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Freedom of Speech, Islamist Style

Com­ment: In a sad­ly char­ac­ter­is­tic sur­ren­der of free­dom of speech rights, the West­ern crit­i­cal estab­lish­ment remains duti­ful­ly silent over attempts to impose Islam­ic stan­dards of cen­sor­ship on West­ern soci­ety.

The com­pul­sive­ly irrev­er­ent South Park com­e­dy pro­gram had to bow to Islamist desires in air­ing an alto­geth­er tepid por­tray­al of the Prophet Mohammed.

“ ‘South Park’ Episode Is Altered After Mus­lim Group’s Warn­ing by David Itzkoff; New York Times; 4/22/2010. [1]

An episode of “South Park” [2] that con­tin­ued a sto­ry line involv­ing the Prophet Muham­mad was shown Wednes­day night on Com­e­dy Cen­tral with audio bleeps and image blocks read­ing “CENSORED” after a Mus­lim group warned [3] the show’s cre­ators that they could face vio­lence for depict­ing that holy Islam­ic prophet. Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim, a group based in New York, wrote on its Web site that the “South Park” cre­ators Matt Stone [4] and Trey Park­er [5] “will prob­a­bly wind up like Theo Van Gogh [6]” for an episode shown last week in which a char­ac­ter said to be the Prophet Muham­mad was seen wear­ing a bear cos­tume. Mr. Van Gogh was slain in Ams­ter­dam in 2004 after mak­ing a film that dis­cussed the abuse of Mus­lim women in some Islam­ic soci­eties.

The new episode of “South Park” on Wednes­day night tried to revis­it this char­ac­ter, but with the name and depic­tion of the char­ac­ter blocked out. It was unclear how much of the bleep­ing was Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker’s deci­sion. . . .