April 22nd, 2010
12:55 PM ET

'South Park' Mohammed issue sparks debate among Muslims

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/04/22/arts/southparkAB.jpg width=416 height=234]

Octavia Nasr | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Editor, Mideast Affairs

It took seven minutes of a "South Park" episode to change a devout Muslim’s features from an entertained smile to complete disapproval. He told his colleague, Lebanese blogger Bilal el-Houri, as he walked away from the screening, “This is disgusting.”

What the young man (he prefers to remain anonymous) found disgusting was the depiction of Islam’s revered Prophet Mohammed as a bear mascot in "South Park’s" 200th episode. The depiction was the show authors’ sarcastic attempt to highlight media’s uneasy dealing with the father of Islam as not to offend Muslims who consider any depiction of their prophet as blasphemous.

Since his followers insist on him not being shown in any form, producers have always struggled with ways to include Mohammed in story lines without showing him. The most famous of those depictions is the classic Hollywood movie ‘The Message’ by Mustafa al-Akkad about the life of Prophet Mohammed. Being Muslim himself, al-Akkad directed his entire film with extreme sensitivity building the character of the prophet around the wind or the light so it’s a presence that is felt or experienced but not seen.

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Filed under: Islam • Octavia Nasr
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Zeitgeist_n92u3

    They are not showing the prophet. The prophet is wearing a bear costume so it is impossible to see him. South Park did not showed the prophet, so everybody who is upset is wrong. They said they do not want people making images of the prophet. No image was made here.

    April 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  2. Benito

    In what so ever was the Irony of the depliction of Muhammad offensive in any way at all. during the south park Episode of the bear suit episode. In fact I personaly my self in courage depliction and irony of Muhammad. There is only one G*D out there. Which happens to be the G*D of Abraham, Isaic, & Jacob. The G*D of israel. All other idols and prophics are false.

    April 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  3. zefal

    By "Mohammed issue" you mean death threats directed at the creators of South Park? But Muslims killing and making threats is just a figment of Dick Cheney's racist imagination!!

    April 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  4. elle l.

    The article mentions director Mustafa al-Akkad and his movie "The Message" which depicts the life of Prophet Mohammed.
    The irony is that this filmmaker was killed in a suicide bombing perpetrated by Al Qaeda in a hotel in Jordan.

    The moderate Muslims in the world (where are they?) should have the guts to repeatedly denounce what the extremist fringe is doing. They cannot remain silent.

    April 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  5. crystal oneal

    The muslims need to know that there religious leaders can be made fun of just like leaders of other religions. Muslims are oversensitive about a religion that they themselves can barely understand. Its ok for them to be terrorist and claim jihads and such but others can't make light fun of there religious figures. I say to them turn the channel or band the show in your nation. Leave american tv alone. To the creators of south park release the episode causes this is america land of the free, we will watch and enjoy.

    April 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm |