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Censorship… on South Park?

Comedy Central’s cartoon show “South Park” is notoriously known for mocking everything that has ever existed, from the likes of Tom Cruise to Jesus and even to people with red hair. South Park have always been able to voice their opinion about whatever they wanted and have never been forced to censor any of their material before… until now.

On April 14, South Park’s 200th episode aired. They brought back a whole slew of characters that they have mocked relentlessly over the years. The storyline of that episode was that the people of South Park had to hand over the prophet Muhammad to the celebrities and the “gingers” (slang term for those with red hair0, otherwise, the town of South Park would be sued.  Their 201st episode for the next week was supposed to reveal the identity of the prophet Muhammad, however, a radical group called Revolution Muslim threatened the lives of the makers of South Park if they aired that episode because it showed an image of Muhammad.

Revolution Muslim posted the threat on their website and included a crime scene photo of slain Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh (who was stabbed to death in 2004 after making a documentary about violence against Muslim women) with the caption, “Have Matt Stone and Trey Parker forgotten about this?” The post further goes on to say, “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.” Then afterward, they listed the addressed of Matt Stone and Trey Parkers’s addresses of their New York and California homes, and also listed the address of Comedy Central’s headquarters. Some serious stuff.

There is major irony in this issue. An image of the Muslim prophet Muhammad was shown in the 2001 episode “Super Best Friends”, but was later banned from the 2006 episode “Cartoon Wars” due to controversies regarding Muhammad cartoons in European newspapers. This contradiction was mocked in the 200th episode, which led to further censorship of the 201st episode. Does any of this make sense to you?


(Episode 200 – Muhammad is hiding in the Bear costume).

If you want to see the “scandalous” South Park depiction of Muhammad, click the link here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fa/South_park_muhammad.jpg

Several Comedy Central cartoonists also voiced their opinion on the issue:

“We, the undersigned, condemn the recent threats against the creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, by the extremist organization, Muslim Revolution. Freedom of expression is a universal right and we reject any group that seeks to silence people by violence or intimidation. In the United States we have a proud tradition of political satire and believe in the right to speak or draw freely without censorship”

Do you believe that Comedy Central’s actions of censorship risk empowering other extremists?

If you are interested, check out Revolution Muslim’s website, it is quite some scary stuff.
You can also check out more information on the group here: http://www.adl.org/main_Terrorism/revolution_muslim.htm

Other links to check out:

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100430/surveymajority-of-americans-oppose-south-park-censor/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/28/AR2010042805369.html

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/comic-riffs/2010/04/post_2.html#comments

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