Will the Prophet Mohammed Please Stand Up

April 25th, 2010

By Brianna Aubin

Last week, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker drew a cartoon which attempted to depict the Prophet Mohammed.  In response, a group called Revolution Muslim posted a picture of Theo Van Gogh, a Danish cartoonist who was murdered for making a film critical of Islam, as he was lying dead in the street.  Then they said, “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.”

Matt and Trey went on with the episode anyway.  Comedy Central censored it.

The show was not canceled, but the references to Mohammed were edited out by the network, as was Kyle’s finale speech about intimidation and fear.  Apparently even making reference to Muslim intolerance is considered too intolerant by radical Islam.  The real irony of the show is that Trey and Matt didn’t even intend to come up with a realistic depiction of Mohammed; what turned out to be beneath the bear suit was actually Santa Claus, not the Prophet.

The decision was criticized by many, including Jon Stewart, who decried the group’s reliance on our tolerance of their free speech rights even as they lived in the shadow of the destroyed World Trade Center.  He then went through a reel of the show’s mocking of various religious faiths over the years, including Islam, and ended his tirade with a mock gospel chorus singing to the group: “Go F**k Yourselves.”

Normally, that’d be the end of the story, but columnist Dan Savage came up with an idea.  He has declared May 20th “Draw Mohammed Day,” both to water down the target pool and defend our rights as enshrined in the First Amendment.  Personally I think pictures of Mohammed portrayed as a pig, a picture of a woman in a burka with the word “censored” written all over it, or the traditional Muslim man with a bomb turban would all be appropriate.  After all, we don’t actually know what he looks like because of that pesky Islamic prohibition about portraying him, so we have to be sure we cover all the bases.

Contrary to the “hatred” and “anger” some may accuse me of expressing in this post, I truly have no problem with Muslims in America.  However, I do ask those who have made this country their home to embrace it with their minds and hearts as they have embraced it with their feet.  To me, this means that they must follow three basic dictates: support their own existence, learn the language of the majority, and obey the law and the U.S. Constitution.  As far as I am concerned, if you can’t practice your religion without doing those three things, then your religion isn’t worth practicing — or respecting.

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8 Responses to “Will the Prophet Mohammed Please Stand Up”

  1. Tom |

    I completely agree with your last paragraph. People who believe in any religion, or no religion, are perfectly welcome in America and free to practice what they believe — as long as they don’t impinge the rights of others or break the law. It doesn’t matter whether they’re Branch Davidians or radical Muslims, illegal and dangerous behavior can’t be tolerated.

    There are laws against threatening people, and the group that made these threats should be investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted. We can’t let the U.S. go the way of some countries in Europe, who have permitted radical Muslims, immigrants and homegrown, to change their societies for the worse.

  2. d |

    So,why are we allowing illegal Mexicans to change our country? Almost all products now have info written in Spanish and English. Sad to say, we don’t seem to care if we soon have to speak Spanish to order a hamburger or see a doctor. I agree with you both on all counts. If I could, I’d draw Mohammed in a public forum on May 20. He would look like a horse because that’s all I can draw.

  3. Tom |

    Interesting article in The Wall Street Journal by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is herself living under protection because of Muslim death threats. She rejects the notion that those who made the South Park threat are merely fringe fanatics who won’t do any real harm. Quote from the article:

    There is a basic principle in Islamic scripture—unknown to most not-so-observant Muslims and most non-Muslims—called “commanding right and forbidding wrong.” It obligates Muslim males to police behavior seen to be wrong and personally deal out the appropriate punishment as stated in scripture. In its mildest form, devout people give friendly advice to abstain from wrongdoing. Less mild is the practice whereby Afghan men feel empowered to beat women who are not veiled. …

    Islamists seek to replace the rule of law with that of commanding right and forbidding wrong. With over a billion and a half people calling Muhammad their moral guide, it is imperative that we examine the consequences of his guidance, starting with the notion that those who depict his image or criticize his teachings should be punished.

  4. d |

    Scarey. Very scarey and could be the beginning of the end.

  5. Brianna |

    It is people like Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali who are the reason I think Ron Paul is delusional when he says that all we have to do in order to reduce the threat of jihad is walk away from the Middle East. Quite aside from our committments to Israel, which are intolerable to Muslims and which I believe should be maintained, their values are fundamentally in conflict with those of the West in ways that cannot be resolved through peaceful negotiation. When one side believes in freedom and the other doesn’t, there is no middle ground or compromise that will fix things. Like the Civil War in America, you have three options

    1) One side or the other must change their mind (not happening, though the ideology of multiculturalism is doing its damndest)
    2) The two sides must withdraw from each other completely (impossible, both because of Israel and because it’s impossible for either side to leave the planet)
    3) You have to have conflict until someone wins (what is happening right now).

    The West cannot withdraw from the Islamic world; even if its military was removed and we made a pledge to never involve ourselves militarily again, our culture would still be making its way there through the mass media, globalization and free enterprise, pushing our ideas and values into a world where many hunger for them even as the dominant ideology calls them decadent and evil. Islam will never change its mind on Western values based on Islam itself, there is simply no material in the Koran or hadiths to support such a switch. As a consequence, I really see no way out of the current conflict, except appeasement or conquest. And choosing appeasement would be intolerable.

  6. Clarissa |

    On this subject, I agree with you completely. I have written about this issue repeatedly. Back in Montreal, we have serious problems with the Muslim community that believes everybody should adapt to their ways, not vice versa.

  7. Brianna |

    Slight correction: the person who actually came up with the idea was Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris, not Dan Savage. Ms. Norris apparently chickened out of the idea when it started to go viral.


    “Back in Montreal, we have serious problems with the Muslim community that believes everybody should adapt to their ways, not vice versa.”

    I must admit Clarissa, I’m surprised. Given what I’ve seen of your blog, I was expecting you to accuse everybody who’s gotten behind this of intolerance.

  8. Clarissa |

    You obviously didn’t read enough of my blog. 🙂 I have been writing about how much the idea of tolerance has been perverted by some people, for whom tolerance is a one-way street. I have to tolerate all kinds of things that I find insulting, while nobody seems to be interested in tolerating my preferences. I am being plenty tolerant in not going to Muslim countries and prancing around in my Western attire. I think the same kind of consideration should be extended to me. I’m insulted by seeing women being led on a leash in downtown Montreal. Why should I be exposed to something like this?

    I am an immigrant and I believe it is my duty as a responsible citizen to familiarize myself with the rules and traditions of the society I decided to join and then adapt to them. Nobody should be expected to adapt to me.

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