When reporting on the nationality of a criminal from another country who has already been arrested, it normally would be considered unnecessary or even uncalled for to take the extra step of explicitly identifying the suspect’s ethnicity or religious affiliation as well. But, given that Israelis, the vast majority of whom are Jewish, often face sharp criticism and negative press reaction over conflicts with their Arab neighbors – inflaming anti-Semitic sentiment – if an Israeli citizen who is non-Jewish is implicated in a violent crime, informing viewers that he is non-Jewish would seem to be in order.
But so far in the media coverage of serial stabber Elias Abuelazam’s arrest, some major news shows on both broadcast and news networks have avoided explicitly informing viewers that he is not a Jewish Israeli, while others have been more upfront with viewers on the subject. CNN’s The Situation Room, the NBC Nightly News, FNC’s Fox and Friends, and CBS’s The Early Show all have directly relayed to viewers at least once that Abuelazam is an Israeli Arab. But ABC’s World News, the CBS Evening News, FNC’s Fox Report, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN’s American Morning and NBC’s Today show have all avoided such a direct identification of ethnicity.
Ground Zero mosque organizer Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has been described by the media as a "moderate" and a "bridge-builder." But not too long ago, the same news outlets gave identical labels to a radical Virginia mosque that has been linked to some of the most infamous Islamic terrorist attacks in recent years. And it celebrated in the same terms a "prayer-leader" who is now one of the most wanted Al Queda terrorists in the world.
The Washington Post reported on the Dar al-Hijrah mosque 30 times from Sept. 11, 1983, to Sept. 11, 2001, and the big news stories about the prayer center were its popular summer camp, its charitable activities and its joyful celebrations of Muslim holidays.
But to federal investigators and watchdog groups, the big news about the Dar al-Hijrah mosque was that it was a magnet for some of the top names in terrorism - most recently including the Sept. 11 hijackers and the Fort Hood shooter.
The mosque's former imam, Anwar Al Awlaki has been tied to numerous terror attacks in the U.S., and is now serving as a top Al Qaeda leader in Yemen. Al Awlaki will be shot on sight if he is tracked down by the U.S. military, under an order given by President Obama this past April.
CNN's Rick Sanchez bizarrely wondered on Tuesday's Rick List whether investigating the funding behind the planned mosque near Ground Zero would lead to investigations into Catholic and/or Mormon funding: "If you start going into who is giving money...you've got to go to Rome and start asking where the money is going into Rome....and you have to go the Mormons and ask...what are they doing with their money? [audio clips available here]
Sanchez posed that vaguely morally relativistic question as he interviewed former New York Governor George Pataki during the prime-time edition of his program 14 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Before bringing on his guest, the CNN anchor inquired whether the opponents of the proposed Islamic center/mosque had become extreme: "Are those against this Islamic center/mosque in New York City going too far these days? I want to you decide as you look at this new ad that's going to be running on city buses in New York. On one side, as you look at this, you will see that there's a picture of a mosque- on the other side, a shot of a plane that's slamming into the Twin Towers, and it poses this question: why there? The ad is being sponsored by a group that's called The American Freedom Defense Initiative."
After noting former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and current mayor Michael Bloomberg's support for the mosque, Sanchez introduced Pataki and first asked him, "Why are they [Koch and Bloomberg] wrong and why are you right?" After the Republican explained his opposition, the anchor gave his first hint to his later Catholic/Mormon question: "Once you start telling someone you can't worship here because it affects the sensibilities or sensitivities of someone else, you're starting to go down a slippery slope, and then a lot of people would ask- well, which religion is next? Who else are we going to not let worship where they want, how they want?"
Jon Stewart landed both his jokey feet on the Ground Zero Mosque controversy on The Daily Show Tuesday night. He mocked conservatives for having no respect for freedom of religion. This, from Comedy Central? The network that mocks Jesus and Christians relentlessly, but censors whenever the radical Muslims threaten them? Yes. Stewart was arguing for the “greatness” of Islam, that it should be accepted with great tolerance as a global religion – regardless of how much tolerance Islam demonstrates for freedom of religion.
