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Focus on Islamism
Wednesday 21st April 2010
American Jihadi Group Inspired by Awlaki

ALEXANDER MELEAGROU-HITCHENS

Revolution Muslim, a US-based extremist organisation, has issued death threats against Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the makers of animated sitcom ‘South Park', after their latest episode which satirised the ongoing hysteria about depicting Mohammed.  In what is yet another example of the ongoing influence Anwar al-Awlaki has on Western jihadism, the religious justification used by the group for killing Stone and Parker was taken from a 2008 Awlaki lecture ‘The Dust Will Never Settle Down'.

The group's mission statement clearly sets out their ideological affinity to political Islam:

Our mission is to one day see the Muslims united under one Khalifah and under the commands of Allah (SWT). We focus on educating Muslims and Non-Muslims alike about the actuality of the religion and thereby work to preserve traditional Islamic values for Muslims across the globe. We pray that we may witness the dismantlement of western, secular dominance across the world as we hold it to be pagan and idolatrous in the majority of its presumptions. We seek a resurrection of the just example set forth by centuries of Islamic rule throughout the ages and we hold it to be self evident for the objective soul and mind that Allah is One and that Muhammad ibn Abdullah is His Prophet and that the religion offers the solution to all of the world's ills and afflictions.[emphasis added]

In South Park's 200th episode, a group of celebrities headed by Tom Cruise bring a class action law suit to the town in an attempt to prevent them from continuing their relentless lampooning of the ham actors, washed up sell-outs and megalomaniacs that make up a significant proportion of show business. Cruise tells the town that he would be willing to drop the charges on one condition: that they bring Mohammed to meet him. Cruise and his pals have had enough of being made fun of and want to harness Mohammed's special ability to thwart all forms of mockery.  Much of the rest of the episode is a brilliant satire on the debate about depicting Mohammed, with the town finally deciding to allow him to walk around fully covered by a sport mascot's uniform.

Last Thursday, before the show was even aired, Revolution Muslim issued preemptive threats on their website.  As well as providing information about where Parker and Stone live, a picture of the murdered film director Theo van Gogh was also posted up with the caption: "Theo Van Gogh — Have Matt Stone And Trey Parker Forgotten This?"  Further down, the threats continue: "We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them." 

Despite the threats, the episode aired, and in response Revolution Muslim posted a video called ‘South Park: The Dust Will Never Settle Down' in which pictures of Stone, Parker and other targets including Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie are depicted along with a voiceover of Awlaki's lecture on the Islamic justification for killing anyone who insults or defames the Prophet.  In the lecture, Awlaki refers to the the murder of a Jewish poet in Mohammed's time:

The prophet said "If he had calmed down, like others who follow his opinion, are of the same opinion as his, have calmed down, he wouldn't have been assassinated. But he has harmed us and he has defamed us with his poetry and none of you would do this, except we would deal with him with the sword.
[...]

But he spoke against us. He spoke against me and he defamed me with his poetry. And then he made it clear to the Jews — if any one of you, you the Jews, or the polytheists, if any one of you try to defame me through your words, this will be the way we deal with you. There is nothing between us and you except the sword. There will be no dialogue, there will be no forgiveness, there will be no building of bridges, there will be no attempts of reconciliation, there will only be the sword between me and you".

Between 9/11 and the end of 2009, Awlaki produced numerous lectures and essays that have been widely distributed online and have specifically targeted Western, English speaking Muslims. What we are now witnessing, since the Fort Hood and Detroit attacks (both of which Awlaki is directly linked to), is the final product of allowing men like him to operate for years, unhindered, and often supported by Western Islamist organisations.  It should come as no surprise that he has inspired a group to call for the murder of two programme makers and we can be almost certain that this is not the last time we will see homegrown jihadis act on his teachings.

UPDATE - 23 April

A reader has brought it to my attention that for a brief time earlier today, Trey Parker's Wikipedia entry was updated, and included the sentence: "Trey Parker was murdered outside hs LA home on April 22, 2010, along with his good friend and fellow South Park creator, Matt Stone." See below for a screenshot.

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CraigM
April 23rd, 2010
6:04 AM
Perhaps the author should clarify whose teachings they are acting upon; Awlaki or the prophet Mohammed? Awlaki simply repeated the words of his prophet and reminded his audience of Mohammed's actions. Western countries host to substantial muslim populations will find themselves trapped in this pattern. Freedom of speech is simply a presumptuous, pagan belief that any devout muslim must reject. We can have Islam, or can have free speech, but we cannot have both.

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About Focus on Islamism

Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.

Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London.  He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon. 

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