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August 13th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

U.S. Muslim comedy tour hits Deep South

By Summer Suleiman, CNN

(CNN) - The Muslims are Coming is a comedy tour that is traveling to small towns throughout the South in hopes of opening up a discussion about Muslim stereotypes.

The tour started in Gainesville, Florida, home of Terry Jones, the pastor who attracted international headlines by burning a Quran, and stopped in Lawrenceville, Georgia, outside Atlanta, on Tuesday night. It will continue to Alabama and conclude in Tennessee.

The shows feature comedians Dean Obeidallah, Negin Farsad, Maysoon Zayid and Omar Elba. They are targeting small, conservative towns in the South where controversies over Islam have erupted.

“We came to the South because it has this reputation of being intolerant. It has this stereotype of hating other groups, so we wanted to see,” Farsad said. “We have a feeling that they’re not actually uniformly sitting around hating Muslims.”

Obeidallah, who performed with the recent Axis of Evil comedy tour, and Farsad, producer of the 2008 movie Nerdcore Rising, are producing a documentary about The Muslims are Coming. The shows on the tour are free, they say, because they want to reach as many people as possible.

“We really wanted to make this tour a chance to reach out American to American, people of different faiths coming together, laughing together,” Obeidallah said.

He hopes the tour will start a candid dialogue about Muslim stereotypes - and that it will simply make people laugh.

And laugh they did, at least on Tuesday.

The Lawrenceville audience was receptive to the performance, even when it veered into sensitive territory. At one point, for instance, Zayid joked about meeting her husband in a Gaza refugee camp and telling him to “pack up his tent”.

The shows also feature a question and answer portion with the audience.

In Lawrenceville, many of the questions gave voice to stereotypes. “Is it true if a group of women get naked, that Muslim men must kill themselves?” one audience member inquired.

“We want to answer the tough questions, we encourage people to ask the tough questions, talk about the stereotypes that are lingering in your mind,” Obeidallah said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Interfaith issues • Islam

soundoff (1,214 Responses)
  1. jean2009

    Possibly Americans, of the 21st Century, would all be much better off if we refrained from adhering to the warring ancient middle-eastern religions. All three seem to be at the heart of our current problems.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  2. Abu Yusuf

    I am a follower of Islam and I have never seen Muslims like these before. I would be ashamed to be even around these people. We don't have to go so low to appeease the disbelievers. I don't understand what's the point of all this. Islam is Islam. If you have a problem with the true religion of God, then hell fire is waiting for you.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Ray

      don't try to impersonate a muslim. your not very good at it

      August 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      You are at least honest. Congratulations!

      Did you already know that St. Paul was a terrorist, before he became a Christian?

      How about Jesus?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Lee

      ...and therein lies the problem – intolerance. And I'm not sure I believe you are a Muslim, either.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  3. tom stockman

    This is cool but the article failed in a serious way – I'm from south Georgia and was really interested in this tour after reading this article but the article ran the day before the tour ENDED so now I can't see it. Shoulda ran it earlier...

    August 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  4. Chin Tu Fat

    These are Muslims? No Hijab, No Beard? No Islamic morality? Skimpy clothes? Kissing each other? Nice try kuffar...who are you trying to appease the extremist liberal Muslims? or the moderate fundamentalist Muslims? LOL.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Hubs

      redneck

      August 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  5. txpeggysue

    Too bad Christians and Jews can't freely travel around the Middle East explaining their religion and dispelling stereotypes! Instead of complaining about the mote in America's eye against Islam, these arrogant Muslims should fix the log in their own eyes and in the eyes of their Muslim brothers - you know, that log that encourages this horrible cult to persecute Christians, Jews, women, and all the other human beings on the planet.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Tea-bagger

      I agree with you ! If you want to be an American Muslim, then dress like one and act like one ! Otherwise go back to the BIG BLOB in the middle east !