Stewart mocked conservatives and Republicans. “Haven’t these people ever heard of freedom of religion? Lieutenant Goveror of Tennessee, you wanna take this one?” He ran a hacked-up snippet of GOP Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey: “I'm all about freedom of religion ...you could argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, or cult, whatever you want to call it.”
We’ll get to Stewart’s surgical removal of context later. Stewart made a shocked face, narrowed his eyes, and lectured: “I think religion is what they wanna call it. But point taken. I can see being confused with Scientology, or the thing that Madonna does with the red bracelets, or this whole Justin Bieber craze, certain World Warcraft guilds, Harry Potter book clubs. But I think over 1400 years and over a billion Twitter followers, Islam’s kind of an accepted religion now.”
Again, this is a rich line of argument coming from Stewart, whose acidulous attacks on the Roman Catholic Church hardly qualifies as treating Catholicism as an “accepted religion.” Instead, it’s a den of perverts and hypocrites. It's the "villain" that's "easy to spot."
More in sorrow than in anger, I'm about to record a personal blogging first: airing a gripe about Willie Geist. When writing of the Morning Joe sidekick, my habit is to append adjectives such as "affable." Willie is indeed a likable guy, patently comfortable in his own skin. And while I don't suspect him of being a closet conservative, neither is he anything of a raging liberal, typically striking a regular-guy's middle ground on most issues.
All of which makes his comment of today that much more surprising—and regrettable. Geist was commenting on an ad by an anti-Ground Zero mosque group to be displayed on NYC buses, which shows a plane flying into one of the WTC towers. Although defending the anti-mosque group's rights, Willieopined that it's "always in bad taste to show the plane flying into the building." Really?
The ad was illuminating for another, chilling, reason . . .
At the top of his eponymous program yesterday, CNN's Fareed Zakaria took drastic action to protest the Anti-Defamation League's opposition to the proposed Ground Zero mosque. Zakaria, who was honored by the ADL in 2005 with the Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize, gave back his award because he was "deeply saddened" by the group's respect for the families of 9/11 victims who oppose the construction of a mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero.
"Given the position that they have taken on a core issue of religious freedom in America, I cannot in good conscience keep that award," lamented Zakaria, who hoped that distancing himself from the ADL would compel the organization to realize its "mistake" and reverse its position.
In his lengthy monologue, Zakaria vigorously defended Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's constitutional right to erect the mosque: "If this community center were being built anywhere else in the world, chances are the U.S. government would be funding it."
But reporters Michael Barbaro and Javier Hernandez actually led with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's weepy speech about religious tolerance, falsely asserting that that denying permission to build a 13-story Islamic center topped by a mosque would somehow be "denying the very constitutional rights" that New York City police and firefighters died protecting.
And the Times again insinuated that opposition to the mosque is coming mostly from outsiders, while New Yorkers have gotten on with their lives and don't oppose it -- a half-truth at best, as shown by results of a poll of New Yorkers.
Times reporters were very impressed with the speech. Both Jodi Kantor and Brian Stelter linked to speech coverage on their Twitter feeds, Kantor calling it a "must-read" and Stelter calling it "worth reading."
Here's the Times's lead:
As New York City removed the final hurdle for a controversial mosque near ground zero, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg forcefully defended the project on Tuesday as a symbol of America's religious tolerance and sought to reframe a fiery national debate over the project.
Time magazine's Joe Klein has a penchant for self-righteous bluster in his writing, particularly, it seems, when he's smacking around adherents of his Jewish faith who happen to disagree with him politically. Klein can't seem to let his wrath take a respite, as witnessed by a sabbath-day posting on Time's Swampland blog.
Klein lit into Abraham Foxman of the ADL in a Saturday morning blog post for his opposition to a planned Islamic center just blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan (emphases mine):
The atheists at the Daily Kos blog just keeping lobbing bombs. On Friday, the blogger with the handle "Something the Dog Said" protested the protests against the Cordoba Center mosque at Ground Zero. After predictably assigning the anti-abortion shooters to the Christian conservative camp, the Kosmonaut actually said the Muslims are "a pale reflection" of radicalism compared to Republicans:
In the end it is just the SOP of the Republican Party. Find and issue and whip up hysteria, without consideration of the long term affects or what might be lost by the tactic. It is just another of the legion of reasons why the modern Republican Party can not be trusted with the government of the United States or any single state for that matter. The radicalization they claim will come from mosques is just a pale reflection of the radicalization that has occurred in the ranks of their Party. If there is a group to fear, it is Radical Republicans, which is basically to say the most of the Republican Party at this point.
