South Park Censored

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:07 am UTC

I think part of the issue is that this episode is being held up as if it were as offensive as, say, throwing around racial slurs just to piss people off. And most of us posters typically agree that that's something you shouldn't do and makes you a dick. But in those situations, it's not bad because people get offended - it's bad because you're engaging in activity that has the effect of marginalizing a minority.

Simply depicting Muhammad doesn't marginalize Islam. At all. It may not be 100% respectful, but...again, how respectful is South Park of ANYTHING? And there haven't been masses of death threats resulting from anything else they've done. If there had been, no one would be trying to rationalize it, either.

So, depicting the prophet is offensive to Muslims. Until you show me a negative effect OTHER than simply their being upset about it, I will continue to hold that censoring depictions of Muhammad egregiously violates our right to free speech, AND our right to freedom of religion, since it's enforcing Islamic doctrine upon everyone in the world.

(All of the censorship has been voluntary, so I am aware that rights of speech and religion have not actually been legally violated. But the effect the death threats have had is indistinguishable to the viewers and creators of South Park from legally imposed censorship.)
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Kayangelus » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:10 am UTC

Asylumer wrote:AGAIN: The only reason Muslims are offended is because South Park showed Muhammad. They didn't show Muhammad snorting crack or watching Porn. They didn't show him doing anything obscene. Their crime was to disobey the tenets of Muslim faith by drawing an image of what they think Muhammad looks like.

Consider that carefully.


I watched the episode that was censored, and no, they did NOT show an image of Muhammad. I feel the point there is extremely under stressed. All these analogies made in this thread about how big an offense showing an image of Muhammad is, don't matter. Because South Park never showed it. This isn't like laughing at Christians on Ash Friday. This is more like asking Christians not to turn violent with anyone who does laugh at them.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:21 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Asylumer wrote:The reason Muslims are offended is because Non-Muslims showed a picture of Muhammad.
And in jestingrabbit's example, the issue would be Jews being offended because he didn't wear a hat as a guest they were kind enough to invite into their place of worship.
Is that seriously something you're still failing to get?

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:My freedom of speech outweighs your freedom not to be offended.
You know as anyone here that self-censoring to avoid hurting people is not comparable to the government doing the same. See: Every discussion on problematic language. Ever.
This wasn't self-censoring, though, this was Comedy Central censoring. Different from the government, sure, but also not the same as self-censorship.

And in any case you're talking about self-censorship to avoid *hurting* people, I was talking about censorship to avoid *offending* people. You should know from all those same discussions that conflating offense with harm is part of the problem.

Also, you can be damn sure that if I feel a complaint about language here to be completely unreasonable, then I will blithely ignore it even as a moderator on this forum. If you objected to the term "black hole" as racist, for example, I'd tell you to shut the fuck up and leave the discussion to the adults.

Princess Marzipan wrote:So, depicting the prophet is offensive to Muslims. Until you show me a negative effect OTHER than simply their being upset about it, I will continue to hold that censoring depictions of Muhammad egregiously violates our right to free speech, AND our right to freedom of religion, since it's enforcing Islamic doctrine upon everyone in the world.
Exactly. Show me where it causes *harm*, and we'll talk. Continue whining about how terribly offensive it all is, and I'll continue thinking you're missing the whole goddamn point.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:09 am UTC

Aetius wrote:It's the only point.

Haha. Sure. So long as you maintain that the topic is beyond discussion, I suggest that you stop responding.

Malice wrote:The issue would be Jews being offended because jestingrabbit didn't always wear a hat, even outside of a synagogue. Whether it's reasonable to take offense at something is absolutely integral to the question of whether we should accommodate someone's desire not to be offended. Reasonable accommodation is expected in order to participate in society; unreasonable accommodation is not. For example: it's one thing to come up to me in a restaurant and say, "Please put out your cigarette, I find the smell distasteful," it's another thing to come up to me in a restaurant and say, "I'd appreciate it if you didn't eat the food you ordered, I have an eating disorder." The former sort I will generally comply with; the latter sort has crossed a line beyond what I need to be doing to make the people around me feel better.

I feel the same way. But if I for some reason didn't experience hunger, and I nevertheless bought a hamburger and started eating it in front of the latter group just because I knew it pissed them off, it would make me kind of a douche.

There have been countless responses here to the effect that South Park offends everyone and that we therefore shouldn't care about this particular incident. Like Vaniver, I don't see much value in being an equal-opportunity asshole. But where this gets weird is with the arguments that Stone and Parker aren't being assholes, because they were merely provoked by Muslims.

Malice wrote:Now, if that guy in the restaurant has repeatedly asked me to stop eating, even to the point of threatening me with bodily harm, I might go in there and eat a meal right in front of him, purposely to offend him, to show that I'm not afraid of him and I'm not going to comply with his bullshit.

I suppose that I might as well, but I would try to leave others with his disorder out of it. Possibly because I'd distinguish between attacking violent censorship and attacking genuine, even if unreasonable, beliefs.

big boss wrote:Being deliberately offensive may make one a bad person, but no where in the law is the right "to not be offended."

Quick! Somebody tell the prosecutors!

Oh, what's this? Nobody is accusing South Park of a crime? Well, I guess freedom of speech lives to fight another day. Still, I guess I should— Oh, I'm sorry? There's also no law against me calling South Park douchetacular? Nevermind; the show's back on.

big boss wrote:South Park has been offending people for years, even specifically singling out one person and offending them for an entire episode, and no one (or relatively few people) have ever made a big stink about it until now.

