After a warning from a Brooklyn-based Islamist group, Comedy Central decided to censor last night’s episode of South Park over concerns about further offending Muslims by featuring a satirical representation of Mohammed.
Following last week’s episode, the cartoon-rendering of the prophet appeared with his body obscured by a black box and the name Mohammed was bleeped out, the Associated Press reports. Muslims consider any representation of the founder of their religion to be blasphemous.
Last week’s episode depicted the founders of various religions, including Moses, Jesus and Buddha, but did not show Mohammed outright. Instead, he was represented wearing a bear costume, and that angered members of a group calling itself Revolution Muslim. The group posted a warning on its website “that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show.” The Dutch filmmaker was murdered in 2004 for his movie questioning Islam’s views of women.
“This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them,” the group wrote. (The New York Times spoke to one member afterward.) In last night’s episode, Santa Claus appeared when the bear costume was removed and the name Mohammed was bleeped.
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone said it was censored after they delivered it to Comedy Central.
“After we delivered the show, and prior to broadcast, Comedy Central placed numerous additional audio bleeps throughout the episode,” South Park creators said in a statement. “We do not have network approval to stream our original version of the show. We will bring you a version of 201 as soon as we can.”
A Comedy Central acknowledged to E! that “we went back in and added some bleeps” after the episode came in.