The Muslims Are Coming!

Comedy is one of the many means by which people deal with stereotypes. Muslim Americans have used comedy for some time to break down the negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. The idea is that if people can laugh together then barriers break down. In other words, it is a constructive way to have people reflect on what they think about Muslims. We have addressed the topic of Muslim American comedians before here on Inside Islam through both blog posts and radio programs. In this post, I will focus on the upcoming comedic film The Muslims Are Coming!

This film documents a comedy tour that took place throughout 2011. Dean Obeidallah, Negin FarsadMaysoon Zayid, as well as other well-known comedians traveled across America, targeting areas that have been known for controversy over Islam. For example, they went to Gainesville, Florida, where Terry Jones burned copies of the Qur’an and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where there was a big controversy over the building of a mosque in 2011. The performances were free and each focused on a particular issue. After the performances, the comedians answered questions about Islam from the audience.

Not only does the film document the stand up performances, it also includes commentary from other comedians (e.g. Jon Stewart), journalists (e.g. Soledad O’Brien), and politicians (Rep. Keith Ellison) on the issue of Islamophobia and the challenges of the Muslim American community.

The goal of the tour and the upcoming film is to dismantle the numerous stereotypes of Islam and Muslims generated by increased Islamophobia. Moreover, the comedians set out to demonstrate that they are just as American as the audience members. This film, while not the first of its kind, is another contribution to the effort to counter Islamophobia and to address the concerns of both non-Muslim Americans and Muslim Americans. Sometimes laughing together is the most constructive way to break down barriers and build bridges.

What do you think of the upcoming film? Did you see any of the performances? If so, do you think they helped to break down stereotypes about Muslims? Do you think comedy can be a way to build bridges? Please share your comments below.

One thought on “The Muslims Are Coming!

  1. There is little doubt that the members that moderate this Blog are wll intentioned, and hope to promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence among Americans.
    It is however, disingenuous to identify non-Muslims that harbor genuine concerns about the teachings of Islam as Islamophobic.
    That label describes ignorant Americans that have a persistent, abnormal, or illogical fear of the religion of Islam.
    Recent government training programs that have been eliminated from the military and law enforcement curriculums due to Muslim organizations complaining that the contents portray Islam as an enemy of the western nations, simply serves to insult the intelligentsia of America.
    The idea of Muslims ingratiating themselves in a western society that obtains most of its’ information from the news media, is a conundrum that is fraught with controversy.
    The idea of enjoying humor together is a pleasant thought. Yet when reports of entertainers being prosecuted in Egypt for a percieved insult to the Islamic religion, or a $100,000 (fatwa), death bounty being placed upon a German entertainer for a percieved insult to an Islamic religious leader, flies in the face of the declaration that Islam is a religion of peace.
    The foolish actions of an ignorant little man burning a copy of the Qur’an results in international attention, massive public demonstrations, and several deaths.
    The fact that Afghanistan, a Muslim country, that produces over 90% of the world’s heroin, despite the fact that the Qur’an prohibits intoxicants (Al Maidah Surah 5:90-91), simply highlights the hypocricy of the religion.
    Any and all denigration of true fundemental Christian teachings are labeled as hateful, and unAmerican, yet are protected under the 1st amendment of our constitution.

    Not to belabor the point, but the Qur’an forbids Muslims to take non-Muslims as trusted friends, (Al Ma’idah Surah 5:51).

    Would you counsel a Muslim to ignore the revealed word of Allah?

    To honestly address the sociological impact of religion on the assimilation of cultures that have immigrated to the United States, a nation that by law must operate in accordance with a secular mandate, it is only logical that (personal segregation) will continue.
    The public societal goal of course is “E Pluribus Unum”.

    The social polemic facing the American Muslim is a perception of trust and loyalty to the U.S.A.

    Many other ethnic groups have faced the same litmus test in American history; African American, Native Americans, Japanese Americans, German Americans, Italian Americans, and many others.
    For whatever reasons, each have passed the ultimate test by placing their lives on the line in the defense of a nation that at least in concept, views each as equal.

    No criminal should be allowed to hide behind the teachings of a religion. The aggressive pursuit and exposure of those that would murder indiscriminately would go a long way to assure the professing Muslim a seat at the table of a true democracy.

    We should be able to share a laugh in view of the fact that

    “The Muslims are already here”