Bullshit. You can maybe lawyer over what constitutes a "big stink," but this wouldn't be the first time I heard that South Park was controversial.

As for why I, personally, am commenting on this occasion and not the other ones: There is a thread on this forum for this particular controversy; it was brought directly to my attention. I don't watch South Park, so I don't very frequently have reason to comment on anything else that they do.

Vaniver wrote:Dream doesn't say it's bad, but wouldn't say it's OK.

Doesn't it go without saying? Again: Cleverbeans is the only one who has actually suggested that the threats were deserved. Other people can discuss other aspects of the story without needing to compete for Finger-Wagging Merit Badges.

Vaniver wrote:Rationalizing it is a necessary part of understanding it; and as said before there is value to be had in understanding it. I see no evidence Dream's attempts at rationalizing it, though, have been to find a way to reduce or eliminate it

Have anyone's? Perhaps I should reread, but mostly I just remember people restating that death threats are bad, frequently accompanied by various degrees of targeting "Dar al-Islam" collectively under this criticism. Dream's comments do normalize the death threats to some degree, but only to the extent of pointing out that they are caused by conditions distributed throughout humanity rather than by a loose bolt intrinsic to Muslim souls. Understanding that is probably helpful in reducing and eliminating the problem; saying "death threats are abhorrent" is also helpful, but only significantly so when you're speaking to people who make death threats.

Vaniver wrote:Do you really want to go on the record as supporting victim-blaming because it's easier than the alternative?

As you said before:

Vaniver wrote:There are two arguments here: whether or not South Park should offend people, and whether or not the response some Muslims have to mocking should be treated with horror and disapproval.

So, you apparently recognize that the former point is not truly victim-blaming.

I abhor and disapprove of death threats and perhaps some other violent reactions that I have overlooked. I simultaneously recognize that I will influence very few people by stating this here, as the vast majority of people who read this message will already agree with me. But there is clearly disagreement on the first point, and that is why it is being discussed.

For ninjas, briefly:

Princess Marzipan wrote:But in those situations, it's not bad because people get offended - it's bad because you're engaging in activity that has the effect of marginalizing a minority.

I think that deliberately altering your behavior in order to offend a minority, a hostile action, is marginalizing. This isn't the case for all depictions of Muhammad; if somebody objected (even peacefully) to a biopic, I wouldn't expect anyone to comply with it. But creating new depictions of Muhammad that serve no other purpose than to further upset those people sends the message that those people deserve to be upset. Is that not marginalizing?

gmalivuk wrote:This wasn't self-censoring, though, this was Comedy Central censoring. Different from the government, sure, but also not the same as self-censorship.

Nor is forum moderation the same as self-censorship. But as we are well aware here, it is the similarity rather than the difference that is relevant to freedom-of-speech claims on this forum or on Comedy Central's television station.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Aetius » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:26 am UTC

The point remains that Comedy Central has never had a problem with South Park being offensive before (including an episode just this year in which they went out of their way to emphasize that they were mocking Sarah Jessica Parker just for the sake of mocking her), and thus while this discussion may be a semi-interesting hypothetical, the actual circumstances of the situation are one in which Comedy Central censored the episode as a direct response to threats of violence and nothing else.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby pseudoidiot » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:30 am UTC

Not to mention the Super Best Friends episode where they actually did depict Mohammed.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:34 am UTC

Aetius wrote:The point remains that Comedy Central has never had a problem with South Park being offensive before (including an episode just this year in which they went out of their way to emphasize that they were mocking Sarah Jessica Parker just for the sake of mocking her), and thus while this discussion may be a semi-interesting hypothetical, the actual circumstances of the situation are one in which Comedy Central censored the episode as a direct response to threats of violence and nothing else.

And the circumstances of the situation also include South Park's going out of their way to be offensive, no? I am discussing that. Since I am not Comedy Central I am not here to defend Comedy Central's reasoning.

pseudoidiot wrote:Not to mention the Super Best Friends episode where they actually did depict Mohammed.

From 2001? Yeah — that was probably less controversial because it didn't come with the implicit "Fuck what you think, Muslims."
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Xeio » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:44 am UTC

If everyone is equally marginalized by south park, does that mean we're back where we started?

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:49 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:depictions of Muhammad that serve no other purpose than to further upset those people

Actually I'm pretty sure the main purpose of everything South Park does is to be funny. And also to send satirical messages about things, like how unreasonable it is to make death threats because of a cartoon. That they did this in a way that *also* offends some radical fundamentalists doesn't mean that was its only purpose, and it'd actually be kinda neat if you and others would stop grossly oversimplifying the situation so much.

Yes, I know it makes your argument easier, but it's also really disingenuous, like it would be to say that the purpose of Pride parades is *only* to offend conservatives. And I have faith that you're smart enough to come up with arguments that are based on something more nuanced than mischaracterizing the whole thing.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Dream » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:56 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Show me where it causes *harm*, and we'll talk.

