Don’t tug on Superman’s cape. Don’t spit in the wind. Don’t pull the mask off the Lone Ranger.
Those rules to live by, courtesy of the late Jim Croce, were joined some years ago by a fourth rule that—like it or not—one would be wise to heed. That rule is: Don’t poke fun at Muhammad. Not even the most innocent kind of fun.
This is a message that Matt Stone and Trey Parke, creators of the popular Comedy Central series South Park decided to ignore when they depicted the Prophet Muhammad in a recent episode as a character wearing a bear suit.
As a result of the broadcast, they have been “warned” by a radical Islamic group based in New York that maintains the website RevolutionMuslim.com, which since appears to have gone dark.
An article in today’s New York Daily News contains text that appeared on the web site before it was pulled. According to the article, the site contained a posting that read in part: “We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is
stupid. They will probably end up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show.” The reference was to the Dutch filmmaker who was murdered in 2004 over a documentary he made addressing violence against Muslim women.
“This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them,” the statement reportedly concluded.
I don’t know, it sounds a lot like a threat to me, especially considering that the post included a photo of the murdered filmmaker with a knife still protruding from his chest. More sobering still, the poster included information about where Stone and Parker work, along with a sermon calling for punishments for blasphemy against the Muslim religion.
Authorities have claimed that unless the group makes an explicit threat against the cartoonists, their hands are tied. In the meantime, one can’t help but wonder what the show’s creators thought they hoped to accomplish by their depiction.
Click Subscribe at the top of the page to have my articles sent directly to your e-mail inbox. Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting a comment below.