Law Enforcement, ADL, & CAIR on "South Park" Threat and Episode Censorship
Two separate media reports document the reaction to a perceived threat from an Islamic group’s weblog to the creators of South Park and Comedy Central. After South Park’s 200th episode aired, a posting on the RevolutionMuslim.com website declared that the episode “outright insulted” Mohammed after making the religious figure appear in a bear suit, adding that series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone “will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing this show,” referring to a filmmaker who was murdered by Islamic extremists in 2004. In response, Comedy Central added additional censoring to the 201st episode of South Park (read Toonzone’s earlier coverage here).
The Los Angeles Times states that Revolution Muslim is “a relatively small fringe organization based out of New York” with “about a dozen members,” and identifies the original commenter as Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, according to Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. Segal is quoted as saying, “There is no direct link between this group and violence yet,” while he acknowledges the dangers in the original posting. The Times also spoke with Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who called Revolution Muslim “an extreme fringe group that has absolutely no credibility within the Muslim community,” adding that some suspect the organization is a fraud created to smear Islam. Hooper added that CAIR has refrained from commenting on South Park entirely to avoid giving the show any more attention.
While the Los Angeles Times got no comment from law enforcement officials, The New York Times quotes Special Agent Richard Kolko of the FBI as saying that the Bureau investigates criminal activity, not threats, implying that Revolution Muslim was not under investigation at this time. New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly stated that the NYPD was “aware of the threat,” but felt that it “rises to a crime right now.” The New York Times also quotes Revolution Muslim member Younus Abdullah Muhammad, who repeated an earlier statement that the post was a prediction rather than a threat. He adding that the post “was intended in a principle that’s deeply rooted in the Islamic religion, which is called commanding the good and forbidding the evil.” Comedy Central declined to comment to the New York Times on the original weblog posting or if it was taking additional precautions because of it.