The only way you could possibly think this doesn't cause harm is if you don't count emotional distress as harm. This is really, truly harming people. For about the third time in this thread I'll point this out: It's OK to cause that harm if you have any good reason to at all. If you have no reason to at all, it's a judgment call who's rights are paramount, the speaker or the aggrieved. I think you're equating this idea of "offence" with the kind of offence you feel when someone calls you a cunt in public. It's not. It's offence to a deeply held belief that makes up a significant part of some people's sense of their selves and their place in the world. I don't agree with it myself, but I understand that it's not just a moral point of view, it's much more personal and significant than that.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:04 am UTC

Dream wrote:For about the third time in this thread I'll point this out: It's OK to cause that harm if you have any good reason to at all.

Uh huh, but even if I grant you that this caused any actual harm, I'll point out again that it remains to be established that South Park didn't have any "good" reason at all to do this. You're assuming it didn't, but that hasn't been demonstrated to my satisfaction. Why is a social and politcal message in the form of satirical humor not a good enough reason for you?
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:06 am UTC

Xeio wrote:If everyone is equally marginalized by south park, does that mean we're back where we started?

Yes, but South Park doesn't marginalize everyone equally. Marginalization requires a dominant group to accept the marginalizing message; it's hard to argue that the same thing happens, socially, when South Park mocks Christians as when South Park mocks trans people.

gmalivuk wrote:Actually I'm pretty sure the main purpose of everything South Park does is to be funny.

OK. Why are depictions of Muhammad funny? Why is this depiction so upsetting while the one in 2001 wasn't? Why is the very fact of this depiction funny while the one in 2001 — well, I suppose I haven't seen the episode, but nobody has referred to it as being funny simply for the sake of Muhammad's having been in it.

But you're right that there are other messages involved. I promise that the mischaracterization is not deliberate; my own understanding of the controversy now looks like it is too shallow.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Malice » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:13 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Malice wrote:Now, if that guy in the restaurant has repeatedly asked me to stop eating, even to the point of threatening me with bodily harm, I might go in there and eat a meal right in front of him, purposely to offend him, to show that I'm not afraid of him and I'm not going to comply with his bullshit.

I suppose that I might as well, but I would try to leave others with his disorder out of it. Possibly because I'd distinguish between attacking violent censorship and attacking genuine, even if unreasonable, beliefs.


Unfortunately there's no way to target the act of drawing Mohammed; you draw him to poke the crazies, the non-crazies will also see it and be poked. As I understand it the episode makes a point of being about this censorship issue, although some of that was also taken out by the network.

Princess Marzipan wrote:But in those situations, it's not bad because people get offended - it's bad because you're engaging in activity that has the effect of marginalizing a minority.

I think that deliberately altering your behavior in order to offend a minority, a hostile action, is marginalizing. This isn't the case for all depictions of Muhammad; if somebody objected (even peacefully) to a biopic, I wouldn't expect anyone to comply with it. But creating new depictions of Muhammad that serve no other purpose than to further upset those people sends the message that those people deserve to be upset. Is that not marginalizing?


No, it doesn't send the message that they deserve to be upset; it sends the message that if they insist on being upset by something they have no control over, they are going to be made upset from time to time.

--

Dream wrote:I think you're equating this idea of "offence" with the kind of offence you feel when someone calls you a cunt in public. It's not. It's offence to a deeply held belief that makes up a significant part of some people's sense of their selves and their place in the world. I don't agree with it myself, but I understand that it's not just a moral point of view, it's much more personal and significant than that.


Agreed. But that deeply held, significant belief is in regards to something they don't and shouldn't have any control over. I could believe utterly and deeply that it's incredibly offensive to our Lord the God of the Holiest Union of Chocolate and Peanut Butter to eat Reese's Peanut Butter cups during the daytime, but that doesn't mean I should expect people to stop doing it. Maybe if I'm in the room at the time. Certainly if they're a guest in my house. But everyone the world over? That's unreasonable.

Yes, it's a significant offense to them. Tough. They should have chosen to be offended by things they can actually reasonably expect the rest of us to accommodate.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:15 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Marginalization requires a dominant group to accept the marginalizing message

Such as the message that we need to be more careful not to offend people's religious opinions, and that if I want to go and do it anyway, it's reasonable for someone more powerful than me to step in and silence me to stop that offense from happening?

Because that seems a hell of a lot more marginalizing than the message that I don't need to follow your religion's rules.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Vaniver » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:16 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Doesn't it go without saying?
No, it doesn't, particularly when you're explaining the other side's point of view. Saying "I think this is wrong but I see where they're coming from" is a lot better than "This is where they're coming from" several times followed by a "I don't think it's ok, by the way."

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Have anyone's? Perhaps I should reread, but mostly I just remember people restating that death threats are bad, frequently accompanied by various degrees of targeting "Dar al-Islam" collectively under this criticism.
No, they haven't. But I don't mind people chiming in with "wow, this is bad," while I do mind when people chime in with "this isn't so bad." That criterion was how I was differentiating between "this is why they feel this way, this is how that can change" and "this is why they feel this way, and it's normal / not something you understand."

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Dream's comments do normalize the death threats to some degree, but only to the extent of pointing out that they are caused by conditions distributed throughout humanity rather than by a loose bolt intrinsic to Muslim souls.
See Le1bn1z's post where he responds to CleverBeans, with examples of all the other violent extremists that people dislike (and thus we're being anti-violence, not anti-Muslim)? That's very different from "I'm sure Christians would be just as violent, given the chance." They are given the chance, and they aren't.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:So, you apparently recognize that the former point is not truly victim-blaming.

