Double standard for Muhammad

Mike Crissman

The long-running cartoon show “South Park” has parodied almost every person, place or thing imaginable. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have shown Jesus boxing Satan, cripples fighting, Kanye West as a gay fish and George Lucas and Steven Spielberg raping Indiana Jones.

Apparently, just showing the Islamic Prophet Muhammad is more offensive than all of the above. Many Muslims consider depicting the founder of their religion in human form as blasphemous. Some even threaten the lives of anyone who does so.

Last week, the radical Web site, based in New York City, posted the following message after “South Park” had Muhammad wearing a bear mascot outfit in a recent episode — though completely covered:

”We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid,” the Web site said. “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.”

Van Gogh was a Dutch filmmaker who was murdered in 2004 by an Islamic extremist after making a short film that accused Islam of condoning violence against women. Offended by van Gogh’s criticism, an extremist shot the filmmaker eight times, then attempted to decapitate him, in broad daylight, on the streets of Amsterdam.

In addition to the “warning,” Revolution Muslim posted a graphic photo of the deceased filmmaker, along with the address of Comedy Central headquarters and the “South Park” production office.

The First Amendment gives us the freedom to depict presidents, senators, popes, Donald Trumps and even holy religious figures in cartoons — in a positive or negative light. Unfortunately, carefully constructed terrorist threats, like that of Revolution Muslim, are viewed by some as falling under the same protection.

However, there’s a clear difference between social commentary and sinister threats. It doesn’t matter if their “warnings” are backed by religious beliefs from the Quran. They’re still criminal acts that should be treated as such. Threats made by crazy terrorists should never be taken lightly.

Threatening violence in the name of religion is reprehensible. It’s true Muslims aren’t the only ones throughout history to commit violence in the name of the Lord. Both the Bible and the Quran contain stories of violence being carried out against God’s enemies, along with messages of peace, tolerance and forgiveness: contradictions that in no way detract from the books’ meaning to its respective followers.

Sure, the Old Testament has ancient Israelites slaughtering polytheistic Canaanites, but you don’t see Christians today declaring holy wars against anyone who criticizes Christianity or shows Jesus in a cartoon.

The extremist Muslims, who continue to take ancient religious text and misinterpret them into being a justification for modern-day violence, are making their entire religion look really bad and super sensitive — especially about something as trivial as a parodying cartoon.

In today’s day and age, to have one standard for one person (Muhammad) and another for everyone else seems absurd and ridiculous. The Islamic religious figure is totally off limits, even for a satirical show as daring and controversial as South Park. Simply put, the touchy religious fanatics need to chill out and learn how to take a joke.

And they thought putting Muhammad in a bear suit was outrageous.

Mike Crissman is a freshman journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].