traveled in the Muslim world and saw Muslims everywhere but no Islam.”.
    Slowly, but surely, there is an American Islam that is growing and I am proud to do my part to promote it and help it to grow.
    As you know I have been a long time reader and some time poster to this blog and appreciate your contributions on a whole host of fronts.

  55. Abu Sinan says:

    Sorry about the typos and the grammar in my previous comment. It was made on the fly getting ready for my son’s 4th birthday party.
    At the time I didnt have a chance to read the comments but I have now.
    You wrote:
    “That works for me although how you live out there escapes me. I think that Islam and being American are quite compatible but you might have to find your own Islam.”
    I couldnt have said it better myself. I have taken a religion, Islam, that I loved and rejected the cultural norms from Muslim countries, much of which I cannot stand.
    My wife, a Saudi, and are finding our own Islam that to us seems to be closer to the real faith that which is practiced in Saudi Arabia.
    With our family and the people and friends we have around us, we are working to influence the Muslim community in the US to be more an American based Islamic community versus an immigrant Islamic community.
    Now if I could just get a Muslim American dog owners association going, or a Muslim American outdoorsman association going I’d be happy.
    Freedom of speech needs to be absolute. It doesnt mean that Muslims, if they are unhappy about things, cannot do something about it.
    Instead of violence, why not a boycott of SP? Why not a letter writing campaign to try and get advertisers for SP to withdraw? Considering the show in question disrespected almost every religious figure you can name, it probably wouldnt be too hard to get an inter-faith group going for such a project.
    American Muslims need to realize that we can be 100% Muslim AND 100% American.

  56. JM says:

    Phil Giraldi: “This kind of thing gets very tricky. We have the First Amendment which guarantees our right to free speech…” and “I am a strong supporter of the French government’s banning of burqas and full veils.”
    Mr. Giraldi, I must admit that I do not have a fully-formed opinion on the French ban, but I would like to hear your views on how banning burqas is consistent with free speech or “free expression.”

  57. Arun says:

    May 20th is “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”.
    “After Comedy Central cut a portion of a South Park episode following a death threat from a radical Muslim group, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris wanted to counter the fear. She has declared May 20th “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.””

  58. vas says:

    Agreed that South Park is sophomoric in presentation. The perpetrators are a couple of smartasses who have taken dorm level entertainment directly to f&f, hardly passing go on the way, and getting rich without getting solemn or grasping. In doing so, they have created a cultural touchstone for the young. You and others may find it trivial, but the cultural echoes go on and on.

  59. Patrick Lang says:

    I do not find it trivial. It is the equivalent of the “groundling” prose humor of Elizabethan theater. I am not a groundling, so i find it repulsive.
    I also find it to be in poor taste to violate the cultural norms of Muslims with regard to images of the Prophet.
    That said, death threats for free speech in poor taste must not be tolerated. pl

  60. mac nayeri says:

    i agree….given the broader context, its hard to imagine the writer of the statement not knowing that, it is at least reasonable to interpret their choice of words as a threat…..
    language is malleable and certainly here it appears intended to convey a veiled threat….

  61. ked says:

    Col, if I may respond to opti…
    My intent was not to equate R&B w/ SP beyond pointing out both are cartoons having depth beyond simple entertainment. None-the-less, I AM being attacked by squirrels (& chipmunks!) these days. Must change my viewing habits…
    More generally, if SP were palatable to most SST readers, I wonder if it would make the ratings that’ve enabled it to remain on air to transmit occasional wisdom to its core audience.

  62. Arun says:

    Glenn Greenwald weighs in
    March 28 2010: “A Texas university class production of “Corpus Christi,” by Terrence McNally, below, has been canceled by college officials citing “safety and security concerns for the students” as well as the need to maintain an orderly academic environment, The Austin Chronicle reported.”
    “It looks like Ross Douthat picked the wrong month to try to pretend that threat-induced censorship is a uniquely Islamic practice. Corpus Christi is the same play that was scheduled and then canceled (and then re-scheduled) by the Manhattan Theater Club back in 1998 as a result of “anonymous telephone threats to burn down the theater, kill the staff, and ‘exterminate’ McNally.” Both back then and now, leading the protests (though not the threats) was the Catholic League, denouncing the play as “blasphemous hate speech.”
    I abhor the threats of violence coming from fanatical Muslims over the expression of ideas they find offensive, as well as the cowardly institutions which acquiesce to the accompanying demands for censorship. I’ve vigorously condemned efforts to haul anti-Muslim polemicists before Canadian and European “human rights” (i.e., censorship) tribunals. But the very idea that such conduct is remotely unique to Muslims is delusional, the by-product of Douthat’s ongoing use of his New York Times column for his anti-Muslim crusade and sectarian religious promotion.”

  63. Patrick Lang says:

    The Glenn Greenwald that I knew didn’t talk like a pretentious ass.
    No one has said anything here about such conduct being unique to the Muslims.
    That does not make the conduct less of a menace.
    Always with the justice nonsense! pl

  64. Michael says:

    It’s not a threat, but rather simply a direct incitement. A mark. A fatwa.
    The man, however, seems to be unaware of the practice among rich celebrities of hiring “security consultants.” Stone and Parker will not be harmed.

  65. Arun says:

    “LAHORE: A Pakistani court Wednesday ordered authorities to block Facebook in the country over a page encouraging users to post caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on the site.
    Thousands of members of the social networking site have launched an online campaign demanding a boycott of Facebook over the offending page.
    The depiction of any prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam as blasphemous and Muslims across the world staged angry protests over the publication of satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) in European newspapers in 2006.
    A Facebook user set up a page called “Draw Mohammed Day”, allegedly inviting people to send in their caricatures of the Muslim Prophet on May 20.
    Justice Ejaz Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court directed the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to block Facebook after a group of lawyers moved a petition in the court.
    An interim order has been issued until May 31, when the court is to start a detailed hearing of the case.”

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