I abhor and disapprove of death threats and perhaps some other violent reactions that I have overlooked. I simultaneously recognize that I will influence very few people by stating this here, as the vast majority of people who read this message will already agree with me. But there is clearly disagreement on the first point, and that is why it is being discussed.
There are two primary arguments about the first point: 1. Offending people is wrong. 2. South Park did it to itself, because it knew Muslims would respond this way.

The "did it to itself" part of that argument is what bothers me (and apparently Le1bn1z). When you reread "the creators of South Park are a small and readily-identifiable group whose behavior is much more controllable than that of a subset of a billion-member religion," does that say "South Park should stop being a satire show" or "South Park should stop targeting Muslims, because they can't take a joke"?

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:I think that deliberately altering your behavior in order to offend a minority, a hostile action, is marginalizing.

We must be reading different threads. Here's Dream:
Dream wrote:Parker and Stone have a better reason than just causing offence to do this: They feel it is important to be equal opportunities satirists. They would feel wrong about attacking every religion that is significant in the States but leaving one out out of sensitivity. I'd imagine that as cartoonists, depicting the prophet is as obvious as making Jesus a televangelist. It's not just an offence, it's one of the few jokes everyone will get.
So, the entire point of this was not to marginalize or exclude them, but to include them.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:if somebody objected (even peacefully) to a biopic, I wouldn't expect anyone to comply with it.
You're new to this, aren't you? Muhammad was depicted on a frieze put up in the SCOTUS building of historical lawgivers. In 1997, a Muslim group protested, asking for his face to be sandblasted away; the SCOTUS responded by changing its materials to call it not actually a depiction of Muhammad, and in 1955 a group of Muslim ambassadors requested and got the removal of a Muhammad statue.

Dream wrote:The only way you could possibly think this doesn't cause harm is if you don't count emotional distress as harm. This is really, truly harming people. For about the third time in this thread I'll point this out: It's OK to cause that harm if you have any good reason to at all.
No. South Park does not have to explain itself to you or to Muslims, and does not have to have a reason to do it.

Dream wrote:It's offence to a deeply held belief that makes up a significant part of some people's sense of their selves and their place in the world.
So, because radical Muslims have a inflated self-esteem that they prop up by violence, I should be OK with that? No. We call it bullying on the playground, and we call it bullying in society, and it should be stood up against.

They can't even hide behind the theological justification- this isn't "don't depict a chaste figure as overcome by lust," it's "worship the actuality, not the depiction." In which case this anger becomes even more ludicrous- a prohibition against idol-worship is taken as a reason to jealously protect the image of Muhammad as what's important.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Why is this depiction so upsetting while the one in 2001 wasn't?
Quite possibly the same reason why the Danish cartoon thing didn't blow up until quite some time later, and included a bunch of more offensive cartoons not drawn or published by the Danish newspaper (suggesting that the imams popularizing the issue probably made them or had them made themselves).
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Isaac Hill » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:29 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:(Incidentally, I saw the episode, with nothing bleeped out, in Canada. It was hilarious. Mohammed was drawn as a stick figure, at one point.)
Do you remember any phrases from Kyle's "I learned something today" speech? I'd like to read a transcript, or find a video clip, but searching just leads to articles about the bleeped speech, not the text itself. A few specific words might help.
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Hrmmm, artistic talent not required I hope? I can't draw much but stick figures. :P
I don't think anyone here will complain. I drew a stick figure Mohammed in a bear suit this afternoon, before I knew about the day, in the medium of crayon on paper. It took longer to find my crayons than it did to draw. Spoilered so no Muslim or art lover inadvertently sees it:
Spoiler:
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The inclusion of his child bride isn't meant to be a criticism, I just needed an aspect of his life that I could actually draw, and a little pink bow is about the limit of my abilities. I don't see a problem with the marriage itself, since marrying age was much lower in his time, and it was common for marriages to take place primarily as a way to strengthen bonds between two communities, which a prophet would have to do. Plus, he had parental consent, and if that was good enough for Ted Nugent, it's good enough for Mohammed. The fact that he married the girl and made an honest woman tween out of her makes him a far better moral example than those sluttly, slutty priests. One of those sick bastards appears to have molested around 200 deaf boys which is not only horrifying, but the weirdest damn fetish I've ever heard of.


The prohibition against images of Mohammed appears to be to prevent idolatry, the worship of the picture instead of the man. I can understand this. When I see reports of Christians flocking to a stain that supposedly looks like the Virgin Mary, I get that other faiths would want to avoid having their people focus on images of their icons instead of their deeds. But by taking offense at images, in some cases being ready to fight or kill over them, they're still giving the images power over them. By treating the images as devils instead of gods, they're still committing idolatry.

Dream wrote:It's offence to a deeply held belief that makes up a significant part of some people's sense of their selves and their place in the world. I don't agree with it myself, but I understand that it's not just a moral point of view, it's much more personal and significant than that.
If you're offended by someone else not following your religious beliefs, that's your fault, not theirs. If someone doodled an image of Mohammed on a sketch pad while inside a mosque, that would be grounds to be thrown out for violating Muslim belief on Muslim turf. I'd understand if the sketch was confiscated and destroyed. But you can't expect non-believers to follow the traditions on their own turf.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:30 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Nobody is accusing South Park of a crime? Well, I guess freedom of speech lives to fight another day.
Nice false dichotomy there, but you're forgetting civil law.

