The Simpsons supports South Park writers in Mohammed censorship row
Creators of US cartoon The Simpsons have given a nod of support to rivals at South Park whose recent episode depicting the prophet Mohammed was censored.
The opening titles of The Simpsons were altered to acknowledge the controversial decision by channel Comedy Central to change the 201st episode of South Park after the previous edition depicted the prophet disguised in a bear costume.
South Park's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, were sent a warning by a New York-based radical Islamic website for the 200th episode. The programme also lampooned Jesus and Buddhism
"South Park - we'd stand beside you if we weren't so scared," Bart Simpson wrote on the blackboard in the opening sequences.
The Mohammed character was introduced as part of a joke about censorship based on the 2006 death threats made against Danish cartoonists by Islamist extremists, who see any depiction of Muhammad as a gross insult to their religion.
In the 201st episode, all mentions of the prophet were "bleeped" out and his image was blocked out with the word "censored."
Mr Parker and Mr Stone released a statement: "In the 14 years we’ve been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn’t stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode.
"It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We’ll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we’ll see what happens to it."
Abu Talhah al Amrikee wrote on revolutionmuslim.com that the decision to caricature the prophet was "stupid".
He wrote that they would "probably wind up like Theo van Gogh", the Dutch film-maker who was murdered in 2004 after making a documentary on violence against Muslim women.
"It's not a threat, but it really is a likely outcome," wrote Mr Amrikee. "They're going to be basically on a list in the back of the minds of a large number of Muslims. It's just the reality."
In July 2001 South Park featured an episode where all the founders of the major world religions including Mohammed appeared as a group of crime fighters called the Super Best Friends.
In its history the cartoon has depicted the Queen being shot dead and Saddam Hussein as Satan's lover. It has targeted religions and politicians and has repeatedly depicted Tom Cruise in a closet.