As we near the 10th anniversary of September 11th, many are reflecting on that painful morning and recalling where they were and what they felt when they heard the news. For many, that was the first time they ever heard about Muslims or Islam. For me, the only other time before 2001 that the word “Islam” even entered my sphere was when my third grade teacher taught us about the five pillars of Islam during our world religions unit in history class. Over the past decade, discussions around Islam and Muslims have become nearly ubiquitous. Nevertheless, many people’s knowledge of Islam and Muslims is limited to strong emotional associations –mostly negative, sometimes fearful.
The last month has seen an array of humor to counter the wave of Islamophobia that has been growing in the United States and other western countries with significant Muslim populations. A week ago, Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear that drew an estimated 200,000 people, and featured many jokes poking fun at the ridiculousness of Islamophobia within the United States.