The creators of South Park have received death threats for including the Muslim prophet Muhammad in their last two episodes. Ironically, a major theme in the two episodes was whether or not the city would receive death threats and bombings for having Muhammad make an appearance.
To be very clear, South Park is an irreverent and profane and I am not defending the creators of the show in any way. Nor do I intend to attack Muslims or their religious beliefs in general.
I can fully understand the feeling of offense Muslims may have at the possibility of seeing the founder of their religion and their religion itself possibly portrayed in the form of mockery and satire. In the Muhammad episodes it shows Jesus watching porn and Buddha snorting cocaine. As a Christian I find that depiction of Jesus to be offensive, but there is no need to threaten the writers’ lives or even get into a massive anti-South Park political campaign. Instead, I’ll do what Jesus commands and demonstrated – prayer for those who were against Him. Prayer not for their destruction but for their salvation. If Jesus needed me to kill people in order to “protect” His name, I am not sure that He would really be worthy of worship and reverence since He and His Bible would apparently be incapable of withstanding criticism and impotent to change people’s hearts.
Unfortunately for those who promote Islam as a religion of peace, this recent action by extremists is not an isolated event. Death threats due to questioning the Koran and Mohammad tend to fill Islam’s history. One of the early followers of Muhammad who even helped edit the Koran, Abdollah Sarh, eventually renounced Islam. He was eventually hunted down and killed by Muhammad after he conquered Mecca. Skip forward to 1972 when mounds of documents and texts were uncovered in Yemen that began a critical study of the very sources of the Koran by devout and scholarly Muslims. When the study began to raise questions about the authenticity of the primary sources of the Koran, these men and their families paid dearly. A few examples are Ali Dashti, a scholar from Iran, who mysteriously disappeared. Egyptian professor of Arabic Nasr Abu Zaid was forced to flee the country with his family. Egyptian journalist Farag Foda was assassinated. Then you have the death threats against the Dutch and Swedish newspapers for publishing cartoons of Muhammad. These are but a few examples that flow through the tapestry of Islam’s history.
Again, I am not saying that all Muslims are extremists and violent, and I fully recognize that there are many Christians who behave very badly and contrary to the Bible’s teachings. But I would hope that there would be more outcry from the Muslim religious and political leaders against these kind of threats and killings. If Muhammad is Allah’s prophet and the Koran is a perfect book then there should be no fear of critical examinations and no need to threaten those who desire to follow the evidence where it leads. If Allah exists and he gives people their just desserts based upon how they lived, then there is no need for humans to bring revenge on those who profane Allah’s name since Allah should be fully capable of doing so with eternal punishment.
Jesus and the Bible have faced and withstood these kinds of criticisms for a couple thousand years without man’s helping hand. On the contrary, those who tried to “help defend God’s name” through fear or violence are generally not held up as heroes of the faith but as those who deviated from the truth of the faith. In fact the Bible even cries out for people to try to prove it wrong. Many of those who have attacked it with vigor ended up becoming believers themselves.
Again, rather than attack or threaten those who attack those who attack our faith, why not pray for their salvation and place our trust in God’s capable hand?