April 19th: In celebration of their 200th episode, the popular television cartoon sitcom, “South Park,” took a jab at Prophet Muhammad. While the creators of the show actually drew the face of the Prophet Muhammad in a past episode (pre-Danish cartoon controversy), in this episode they blurred out his face. This move was designed to ridicule extremists who claim to be Muslim, and wish to respond violently any time someone reviles the Prophet.
On queue, an extremist group, revolutionmuslim.com issued a “threat that’s not really a threat” to the creators of South Park. While they compared the “possible” fate of the creators of South Park with that of the murdered film director Van Gogh, they insisted it was “reality, not a threat.” Obviously, these extremists are not only ignorant, but also incompetent.
So, in mocking the Prophet Muhammad, has South Park gone too far? The answer is, it’s irrelevant. Regardless of how someone might desire to insult Islam or the Prophet Muhammad, it is never an excuse to respond in violence. Such a notion has no place in Islam.
During the life of the Prophet Muhammad he was insulted, spat upon, reviled, and slandered countless times. Never once did he respond with anything more than peace, as per the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. “And the servants of the Gracious God are those who walk on the earth in a dignified manner, and when the ignorant address them, they say, ‘Peace!’” (HQ 25:64)
As for a practical example, Habbar was a vicious enemy of Islam. While the Prophets daughter Zainab, who was pregnant at the time, was traveling, he speared her camel. The jolt and fear was so traumatic that it caused her to have a miscarriage. Not long after, she died from complications of that miscarriage. The culprit, Habbar, eventually realized the atrocious act he had done and went to the Prophet to ask for his forgiveness. At a time when Muhammad (sa) could easily have ignored his plea, and rather held him accountable, the Prophet forgave Habbar. This example demonstrates true compassion for mankind that some unfortunate so called Muslims have completely abandoned.
Upon returning to Mecca after 13 years of persecution and exile as the de facto ruler, Muhammad overtook Mecca in a bloodless siege. At a time when he could have punished anyone for their crimes of murder, rape of their property and dignity, and genocide, he gave amnesty to all who accepted peace over war. His condition did not require conversion, enslavement, ransom, or even recognition of him as a Prophet. Rather, he only required peace and freedom of thought and conscience. He only required freedom of speech. Indeed, groups like revolution Muslim have nothing to do with Islam, and Islam has nothing to do with them.
In the modern day, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has carried this message of true Islam like no other. While I can quote countless pages, below is a short quote to reflect upon.
While explaining the responsibility of a Muslim in the face of insults he said, “If you are persecuted or reviled, be mindful that you should not meet stupidity with stupidity, for otherwise you will be counted in the same category as your opponents.“
He also said, “They (Muslims) should not design harm against the followers of any religion or the members of any tribe or group.” (Read the abolition of violent Jihad here).
This is the example of a true Muslim. The fact is, South Park is simply a show and the opinions of a few people. Could their cartoon offend Muslims? Sure. But, so what?
To Muslims who feel even the slightest bit of violence is a justified response, listen closely. You need to find a new religion if you wish to maintain your violent thoughts. Islam has no place for you.
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