Elena Kagan's record clearly demonstrates she's a liberal, but to Rachel Maddow, she's just not liberal enough to be an "actual liberal." While she did a bit of a victory lap with Newsweek's Dahlia Lithwick on Tuesday night that the Republicans failed to scare people about Kagan and "nobody was terrified," Maddow still felt Obama wimped out by not picking an obvious radical leftist:
LITHWICK: At the end of the day you have a nominee who just utterly slid under the radar. And I don't know how the fundraising went but I know that the narrative was "She's fine, yawn. She's fine."
MADDOW: Yes. Well, should liberals look back at this experience? I mean, we're not out of it yet but should they essentially look back and say, "An actual liberal, a real -- a more liberal justice could have gotten through here?"
LITHWICK: I think so. It seems to me that to the extent that Obama had a moment to put someone a little bit more -- a little closer to a Stevens legacy or a Brennan legacy, a little closer to a passionate firebrand, this would have been the moment to put them up if the rumors are -- and they're only rumors -- true that Ginsburg is going to leave while Obama is still in office.
On Wednesday's Newsroom, CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick refreshingly asked the developer behind the planned mosque near Ground Zero many hard questions. Feyerick bluntly asked Sharif el-Gamel, "Why not have a prayer space for Buddhists or Jews or Christians...why must it be Muslim?" The correspondent even brought up how one of the landing gear of one of the planes ended up on the site of the planned mosque [audio clips available here].
Feyrick conducted her hardball interview of el-Gamel at his New York City office. The CNN correspondent almost immediately launched into her prayer space question. When the real estate developer initially replied, "There are Jewish community centers all over the country," Feyerick interrupted with a sharp retort: "But the Jews didn't take down two towers." El-Gamel continued that "there are YMCA's all over the country," but she gave a similar reply: "But the Christians didn't take down two towers."
The journalist followed up with the issue of the planned mosque's proximity to the Ground Zero and mentioned the plane wreckage that ended up on the site: "For those who are so- still sensitive and so raw to this, their question- their overriding question is, why here? Why so close? It's two blocks, but it was close enough that landing gear ended up on the roof. Why?"
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Jeff Glor managed to squeeze criticism of a gaffe made by Sarah Palin into a story on a controversial plan to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero in New York City: "...on Twitter she called on peaceful Muslims to 'refudiate' the plan....Liberal bloggers pounced on the made-up word and Palin retracted her tweet."
While describing the opposing sides in the debate, Glor noted how Palin "upped an already raucous debate" with her comments on Twitter. After showing her tweet on screen, Glor played a clip of her using the word "refudiate" during a television appearance. He noted her response to criticism: "'Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too.'" Glor then clumsily shifted back to the topic at hand: "Grammatical debates aside, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come out firmly in support of the plan."
Tom Friedman stepped into a journalistic controversy in his Sunday New York Times column, "Can We Talk?" protesting CNN's firing of senior editor of Middle East affairs Octavia Nasr for posting this message on Twitter upon the death of Hezbollah founder Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah:
Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah... One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot.
According to Western intelligence, Fadlallah blessed the drivers of the vehicles behind the 1983 attacks on Marine barracks in Beirut which killed 241 Marines. President Clinton froze his assets in 1995 because of his suspected involvement with terrorists.
Yet Friedman was dismayed by Nasr's dismissal by CNN:
I find Nasr's firing troubling. Yes, she made a mistake. Reporters covering a beat should not be issuing condolences for any of the actors they cover. It undermines their credibility. But we also gain a great deal by having an Arabic-speaking, Lebanese-Christian female journalist covering the Middle East for CNN, and if her only sin in 20 years is a 140-character message about a complex figure like Fadlallah, she deserved some slack. She should have been suspended for a month, but not fired. It's wrong on several counts.