The thing is, the law is being used to prevent South Park from sharing their intended version of this episode. Because Comedy Central has rights to the show (I think, anyway), they can say whether or not South Park Studios is allowed to show the original version.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Asylumer » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:38 am UTC

Kayangelus wrote:I watched the episode that was censored, and no, they did NOT show an image of Muhammad. I feel the point there is extremely under stressed. All these analogies made in this thread about how big an offense showing an image of Muhammad is, don't matter. Because South Park never showed it. This isn't like laughing at Christians on Ash Friday. This is more like asking Christians not to turn violent with anyone who does laugh at them.


Perhaps I assumed too much as I had heard the image (and his name being mentioned) was censored only afterwords by Comedy Central. Admittedly I didn't watch the episodes until now since this response made me wonder exactly what was shown. What was the death threat over then? It had better not be that black rectangle with "Censored" on it, or the bear suit which had Santa in it, or the van. Or was it because the Celebrities were trying to take Muhammad's power to not be ridiculed?

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Vaniver » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:42 am UTC

Isaac Hill wrote:The prohibition against images of Mohammed appears to be to prevent idolatry, the worship of the picture instead of the man. I can understand this. When I see reports of Christians flocking to a stain that supposedly looks like the Virgin Mary, I get that other faiths would want to avoid having their people focus on images of their icons instead of their deeds. But by taking offense at images, in some cases being ready to fight or kill over them, they're still giving the images power over them. By treating the images as devils instead of gods, they're still committing idolatry.
Thank you; this is what I wanted to express, but written far more eloquently than I did.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:07 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:No, it doesn't, particularly when you're explaining the other side's point of view. Saying "I think this is wrong but I see where they're coming from" is a lot better than "This is where they're coming from" several times followed by a "I don't think it's ok, by the way."

Dream's second post on the subject says "I don't remotely agree with Cleverbeans, but understanding why religious people take these things so seriously is the key to understanding the issue," which is a pretty direct translation of "I think this is wrong but I see where they're coming from" in context.

Vaniver wrote:But I don't mind people chiming in with "wow, this is bad," while I do mind when people chime in with "this isn't so bad."

I don't mind when people chime in with "This isn't so bad" when the badness truly has been overstated. Now, it's hard to overstate the badness of death threats, but you, me, and Dream seem to all be on the same page as far as recognizing that the being-offended isn't out of the blue.

Vaniver wrote:The "did it to itself" part of that argument is what bothers me (and apparently Le1bn1z). When you reread "the creators of South Park are a small and readily-identifiable group whose behavior is much more controllable than that of a subset of a billion-member religion," does that say "South Park should stop being a satire show" or "South Park should stop targeting Muslims, because they can't take a joke"?

Yes, I see that I phrased that poorly. I don't think that censoring South Park is the preferred method to pacify Muslims. I think that objecting to South Park on this forum is more likely to affect South Park than objecting to radical Muslims on this forum is going to affect radical Muslims — but the two effects are in regards to different issues, since I was responding to a post about the relative treatment of those two issues.

Vaniver wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:if somebody objected (even peacefully) to a biopic, I wouldn't expect anyone to comply with it.
You're new to this, aren't you? Muhammad was depicted on a frieze put up in the SCOTUS building of historical lawgivers. In 1997, a Muslim group protested, asking for his face to be sandblasted away; the SCOTUS responded by changing its materials to call it not actually a depiction of Muhammad, and in 1955 a group of Muslim ambassadors requested and got the removal of a Muhammad statue.

I should have known to clarify before: I meant "expect" in the normative rather than predictive sense. I wouldn't at all be surprised that people would object to such a biopic, but I would see nothing wrong with producing the film anyway. More on that later.

gmalivuk wrote:The thing is, the law is being used to prevent South Park from sharing their intended version of this episode. Because Comedy Central has rights to the show (I think, anyway), they can say whether or not South Park Studios is allowed to show the original version.

Well, OK. I don't like that Comedy Central can censor political speech in this way, but I think it's entirely fair that they can enter into agreements with South Park Studios that grants them rights to the show and makes production financially viable. That's a conflict between speech rights and copyright; the "right" to not be offended is just one of the many things that Comedy Central has the discretion to consider when deciding what to do with the show that it helped to produce.

Now, what I mentioned above: I should state again, and more clearly, that I don't object to depictions of Muhammad. And now I don't think that I object to this depiction of Muhammad. I was under the mistaken impression that this was a "Suck it, Muslims" gesture, and Malice and gmal are both right that it really isn't. Like Malice, I think it's unfortunate that plenty of non-violent Muslims are offended, but I don't at all hold it against Stone and Parker that they'd ignore this in order to make a point about violent censorship. Many of my arguments before involved the unfounded assumption that there was malice toward the non-violent group.

And I also agree with Isaac's analysis.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Asylumer » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:34 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Vaniver wrote:But I don't mind people chiming in with "wow, this is bad," while I do mind when people chime in with "this isn't so bad."

I don't mind when people chime in with "This isn't so bad" when the badness truly has been overstated. Now, it's hard to overstate the badness of death threats, but you, me, and Dream seem to all be on the same page as far as recognizing that the being-offended isn't out of the blue.


I don't believe anybody here doesn't recognize the reason why Muslims may be offended by depictions of Muhammad. That's the biggest reason why the idea of justifying offense as a reason to curtail non-Muslims from doing so is so abhorrent to me. Even if somebody decided the only reason he or she wanted to make an image of Muhammad was to make it, while knowing full well that some Muslims would be angry about it, the only reason they could take offense is because he or she wasn't obeying a rule that belongs to Islam.

