The location of a car packed with explosives in Manhattan's Times Square
on Saturday night prompted a New York congressman to wonder if the failed bombing was linked to a recent episode of Comedy Central's "South Park" that depicted the prophet Muhammad.
The Nissan Pathfinder's location
, at the intersection of 45th Street, Broadway, and Seventh Avenue, was less than a block from the office tower that houses Viacom, the parent company of Comedy Central. Last month, Comedy Central made waves by censoring an episode
of the irreverent show that mocked Muhammad and other religious figures. The show's creators complained publicly about the move, but the network insisted it was concerned about the safety of its employees after a website, RevolutionMuslim.com, posted a message warning show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone that the subject was taboo and raising it could trigger retaliation.
Rep. Peter King, a Republican, was the first to raise the possible connection publicly. "It's one possibility out of 100, but this vehicle was close to a Viacom building, which owns MTV and Comedy Central," King said Sunday during an appearance on CNN, The Hill
reported. "And you have the whole issue with 'South Park,' which Islamic terrorists were threatening to have retribution for. So all of these things have to be looked at."
After the first installment of the "South Park" episode aired featuring Muhammad in the guise of a bear suit, a posting on RevolutionMuslim.com warned Stone and Parker that they "will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh. . . . This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them." As Politics Daily's David Gibson reported
last month, Van Gogh was a Dutch filmmaker who was killed in 2004 by an Islamic militant over a movie he had made that accused Islam of condoning violence against women.
When the second part of the show aired, the name and depiction of the offending character was blocked out with audio bleeps and images reading "CENSORED."
The head of RevolutionMuslim, Younus Abdullah Muhammad, 30, has insisted that he was not threatening "South Park" or its creators. "Showing a case study right there of what happened to another individual who conducted himself in a very similar manner?" he told Reuters
. "It's just evidence."
Law enforcement officials, as well as National Security Director Janet Napolitano, have said it was too early to rule out any suspect in the failed bombing incident, but dismissed claims by a Pakistani Taliban group that it had attempted the attack. The NYPD is currently investigating a 40-something white man caught on surveillance footage
leaving the vehicle and removing some of his clothing.
The discovery of the SUV Saturday evening caused the streets in the bustling theater district to be cleared till the threat could be assessed and the explosives dismantled.