South Park has outraged yet another religion. Coming on the heels of offending Scientologists, Catholics, Evangelicals and just about every ethnic group born to man, Matt Stone and Trey Parker are writers who make people squirm, laugh and think.
Nearly every interest group, public official and celebrity caught up in the day’s news has been used in South Park’s story line to make viewers laugh. The show is smart and thought-provoking while the jokes are crude and vulgar, and no one is immune from criticism.
I like South Park because it makes me laugh when I want to just laugh. It also makes me think when I want to just laugh. But truth be told, I, too, have been offended while watching (and laughing) at South Park’s depiction of Christians, conservatives or gays in any given episode. When South Park took on Christianity and mocked Jesus Christ, I found myself a bit uncomfortable and somewhat offended, yet I was still humored. I’ve even been so outraged by a stereotypical character or plotline that I’ve been moved to openly discuss it, analyze it with friends and bring it up in a later discussion. That is what makes it unique. Stone’s and Parker’s appeal is their ability to offend everyone. You know what you are getting when you watch South Park, so if you are upset by vulgar humor, it’s best not to watch it.
This week, however, one offended group is getting publicity for threatening violence on the show’s staff after being poked fun of in an episode. The U.S.-based group called Revolution Muslim has threatened violence on the creators for their depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, and it is clear from the group’s statements that they have never seen the show before. The group blames the injustices around the world on America’s pop culture and foreign policy and uses the latest South Park episode to make a stand:
“We seek to create an opportunity for correction of wrongs and the alteration of behavior that many may suggest is insignificant, but nevertheless is a behavior which we hold to be not only sacrilegious, but which we feel typifies a cancer which bites at the root of global injustice. The cancer we are referring to is that of American imperialism and its coincident culture of pagan hedonistic barbarism, a culture which drives to dehumanize the intrinsic morality of the rest of the world. As it stands today the vast majority of the world has witnessed the cloud of American debauchery, and those whom it has not hovered over have at the very least been affected by its dust.”
The group goes on to say:
“By placing the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a bear suit, the creators of South Park sought to insult the sacred, and show their blatant and general disregard for religion. By insulting our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) without the outright depicting of his image, the creators of South Park thought that they had found some loophole in the Muslim faith for them to mock. If you were to ask any American how many people had been killed in the Iraq war, then he would give you some number around 4,000. The reality is that many estimates put the complete death toll of this war at figures above 1,000,000. America is a country which murdered 500,000 Iraqi children in the decade before September 11th, 2001 under the Iraq sanctions….How can anyone possibly champion the values of such a people? In the last century only the Soviet regime and the Maoist regime murdered more innocent people than America. Not even the tyrant of the twentieth century, Adolf Hitler, beats out America on this list. However, for some reason the makers of South Park in their self-righteous obscenity feel compelled to impose upon Muslims the values of this regime.”
It is clear that the Revolution Muslim group isn’t really focused on South Park as much as it is focused on America, Hollywood and American foreign policy. The group hates the American way of life, Capitalism and freedom. The group is attacking people’s right to choose their religion, their soul mate, their movie and their political candidate with their terrorization. It is an assault on freedoms and therefore, everyone who loves this Country must speak out against the group’s threats of violence.
Muslim groups should be leading the way in condemning this group. Some of the funniest people I know are Muslims – and now is the time for them to stand up and push this radical group to the fringes of their religion. Muslims don’t have to defend the depiction of Muhammad any more than Catholics have to defend the gross portrayals of the Virgin Mary. But we all have to defend the right to make a joke.
If religious Muslims are so offended by South Park’s depiction of Muhammad, then they have the right to boycott the media companies that create and distribute the show, just as Evangelical Christians have done when they were overly offended. But violence and brutality is no laughing matter, and Muslims should speak out against Revolution Muslim’s threats.