According to Poole, the Masjid Al-Noor mosque in Memphis posted an event entitled "A Weekend with Mohammed al-Hanooti" for the non-weekend dates of July 13 through 15 on its website. He has a screenshot of the mosque's event page and says that it is genuine, however, local Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal's Michael Lollar disputed Poole's findings in an article entitled "Hamas fundraiser not speaking at mosque."
Lollar only addressed the side of the mosque's administrators. According to Poole, Lollar made no attempt to contact him and Lollar's language in the article was dismissive of Poole's post, to the point of making it seem as though independently verifiable facts used by Poole were merely allegations and suppositions.
The New York Times continues its delicate, sympathetic coverage of NYC-centric Muslim issues with its treatment of the controversy over the Cordoba House, a proposed Muslim community center, to be topped by a mosque, that would be raised at the sight of the World Trade Center.
Wednesday's Metro section story by Javier Hernandez, "Planned Sign of Tolerance Bringing Division Instead" certainly made a lot of positive-sounding assumptions (starting with the headline) about the ideas behind the mosque, but failed to probe the secret details of the financiers behind it or to question the propriety of building an Islamic worship site at the same spot where thousands were murdered by radical Muslims in the name of Islam.
The Cordoba House was supposed to be a monument to religious tolerance, an homage to the city in Spain where Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together centuries ago in the midst of religious foment.
The Islamists mean to censor us one way or another: if not from fear of retaliation, then by retaliation. Shut your mouth, still your pens, stop thinking, or we will do it for you. Permanently.
Molly Norris, mild-mannered cartoonist, started a fire she cannot put out. As Rick Santelli’s “rant” on TV from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade fueled the Tea Party, Norris inspired thousands revolt against Islam. In a desiderative whim, she drew innocuous, refrigerator-door magnet caliber pictures which she claimed were images of
Mohammad: a spool of thread, a teacup, a spoon, and other mundane things. Overall, they looked more like idle doodles than passionate expressions of the freedom of speech. She posted them in protest of Viacom’s Comedy Central forbidding its cartoon show, “South Park,“ to depict Mohammad in a bear suit.
In a June 30 interview with "Talk to Al Jazeera," NASA administrator Charles Bolden revealed that President Obama had tasked him with "find[ing] a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."
Among the media outlets that blacked out the controversy was the Washington Post, which didn't cover the Bolden controversy until today. Even then, the paper printed on page A13 a brief 8-paragraph item by the Reuters news wire:
AOL News contributor Paul Wachter launched an inflammatory attack on Pope Benedict XVI in a Thursday post where he also defended recently-fired CNN editor Octavia Nasr for her eulogy of Hezbollah's spiritual leader. After hinting that the network "overreacted," Wachter suggested that CNN should also fire "anyone who speaks highly of the pope, who...has contributed to the deaths of millions from AIDS."
Wachter began his commentary, "Octavia Nasr Firing: Should CNN Also Ax Anyone Who Praises the Pope?," by recounting the former Middle Eastern affairs editor's Tweet where she expressed how she was "sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot." He then echoed Nasr's own synopsis of the Hezbollah spiritual leader: "Fadlallah left a complex legacy. He was staunchly anti-Zionist, a defender of suicide bombings and approved of the suicide attacks on American barracks in Beirut during the United States' ill-fated intervention in Lebanon during the country's civil war. But he also championed women's rights under Islam and spoke out against honor killings."
The writer, who also contributes to left-leaning publication such as New York Time Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Nation, then launched his attack on the Pope, and lumped in Jerry Fallwell, for good measure, at the end:
Both CNN and CNN.com have punted on the firing of Octavia Nasr, the network's senior editor of Middle East affairs, after she mourned the death of Islamist cleric Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, "one of Hezbollah's giants," to use her own phrase, on Twitter. None of CNN's on-air programming nor the website has mentioned her "leaving the company" since the news broke on Wednesday afternoon.
