Jihadists are going to have to pick realistic targets when they make their threats because does it really make sense to go after David Letterman? Muslim extremists may be able to get away with scaring away cartoonists like sending Seattle Cartoonist Molly Norris into hiding for starting “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,” but when they pick targets with money and resources they may end looking more foolish than usual.
Per The Huffington Post, the threat is already a joke as jihadist blogger Shumukh al-Islam called David Letterman a Jew without actually verifying that he was a Jew. Letterman is not Jewish and was raised Presbyterian.
What prompted the blogger’s threat was part of a monologue Letterman made with some humor about the death of Ilyas Kashmiri who may have been the next Osama if he had lived. As Mark A. Perigard of The Boston Herald points out in his editorial, how much TV do Muslim extremists watch? American TV defies everything nuts like Shumukh al-Islam stand for. Some of it in bad taste, of course, but I would say much of the quality programming shows women equal to men, villainous religious extremists and people who are happy without Allah. I’ve seen at least two Law & Order SVU episodes that featured radical Islam leading to murders that were condemned, a MAD parody of sleeper cells where the terrorists decided that America was too comfortable to destroy, and then of course you have South Park. I’m sure if I had time to do the research I could pull out hundreds of examples of TV moments that don’t agree with the lifestyles of stuck up Islamic fundies. It’s surprising to see Letterman threatened considering what else has been aired.
This could be a chance for late night comedians to show that jihadist bloggers are simply bullies of free speech and to follow up with so many jokes that it becomes pointless to threaten just one comedian (sort of like Molly Norris’ idea with inspiring as many cartoonists as possible to draw Mohammed). There is a risk in pissing off these nuts, but I’m tired of seeing the media cave towards those threats as if these religious wannabe tyrants should be taken seriously. Oddly enough, one example of “caving” may be that CBS has declined releasing the transcript for that Letterman joke in light of this news (per the AP video at Huffington Post).
SIDENOTE: I found the clip of joke from a CNN story, embedding disabled but you can see it at YouTube.