The death threats could be chalked up to a few crazies, but even implying that we should consider a stance of being offended as a proper excuse to force religion onto others? That is not moderate in the least. If you want to decry the bigotry against Muslims focus on real issues, like the woman who was denied adoption because she refused to let pork into her house, instead of making it appear normal for non-Muslims to be subjected to Muslim rules, or (in the case of CleverBeans) try to use current wars as a guilt method to prevent criticism.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:37 am UTC

Asylumer wrote:I don't believe anybody here doesn't recognize the reason why Muslims may be offended by depictions of Muhammad.

Go so far as clicking the link in the quote and you will find at least one poster who does not.

The rest of your argument burns straw quite efficiently.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Asylumer » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:41 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Asylumer wrote:I don't believe anybody here doesn't recognize the reason why Muslims may be offended by depictions of Muhammad.

Go so far as clicking the link in the quote and you will find at least one poster who does not.

The rest of your argument burns straw quite efficiently.


Sleep deprivation makes one see men of straw everywhere. Sorry if I misjudged your position.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:48 am UTC

Well, I've already recanted much of it, but I was never saying that non-Muslims should try to live by Islam's rules.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Asylumer » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:55 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Well, I've already recanted much of it, but I was never saying that non-Muslims should try to live by Islam's rules.


Well it sounded as though you were trying to justify offense against depictions of Muhammad as a legitimate complaint. Seeing as this is a part of Islamic beliefs, I hope you can see why "taking offense" to something like that is very similar to "taking offense" to people being gay but with further implications since it becomes "offensive" to not be a Muslim (which treads on Freedom of Religion).

If I've been wrong then :oops:

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:15 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:My point remains that this wouldn't be newsworthy if they couldn't find a connection to Islam, because of the widespread anti-Islamic sentiment in the US. It's all fine and dandy to be satirical, but it's completely tactless to satirize a people who are actively being killed by your government on baseless grounds right now. The were douche-bags, they were threatened, they deserved it, they voluntarily self-censored. I can't see how this is anything other than an embarrassment to those who authored this bigoted tripe.
I didn't realize that all the Muslims in the world lived in Iraq and Afghanistan. I learned something today.

Cleverbeans appears to feel that all Muslims are a people together, united regardless of national origin, birth language, sect, or level of religious observance. This is the essence of Islamism. I propose that Cleverbeans is an Islamist, and, like the rest of them, nurses a victimization complex based on what are, essentially, paranoid delusions of a world war against Islam -- the largest or second largest religion on Earth, a religion that has converted by the sword and built empires on the bones of other religions and cultures (including, as a matter of personal disclosure, my religion and culture) since its formation. Oh grandma, what great chutzpah you have!

As to why Matt and Trey chose to satirize the nutty side of Islam... they've done pretty much every other major religion present in the United States. They've even done an episode showing Muslims as normal people and portraying Islamophobia as Cartmanesque racist idiocy. Islam (as of recently) is the largest minority religion in the United States and in the running for the largest religion in the world. Why shouldn't they turn on it the same guns they've turned on Christianity (largest religion in the USA), atheism (largest minority opinion on religious matters), and Judaism (the former largest minority religion in the USA)? Yet they chose not to do so! Rather than be assholes by just insulting Islam (in the exact same way they've insulted Judaism, Christianity, and atheism...), they decided to only go after the really nutty fuckers within Islam. By South Park standards, this has been incredibly respectful of and delicate to Islamic sensibilities, and in this portrayal of Muhammad they have shown Islam a respect that no other religion has received from their show, including the nominal religions of the show's producers.

Dream wrote:I don't remotely agree with Cleverbeans, but understanding why religious people take these things so seriously is the key to understanding the issue.

Tough shit. I get my religion mocked on broadcasted TV for shits and giggles all the time, and my religion is quite nearly identical to Islam aside from a some modifications made by Muhammad when he carbon-copied us. Somehow, however, when we want to use violence it just provokes hatred of us, whereas when Muslims get violent, their victims get respectful.

Islam is OK, but fuck Islamism, fuck terrorism, and fuck the Chamberlainists who allow "offense" or "sensitivity" to become an excuse for giving into Islamist terrorism. MUHAMMAD, MUHAMMAD, MUHAMMAD, MUHAMMAD, MUHAMMAD, MUHAMMAD. Oh me yarm, I said the most common name on Earth!

This is why we have the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech: because once you concede that one religion can force its respect codes on those who don't follow it, you must eventually either allow this privilege to every other religion and our loonies, or you must become something of a theocracy.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Kayangelus » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:16 am UTC

Asylumer wrote:
Kayangelus wrote:I watched the episode that was censored, and no, they did NOT show an image of Muhammad. I feel the point there is extremely under stressed. All these analogies made in this thread about how big an offense showing an image of Muhammad is, don't matter. Because South Park never showed it. This isn't like laughing at Christians on Ash Friday. This is more like asking Christians not to turn violent with anyone who does laugh at them.


Perhaps I assumed too much as I had heard the image (and his name being mentioned) was censored only afterwords by Comedy Central. Admittedly I didn't watch the episodes until now since this response made me wonder exactly what was shown. What was the death threat over then? It had better not be that black rectangle with "Censored" on it, or the bear suit which had Santa in it, or the van. Or was it because the Celebrities were trying to take Muhammad's power to not be ridiculed?


