One of the reasons I get along with so many former MK members is exactly the sense of humor the alliance has. It's the way I am IRL, it's the way I cope with things. Some people may take offense to an alliance making fun of/poking fun at radical elements of the religious or political world, in this case radical Islam and those who declare every adherent to Islam a terrorist.
The simple fact is, some people are bound to be offended by it, others will ignore it or laugh along with us. Different opinions make the world go 'round. If we all based opinions off what the "norm" is, we'd have to assume everybody who plays CN is, as the kids so lovingly say these days, "gay".
You say (not you, Jerdge, just a proverbial "you") that using our theme is offensive. Awesome, that's your opinion. I could see a way somebody could find The International's theme offensive; victims of Communism under Stalin far exceeded the numbers killed on 9/11, but the theme is okay because, as touched on above by somebody (I'm too lazy to scroll up), it's a "distant past" thing instead of a current event. Just about anything can be offensive if you examine it closely. That's what comedy is; a mockery of the absurd, or distortion of reality into something absurd to be mocked. A poorly-drawn cartoon of a Mario mushroom with wings flying toward towers made out of CN flags is, out of context, just lazy propaganda. Add the context of 9/11 and it's offensive. Not sure where i'm going right now, I sorta lost my thought. Damn.
NPO is a mockery of totalitarianism. The International makes many references to Communism. CCC might offend some radical Christians who do not believe their symbols should be used for something in a game (just an example, I don't really know of anybody who would do that). Hell, I take offense to CCC's name because I went to a community college for two years with the acronym CCC, and every time I see something CCC is doing, I have terrible flashbacks to long nights working two jobs, one of which was as a security officer on that campus wherein many, many of our students smoked sweet, sweet crystal meth. I'm 22 years old. I shouldn't know what meth smells like. It ruined marshmallows for me.
Offensive is a relative term. There are certainly lines that most agree upon. A rape themed alliance would probably be taken out of the game pretty quickly by moderation staff. A Nazi themed alliance (beyond Nor's realm) would see a similar demise. Mushqaeda remains because it is, by nature, absurd. We do not praise Allah in our posts, we do not call ourselves Muslims, we do not pretend to be actual Muslims. We could have chosen any faction as our "join it and war people if you're leaving the game and don't care" AA. The Southern Delegation? Offensive to some. Mushreich? Certainly offensive. Mushroom Kommune? Offensive to some. Mushqaeda was simply the most active faction at the time, and quite simply the easiest to satirize without people thinking we were serious. Southern Delegation posts would probably just have been racially-slanting, and I won't refute that some members of MK were (and some members of CN are) not exactly the most friendly to racial minorities because they're internet tough guys. Mushriech/Kommune are already done by other alliances. Mushqaeda is ridiculous, over the top, and fun to RP as. Archon himself doesn't really know how or when he became a religious figure in the alliance. It's sort of a running joke, much like when people in the IC areas say "Admin have mercy on your souls" and things of that nature. Nobody is actually saying Admin is literally God. Nobody in MQ is saying Archon is literally God, nor are we claiming to be or support RL terrorism. Other themes, while easy to mock and make ridiculous, would not have made quite the splash MQ did. The shock, the stunning "holy !@#$" value of Mushqaeda and some of our comments are what make it a wonderful choice to run our satire from. It's a taboo subject, something we don't talk or joke about. But if you look at the majority of popular comedians today, are their best jokes not their most shocking, offensive, and taboo comments?