Editor's Note: What follows is a statement NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell released earlier this evening upon learning that CNN had fired its senior editor of Mideast affairs Octavia Nasr, who had expressed via her Twitter account sadness at the death of a Hezbollah terrorist leader whom she "respect[ed] a lot."
CNN has finally taken a step in the right direction in removing a terrorist sympathizer from their ranks. It’s a shame it took this amount of publicity and attention from organizations like the MRC to get the job done, as Octavia Nasr should never have been granted the position of authority to begin with. Unfortunately, CNN will have to deal with the consequences of how this affects their integrity and a growing public distrust of how they cover Islamic terrorism, but they took the right step in firing her.
Comedy Central just can't stop attacking Christianity.
On June 16, comedian Louis C.K. appeared on the network's popular "fake news" program, "The Daily Show," where he launched into an attack on the pope over the sexual abuse scandal plaguing the church.
"I was going to say that the pope f***ed boys and I didn't have time," C.K. blurted out as host Jon Stewart started wrapping up the interview. "I do think he does. Can I defend that before we go away?"
Stewart attempted to minimize the unprovoked attack saying, "I don't think that that's true, although, they bleeped it. I don't think that that's true."
A journalist hired by The New York Times to report on a controversial mosque at 9/11's Ground Zero and the failed Christmas Day bomb plot previously held a government lobbying position at the Council on American Islamic Relations.
The Associated Press and ABC News also enlisted former CAIR workers to cover stories involving the Muslim community, raising concerns over whether it's ethical for objective media outlets to hire ex-advocacy group employees to report on the issues they previously championed.
Sharaf Mowjood, who helped pen the Islam-focused articles for The New York Times and the Times' world-affairs paper the International Herald Tribune in December of 2009, worked as a government relations coordinator for CAIR up until at least March of 2008.
Mowjood's gushing, 1,200-word article on the controversial mosque planned for construction near the former site of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks was titled "Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero." All eight of the sources cited in the piece said they approved of the project or lauded its advocate Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
CNN anchor Don Lemon repeatedly defended rabidly anti-Israel columnist Helen Thomas as he interviewed Ari Fleischer late in the 7 pm Eastern hour of Sunday's Newsroom. After playing Thomas's remarks, Lemon lauded her in his first question to Fleischer: "Helen Thomas has broken down many barriers for women....She has a lifelong achievement...in journalism. Should that count for anything?" [audio clips available here]
The former press secretary strongly condemned Thomas's comments and proposed that "if somebody said that all blacks need to leave America and go home to Africa, they would have already lost their jobs," while stating that two of them "always ideologically disagreed, but I liked her." Lemon followed through on this point: "Yeah, that was my next point. It's- I know that people disagree ideologically- but you can still be friends or still be co-workers. Have you reached out to her at all? Have you tried to talk to her about why she said this?"
PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler on Tueday addressed Tavis Smiley's claim that Christian terrorists commit far more violence than Muslim ones. Smiley also issued a statement that defended his comments, though it misrepresented what those comments actually were.
"I don't think he made his case, or even came close," Getler said. He rightfully noted that the 2000 Columbine massacre, Smiley's only example of supposed Christian terrorism, "had nothing to do with Christianity." In fact, as Brent Bozell noted in his column today, the shooters even "mocked students who cried out for God to save them."
Though Getler should be applauded for noting Smiley's total failure to offer a convincing argument, he seems to suggest that a convincing case could be made, but simply wasn't in this instance. "One would think," Getler states, "that Smiley would have been better prepared to make what was certain to be a controversial case."
It isn't just the pro-Palestinian press that is attempting to distort the reality behind the recent flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza.
Former Democratic Congresswoman, and 2008 Green Party candidate for President of the United States, Cynthia McKinney, has voiced her own version of reality through an anti-Israeli rant in Arab News. McKinney is of course, a reliable source on the topic, having been involved in her own little attempts at defying and breaking an Israeli blockade of Gaza (translation - aiding and abetting a terrorist regime).
