Live-blogging: Are Muslims unfairly criticized?

A radical Muslim group has allegedly threatened violence against the creators of South Park because of an episode that insulted the prophet Muhammad.

In the episode, the children meet Tom Cruise at a chocolate factory where he is packing bundles of fudge into boxes. They ask him why he’s “packing fudge”, which angers Cruise and leads him to bring a lawsuit against South Park. The only way that Cruise will drop the suit is if the town brings the Prophet Muhammad to South Park.

The whole point of the show is to lampoon the double standards applied to Islam and other religions in the media. There is a scene involving the “Super Best Friends”, that features every religious figure acting as super heroes, including Buddha, who does lines of cocaine on a table as Jesus is speaking. For the scenes of Muhammad, the image is blacked out by a large “censored” graphic.

Eventually, Muhammad agrees to appear in South Park in a bear mascot costume so as not to offend Muslims.

The episode has been removed from YouTube, apparently because of copyright violations.

Closer to home, a Muslim civil rights group has criticized schools in the St. Cloud area for not reacting to racism there.

The BBC’s World Have Your Say program has dedicated its international call-in program today to the question of whether Muslims are “always being attacked.”

Here’s an example of what people are saying:

Bahrain : Like Japanese in World War II, Muslims are being branded as a target. We are not attributed for any kind of innovation or forward thinking. When people criticize us, we have no rebuttal.

Texas: It’s hard to hear what people are saying about us, it’s free speech. It’s not something Muslims are used to but Muslims in the West are getting more comfortable with it.

Oregon: Trying to secularize Muslims won’t help them.

Ohio: I used to be a critic of the faith, now I just don’t care.

Trinidad: I’m not so concerned. One feels they are trying to set the agenda for liberal societies in which they live, which is something they wouldn’t be able to do in any Mideast country.

Nigeria: There seems to be a general impression that there is a certain propensity for violence and the threat of it when it comes to that particular faith. Consider the flurry over the Catholic Church. No one has heard of threats against the parish priest. We take it for granted that we can say anything we want to about the Catholic faith. In the media there is self-censorship when it comes to Islam.

(A guest responded that that was an “attack.” “You’ve used the term ‘attack,’ the gentleman in Nigeria responded. It’s not an ‘attack,’ it’s a ‘criticism.’ I’m not attacking anybody.)

Another guest says “there are two thugs in New York who put a statement about South Park up, and people think they speak for all Muslims. Muslims have spoken about this by not speaking about this (South Park) for the last 14 years.”

Canada: Is the problem here South Park, or a culture that responds with death threats whenever there’s something they disagree with?

(Guest: “If there’s 100 Muslims and 99 of them love South Park, you’re not going to hear from any of the 99. Our crazies get more attention.”)

Jamaica: If there’s any faith that’s always being ridiculed, it’s Christianity.