Is There Really a Fatwa Against the South Park Guys?

A weak "warning" against Matt Stone and Trey Parker, after an episode poking fun at Muslims, shouldn't have them running for the hills

By Leslie Gornstein Apr 22, 2010 12:03 AMTags

Will the creators of South Park have to go into hiding now that they have insulted Muslims?
—Love, via the Answer B!tch inbox

If you're asking whether South Park creators Matt Stone or Trey Parker have Salman Rushdie-style targets on their backs that will require them to flee to some stylish European getaway for the next decade, the answer is probably not.

Yes, there was a recent episode that featured Tom Cruise demanding the town of South Park produce the prophet Muhammad, who then arrives in a bear costume. Yes, there was also a shady warning directed at the South Park guys that looked pretty cowardly, and it went like this:

"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."

Theo Van Gogh was a Dutch director who was murdered by Muslim extremists after shooting a film about women in Islam. The website that aired the above "warning," Revolution Muslim, has since removed the language; when I tried to access it today, it appeared to be down altogether.

This is a far cry from the fatwa that was issued against writer Rushdie by Ayatollah Khomeini; Khomeini called for Rushdie's death loudly and publicly.

And it's nothing compared to what happened after Danish newspaper cartoons repeatedly depicted Muhammad, which some see as heresy. Furious extremists made death threats, attempted to follow through on them and sent the cartoonists into hiding. (South Park has already parodied that incident, and even before that, featured Muhammad as part of a superhero team with Buddha, Moses and Joseph Smith.)

The clowns behind Revolution Muslim—if they're even still around—don't even come close to the Ayatollah's credibility.

"This is some extreme—and I would repeat the word extreme two or three times—fringe group that's making a name for itself issuing bizarre statements," Ibrahim Hooper of the Council of American-Islam relations, tells me.

"This group that made this statement has no credibility in Muslim community."

That isn't to say that Matt and Trey are totally safe. Someone did murder Van Gogh, after all. And their episode did feature Muhammad.

But in general, the Muslim community is ignoring this latest South Park episode. It aired April 14—eons ago, in the blogging world—and will likely be forgotten by the time this Answer B!tch column goes live.


South Park, South Beach. Same thing, right, Kim?