In her column for Arab News, McKinney expresses outrage over ‘Israel's needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists.' Having been involved in previous attempts to defy the authority of the Israeli Navy, McKinney knows full well that the Free Gaza Movement, organizers of this flotilla, consists of anything but unarmed humanitarian activists. In case memory has failed her, here is a handy reminder:
A report from the Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center highlights the link between flotilla organizers and radical human rights violators.
The Jerusalem Post points out that ‘soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passengers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes.' The article then goes on to say that the already armed protestors upgraded their arsenal by ‘stealing two handguns from soldiers', opening fire, and ultimately escalating the violence that they themselves had already started.
PBS station managers made a big push last year to drive any trace of “sectarian” Christianity out of the taxpayer-funded broadcasting system, banning any church services or religious lectures that appeared on a handful of stations. They ultimately compromised and banned any new church programming. But on at least one program, PBS sounds like it’s declaring war on Christianity, including smears on Christianity that are not based on reality.
If that sounds shocking, imagine what the average Christian PBS viewer might have thought as he watched Tavis Smiley’s weeknight talk show on May 25. The guest was ex-Muslim and atheist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, there to promote her latest book, “Nomad.” Smiley claims to be a Christian, but he attacked Ms. Ali for “idealizing Christianity” and recklessly turning people away from Islam.
Right out of the box, Smiley was out to make a point. “You say unapologetically and rather frankly that your mission here is to inform the West about the danger of Islam,” he began. “What danger do we need to be made aware of?”
That's why one needs to mix it up, perhaps by suggesting that they're akin to the radical Islamic clerics that inspire terrorism.
Just ask MSNBC's Chris Matthews.
During the "Political Sideshow" segment of his June 1 program, the "Hardball" host compared Sarah Palin's Facebook page posting about author Joe McGinniss renting the house next door to a "fatwa" aimed at "rev[ving] up anger at the author" from amongst her "mob" of followers [MP3 audio available here]:
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has a bad habit of inappropriate flippancy, and it's on display in his review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new memoir "Nomad," introduced with the headline "The Gadfly," that efficiently captures Kristof's condescending tone.
Hirsi Ali is a feminist intellectual born Muslim in Somalia, raised in Saudi Arabia, escaped an arranged marriage, fled to the Netherlands and began speaking out against Islam's treatment of women. She now lives in the United States and is a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, which is perhaps why her story does not delight liberals like it should on the surface.
As historian Andrew Roberts wrote in an attack at The Daily Beast, Kristof sounded condescending. Hirsi Ali's brave fight for women's rights against fundamentalist religious bigotry certainly sounds like something to be admired without reservation by any sincere liberal. Yet liberals often seem too afraid of sounding like anti-Islamic conservatives to applaud Hirsi Ali without criticism. Kristof makes it sound as if Hirsi Ali shared the blame for the threats on her life because "she has managed to outrage more people...," as if her goal is to provoke anger, not to expand freedom for women under Islam.
If there were a "Ms. Globalization" title, it might well go to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali woman who wrote the best--selling memoir "Infidel." She has managed to outrage more people -- in some cases to the point that they want to assassinate her -- in more languages in more countries on more continents than almost any writer in the world today.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Viacom's Comedy Central is developing an animated show practically designed to offend Christians. But the network's handling of recent controversy over depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad illustrates a stark double standard in how the entertainment media deal with issues of religion.
Comedy Central announced it is developing the script for an animated show tentatively titled "JC." According to the network's release, the show is about Jesus Christ "wanting to escape his father's enormous shadow to live life in [New York City] as a regular guy." The announcement described God as "all-powerful yet apathetic" and said the show would be a "playful take on religion and society with a sprinkle of dumb."
The show promises to stand in sharp contrast to the network's treatment of another religious figure: Muhammad. In 2006, Comedy Central censored a segment of "South Park" that depicted Muhammad. In April of this year, the network added audio bleeps to the second of a two-part episode to cover any mention of the prophet, as well as an end-of-show speech about freedom of expression and giving in to intimidation. The first episode of the story arc featured Mohammad hidden inside a moving truck and a bear costume.
This censorship came in response to a threat from a radical Islamic website, based in the United States, which warned that "South Park" creators would face violent retribution for "insulting" Muhammad by featuring (although not showing him) on the episode.