I don't think the extremists gave an actual reason that made sense in line with what happened in the show. Either they didn't watch it, or they were giving out the threats because they figured most people (that they think matter) wouldn't watch it and assume it was depicting Mohammed. I mean, most people in this thread seem to believe Mohammed was depicted. And I would think the people on xkcd forums would be less gullible than others.

off topic: can you link to the site where you watched it? These two were the first episodes I watched, and while I'm trying to find others, the site I found that has south park is /really/ slow. I'm not used to a video taking a few times as long to buffer/load as to watch.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:08 am UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:fuck the Chamberlainists who allow "offense" or "sensitivity" to become an excuse for giving into Islamist terrorism.

...and there it is.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:26 am UTC

You can bash his overtly non-biased stance, but he makes a good point when demonstrating that SP was actually quite respectful of Islam, and another good point when he writes;
aleflamedyud wrote:This is why we have the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech: because once you concede that one religion can force its respect codes on those who don't follow it, you must eventually either allow this privilege to every other religion and our loonies, or you must become something of a theocracy.

Frankly, I don't care how offended any party is by the ongoings of SP; like The Onion, it exists as a platform to remind us that nothing is more or less sacrosanct to the rigors of humor and satire.

Anyone remember the Onions spread of 9/11 days after it occurred? The search function is a bit iffy on their website.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby jestingrabbit » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:51 am UTC

If there is a genuine threat of theocracy in america, its not coming from islam guys. You could amend your constitution to ban images of mohammed and the threat would still not be coming from islam.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby New User » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:53 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Anyone remember the Onions spread of 9/11 days after it occurred? The search function is a bit iffy on their website.

I think the headline was "America Vows To Defeat Whoever It Is We're At War With", although I didn't see it days afterward but years. I thought it was funny.
EDIT: Found it. Dated September 26, 2001.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Asylumer » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:41 am UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:If there is a genuine threat of theocracy in america, its not coming from islam guys. You could amend your constitution to ban images of mohammed and the threat would still not be coming from islam.


Riiight, because 56 predominantly Muslim countries didn't just last year try to take their earlier non-binding UN resolution that encouraged strict blasphemy laws to the next level (luckily they failed to get enough votes). They used the same justifications I've seen here: claims to offense and dehumanization. Ireland's blasphemy laws were created with the earlier non-binding resolution in mind.

Just because there are also plenty of fundamentalist Christian nutters doesn't mean there can't be other nutters trying to abuse concepts of religious privilege to push their own tyranny. In many ways, the version of Islam which is dominant in majority Muslim countries is an advanced case of the same Theocracy we see rising in America. Should we ignore that American movement? No. But neither can we accept the exported fundamentalism from Muslim countries.

Trying to silence criticism is fucked up, not matter which brand of faith it comes from.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:30 pm UTC

You can bash his overtly non-biased stance

I think you mean biased. I'm biased on this issue, and I admit it. I belong to a faith that is under attack by Islamism and Islamist terrorism on a very regular basis and receives more criticism for how we handle fighting that terrorism than for anything else. That makes me quite biased and more than a little emotional about situations in which supposedly fair, unbiased and free Westerners speak of respect for Islam for the sole reason that they've been threatened by an Islamist, because the message that comes to my ears is that violence and threats in the service of tyranny wins more respect, and is more moral, than violence in perceived self-defense against violence, which is non-threatening enough to be criticized. This double standard is, to my biased self, absolutely abhorrent.

Before you call Godwin's Law, I do not believe that Islamism is a threat to anyone comparable to the Nazis, but I do believe that it will cause serious damage to Western liberal democracies and to my religion if people continue acceding to its demands in a misguided attempt to placate it. As South Park has demonstrated, yes, the terrorists hate our freedom to not follow their religious or behavioral laws. No amount of speeches in Cairo, Muslim sensitivity training, or non-radical (we could always just throw our Middle-Eastern and European allies in the trash) foreign-policy quibbles will satisfy the Islamists or the parts of the Muslim world that live under their yoke and have only them to turn to for information.

Do we want to stop our TV producers receiving death threats for satire? Translate the satire into Arabic. I am dead serious. The "hearts and minds" of the Muslim world will change when they can see that Randy Marsh is just a normal guy who overreacts to things, when they can see that Americans spend most of our time concentrating on fixing our problems rather than causing theirs, and when they can see and sympathize with Kyle Broflovski's bullying by Eric Cartman. The riling of normal Muslims to the Islamist cause only works because they are kept in a bubble of propaganda and miseducation designed to allow leaders and terrorists alike to blame all of their society's problems on the West (or, just as often, on my religion). We must pop that bubble.

And before anyone mentions it, yes, I am aware of the background of the founder of RevolutionMuslim. Same nuts, different label; the man obviously worships violent radicalism more than any particular conception of God. Of course, then we have to ask, what is it about current-day Islamic and Islamist movements that so attracts fascistic personalities?
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby jestingrabbit » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:53 pm UTC

Asylumer wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:If there is a genuine threat of theocracy in america, its not coming from islam guys. You could amend your constitution to ban images of mohammed and the threat would still not be coming from islam.


