Tuesday, April 27, 2010

South Park incident with a Muslim

First of all the idiots who threatened the South Park producers must be condemned and rounded up without any delay. It is a law and order issue. One of the pieces of my conversation with Sean Hannity was about the South Park incident

2. Secondly, it is really not a Muslim or an Islamic issue, it is an issue of radicals who do not like the freedom of others, it is about the people who like to mess other's peace. It is not a Muslim issue because this mind-set exists in every group, religion, or tradition without exception. The Right wingers have killed doctors who perform abortions and even bombed the clinics, the Gay people are mauled and killed right here in Oak Lawn by the extremists, this is not a Christian issue, this is the issue of extremism. The Bahia’s refused to serve the homeless, because they were gay. A Jewish mother disowns her daughter because she is marrying an idol worshipper. The Hussain controversy was neither a Hindu issue, a few did not like the freedom of others and vandalized the author. The Cartoon controversy is neither a Muslim issue. Jesus was right, let the one who is sin-free cast the first stone.

3. Thirdly, it is really an issue of score keeping. You hurt me and I will hurt you attitudes prevail and like idiots we blame the religion. All we have to do is seriously (real seriously) look at the number of people involved in these incidents, they are negligible. It would not make sense to label the entire group for the actions of the few, unless, we enjoy bashing other or seek thrill in trouble making.

4. Fourthly, there will be always a few, yes, just a few, who dwell in creating divisions and promoting conflicts, there is some gain for them in it. When people are bent on score keeping, both sides will be scoring as opposed to coming to terms. A majority of us sit on the sidelines, some of us have to pick the slack and work for creating a better world for us to enjoy. We are in it together to bring peace and harmony for all.

5. Lastly, my personal commitment is to facilitate dialogue, to be non-judgmental and let my time be spent on mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. I would urge all of us to patiently try being a goodwill nurturer and conflict mitigaters. Doing bad does give the momentary thrills, but doing good gives lasting serenity.

Please note that I am posting this note about Drawing Muhammad as a forum for a dialogue, just as we did with Hussain. Let’s find solutions and also understand that some will not like it.

What can you do?

Stereotyping any one from any group goes against building peaceful societies. The more conflicts we allow to stew, the more difficult it will become for all of us. If someone says, this group of people behave this way, ask them to add all other groups that do similar things... and you will find that eventually every group has one of them.... Bad dudes are not a monopoly of any group.

Punish the wrong doer and not his mother, father, brother, sister and avoid doing the dumbest thing; to blame the bad dude's family, his city, state, religion or his nation.

What can Muslims do?

Follow the example of the prophet; he has created a model for every situation. Once when the bad dudes threw pieces of rock at him, he was bleeding and his associates wanted to dash out and punish the miscreants, even the Angel Gabriel said, he will take care of them. But the prophet stopped them and said, no, instead he asked his associates to pray with him for the goodwill of the miscreants.

I would suggest, pray for goodwill to prevail, write nice notes to the producers...the more you get agitated, the more they would be tempted to agitate you. One side has to stop the conflagration. It is the opportunity for Muslims to demonstrate it. Several years ago, many mosques had prayed for the goodwill of the Dutch cartoonists upon my request... sadly the media did not report that. I have the emails from the people who did the right thing.

If you know the producers of South Park, please let them know that there are more Muslims willing to protect their rights than a few radicals who have threatened them.

It is our duty to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. Hate is one of the many sources of disrupting the peace in a society and it is our responsibility to track down the source of such hate and work on mitigating it. We have an obligation to maintain a balance in the society. When we are at peace, we can generate peace and we can expect peace around us. Our words and actions should mitigate conflicts and nurture reconciliation and goodwill.

Thank you

Mike Ghouse is a frequent guest at the media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. He is a thinker, writer, speaker, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Co-existence, Peace, Islam, India and Civil Societies. His work is reflected at 3 websites & 22 Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/


  1. The problem with south park itself is that it is a vulgar show, which I wouldn't allow my kids to watch.

    Secondly, word is going around that the "Muslims" were not actually Muslim, rather a zionist radical claiming to be a muslim making these threats.

  2. I think the central problem here is that South Park writers crossed a major boundary line...religion is supposed to be something sacred. The writers did not just target one religion but they targeted all of them and offended millions of people. I say the solution is to take the show off the air permanently that would be the most peaceful solution.

  3. The over all picture does not emerge from the Note of Mike. It gives only one sided story, the act of hoolinganism 'the bear', which was a more deplorable act was not at all mentioned in it. Was there any justification to perform such an unnecessary act. Mike had totally ignored the genesis, which was a provocation, and started attacking the Moreobjections.
    By painting a gory and dim picture of only protests of Muslims without placing the background of overall controversy of west where ‘Nazism’ existing with a face painted with the name of “Civilised world”.
    The term “Civilised world” is simply a camouflage of ‘Nazis’, who now roam by using new terms like ‘free world’, ‘democracy’,’ freedom of expression’ etc.

  4. Imam Zia, I hope this mischief gets exposed, even if it were a Muslim, all of us have to aspire for peaceful existence and quit teasing each other.

    - FB, taking the show off the market is not the solution, if the show is doing well financially, any attempts to discredit the show will make it more successful. The choice is nurturing goodwill for peaceful co-existence. This effort has a chance over the other, which will make the polars dig in the trenches. Please read the example of the Prophet to handle situations like this, it is towards the end of the write up.

    - Farman, agree the issue is complex, my goal is to see it in simplistic terms. Please add the dimension you see, the more cards we place on the table, the better we can handle.... See More

    The temptation to agitate any one increases when the temptation works, when you ignore the temptation, the temptor cannot do much to the temptee. Since, you are an attorney, I used these words.

    Thanks ya'll for your input.

  5. Mike-- "Insanity is defined as repeating the same behavior and hoping for different results each time"

    How many more times is South Park going to offend any particular group????

    This show is nothing but trash and has no educational value whatsoever. It does nothing more than promote hatred. I wouldn't be surprised if the writers had KKK affiliations. It needs to be cancelled!

  6. You are great Mike, You amazingly gave a new definition to PPROVOCATION as TEMPTATION.
    Til now I was not aware that 'offering pluralistic solutions' includes twisting words as per suitability and requirement.

  7. FB - The possible solution is to introduce rating system as we do for the sex/violence content from A to R. We can come with with regulation to reflect, PC = pure comedy NT = No truth in it... Freedom at the end wins hands down.

    FN - Farman, pluralism is developing an attitude for co-existence in peace and harmony.

    In the above case, provocation implies an active act of egging some one to fight, temptation implies a bait where the fish does not have to bite the worm and get hooked.

    - As peacemakers, our life would have no time left to do positive things if we keep chewing on the baits.

  8. Dear Mike,
    I appreciate the pain you go through writing the emails to the group and
    keeping a sanity check on the discussions we undertake.

    Only issue I was not able to comprehend was that Mr M F Hussain, is supposed
    to be allowed freedom of expression because of his profession, can other
    "profession practitioners" like day-robberers, rapists claim the same saying
    that its their "work" and hence allowed to be conducted as they deem fit
    right. I guess the answer is NO, because this will violate the environment
    we live in, and to me same holds the case for M F Hussain, he should not be
    allowed for the very same reason.


  9. -Veeren,

    The answers are in the above comments;

    1. Grading the public art
    2. Not falling prey to temptations