A US Muslim group has incited a storm of controversy by issuing what is widely considered a death threat against the creators of popular satirical cartoon South Park for their inclusion of Mohammed in a recent episode.
In the 200th episode of South Park Islam’s prophet Mohammed appeared wearing a bear suit, as well as under the safety of an all encompassing black bar.
US-based Islamic group, “Revolution Muslim,” known for its support of jihad and al Qaeda, said in a statement on its website that the episode had “outright insulted” Mohammed, and then issued what can probably be construed as a weasel-worded death threat, mentioning a Dutch film maker murdered for daring to criticise Islam:
“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.”
The site also played a sermon by a US born Muslim preacher and al Qaeda member whilst showing pictures of the South Park creators, in which Islamic scripture is used to justify the murder of critics:
“Harming Allah and his messenger is a reason to encourage Muslims to kill whoever does that.”
They also helpfully provided the addresses of the various companies involved in the show’s production. The site has since disappeared for reasons unknown.
Legal experts say the group is carefully wording support of terrorism to ensure it remains legally blameless.
Mohammed has appeared on South Park before without incident, as have most other religious figures worth lampooning, though that was before 9/11.
Since then networks have been reluctant to deal with criticism of Islam, say the creators of South Park: “Now, that’s the new normal. Like we lost. Something that was OK is now not OK.”
The actual reaction from outside the US appears to be to simply ignore the existence of South Park altogether – the show is apparently either insufficiently inflammatory or simply too hard a target compared to an obscure Danish cartoonist.