Riiight, because 56 predominantly Muslim countries didn't just last year try to take their earlier non-binding UN resolution that encouraged strict blasphemy laws to the next level (luckily they failed to get enough votes). They used the same justifications I've seen here: claims to offense and dehumanization. Ireland's blasphemy laws were created with the earlier non-binding resolution in mind.


From what I can tell, you're talking about the document here.

www.worldlii.org/int/other/UNGARsn/2006/182.pdf

What particularly is going to end your freedom of speech?

You talk about Ireland, which has passed an anti blasphemy law you say. It doesn't seem to have stopped anyone from criticising the catholic church after the recent revelations of systemic abuse and coverup of child sexual abuse. So how is it a threat?

They're trying to get a binding resolution passed by the UN whilst the west invades them and makes their dress illegal (or will do soon). But they're the threat to us, not vice versa.

Riiiiiiight.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:02 pm UTC

They're trying to get a binding resolution passed by the UN whilst the west invades them and makes their dress illegal (or will do soon). But they're the threat to us, not vice versa.

Islam != Iraq and Afghanistan. Hell, those aren't even holy lands to Muslims. If all the Islamic world is one body, where are the armies marching from Mecca, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, and Tehran to liberate Iraq and Afghanistan? I don't mean a trickle of terrorists or a flood of "assuage my guilt" money. I mean armies.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:03 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:Before you call Godwin's Law, I do not believe that Islamism is a threat to anyone comparable to the Nazis, but I do believe that it will cause serious damage to Western liberal democracies and to my religion if people continue acceding to its demands in a misguided attempt to placate it.

I agree with you, and I didn't mean to bash your stance or point out the fulfillment of Godwin's law in order to invalidate what you said. I just thought it was amusing, and, in general, would prefer to keep nazi comparisons out of debates.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:03 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:Before you call Godwin's Law, I do not believe that Islamism is a threat to anyone comparable to the Nazis, but I do believe that it will cause serious damage to Western liberal democracies and to my religion if people continue acceding to its demands in a misguided attempt to placate it.

I agree with you, and I didn't mean to bash your stance or point out the fulfillment of Godwin's law in order to invalidate what you said. I just thought it was amusing.

Sorry about that, then.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:08 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:They're trying to get a binding resolution passed by the UN whilst the west invades them and makes their dress illegal (or will do soon).

Which, for the record, is a terrible idea.
jestingrabbit wrote:But they're the threat to us, not vice versa.

They're a threat to us, and we're a threat to them. There's no either-or here. Can't we all agree that everyone should just cut it out with the threats and violence (yes, that includes the American forces), and the abridgment of freedom of speech and religion (yes, that includes the French)?
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Dream » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:27 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:Can't we all agree that everyone should just cut it out with the threats and violence (yes, that includes the American forces), and the abridgment of freedom of speech and religion (yes, that includes the French)?

The whole point of this thread is that even if we can agree on that, that's not enough. There is a fundamental rights issue here, as to whether positive or negative rights are paramount. Yes, freedom of expression is usually the most important issue on the whole. But as long as Comedy Central is just unwilling to upset people as much as they have, and aren't capitulating to threats, there's no problem with them doing this. People's right to be free from interference in their lives is also important, and upholding it here isn't wrong.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Asylumer » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:41 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:From what I can tell, you're talking about the document here.

http://www.worldlii.org/int/other/UNGARsn/2006/182.pdf

What particularly is going to end your freedom of speech?


8. Stresses the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions, Islam
and Muslims in particular, especially in human rights forums
;
9. Emphasizes that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which
should be exercised with responsibility and may therefore be subject to limitations
as provided by law and necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others,
protection of national security or of public order, public health or morals and respect
for religions and beliefs;


Not only are these definitions very broad, but it should be clear to anyone the true intent behind them. They're using guilt to cover up the atrocities that are regularly committed in Islam's name. If they had truly cared for the religious freedom of all they wouldn't have constantly specified Islam for protection.

You talk about Ireland, which has passed an anti blasphemy law you say. It doesn't seem to have stopped anyone from criticising the catholic church after the recent revelations of systemic abuse and coverup of child sexual abuse. So how is it a threat?


So because a law isn't followed makes it right, or doesn't mean it can be abused at a later date? Are you aware of how this kind of broad blasphemy law is being used in Pakistan, the country which was at the head of this Resolution, to persecute minorities and aggravate faith-based violence?

They're trying to get a binding resolution passed by the UN whilst the west invades them and makes their dress illegal (or will do soon). But they're the threat to us, not vice versa.


And yet again you play the guilt card as if one needed to support one instance to decry the other. Even then you ignore little details like the reason for those wars (against two countries in particular) or how we're a threat to them because certain aspects of Muslim faith are being unfairly legislated against in OUR COUNTRIES, instead of us passing resolutions trying to restrict Muslim practices in theirs. Or do you count demands to value human rights as "a threat" to their way of life?

How can you even claim the United States invading Iraq/Afghanistan has to do with Islam when the US is allied to Saudi Arabia? Please lead me through that bizarre logic. Islamic extremists blow up the twin towers, get Americans fearful and riled, America responds by attacking the Taliban who've supported the attacks, America gets led into Iraq war under false pretenses. At what point in there did America become liable for starting a religion motivated crusade instead of the cause being political? Is the American government trying to replace Islam as the state religion in those countries?

Religion may be an aggravating factor there, especially when it comes to the GOP's rhetoric, but to claim that the invasions are an attack on ISLAM is misleading.


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