      August 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  6. Hubs

    I've been reading the responses, and I must say that this country is full of Ignorant hillbillies. You Americans deserve everything you get for being so hateful to fellow human beings. "Look, it's a plane..."

    August 14, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • stevie weevie

      Case in point.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • KeninTexas

      Hubs said " You Americans deserve everything you get for being so hateful to fellow human beings. "Look, it's a plane...". ,,,,, And you have the audacity to criticize what is being written and then you say this? It makes us all wonder about you making such hateful comments yourself.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Hubs

      Stevie Weevie needs to read a bookie wookie. Idiot.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Brett

      We get it, you don't like America. Feel free to visit news websites from other countries and comment there instead.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Hubs

      Yes I do Kenin, because I am an American, born and raised, and I am embarrassed by what you hillbillies feel towards a group of people. It's hard living in a country where everyone is an ignorant debt slave. You all live in fear, like little children. Wake up.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Republiker

      Pack your stuff and head over to Mecca then if it's so much better. Nothing is funny about submission to Islam or death. Ending each show by trying to carve off the head of a random Christian with a dull butter knife is not going to draw much of a crowd anyway. The Fail Bus to Yemen is waiting for you Hubs>

      August 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Hubs

      My favorite: stupid Americans telling others "well if you don't like it, you can leave." Spoken like a true redneck. Guess what though, I'm here and loving the fact that this country is going to hell, because you idiots allowed it. You keep electing horrible leaders, you but worthless junk, and you eat poison. I enjoy watching you fatties get sick and more stupid by the day. The whole world laughs at you. Your country is a pair of floppy clown shoes.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • KeninTexas

      Hubs said "II am an American, born and raised, and I am embarrassed by what you hillbillies feel towards a group of people. It's hard living in a country where everyone is an ignorant debt slave." .... I can appreciate your hating being around intolerant people and considering you certainly are one of them, why don't you move over to one of the middle east countries. I'm sure you'll be a hit on some of their internet sites. Of course, you might end up ending a Hellfire missile, but at least you'll have the comforting though that it was fired by a very proficient US soldier who has been practicing every day. But on the down side, you would have probably been sold out by one of your compatriots over there. This is assuming you don't get your head cut off yourself on an internet show yourself. You see, they are much less tolerant than us hillbillies over here that you despise so much.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Hubs

      You mean one of the same soldiers dying for no reason? For this thing called 'terrorism' that was created by the Western world? The North Atlantic Terrorist Organization? You have all been fooled. Israel, America, Britain are the biggest terrorist. Haven't you read history? You would find that this country is not so innocent in world affairs. I forgot though, the American motto is "do as I say not as i do." Bunch of children. What about those 30 soldiers that just got shot down? You mean that kind of rocket? Americans, wasting lives because the black man in the white house says so.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Rudy

      Those "ignorant hillbillies" you speak of are the best and brightest the Republicans have to offer.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Hubs

      Another one of my favorites, the illusion that Dems are different than Pubs. The contest between the two, and thinking you have a choice. Tisk tisk. The Neo Cons have taken over, and Obama is the socialist that will tear your country down.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Hubs

      I would refer to many Democrats as ignorant hillbillies also, but I would use other words for hillbillies

      August 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    The Holy Wars of Israel:

    Indeed, God wanted Israel to fight some other nations.

    The people of Israel killed in behalf of God (whereby God had really given them a mandate, like US-soldiers have a mandate for killing the Taleban).

    Why did God give Israel a mandate to exterminate some other nations?

    This nations were corrupt in a way, we cannot imagine. They had s_xual intercourse in all directions: Mother with son, daughter with father, father with animal, man with man, etc.. Horrifying! Furthermore they offered infants to their idols, in order to get better harvests.

    I suppose, currently there exists no nation on earth, which is so wicked like one of the nations, exterminated by Israel.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  8. Kathy

    Not all muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are muslims.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Hubs

      The dumbest statement I have ever heard. Tim McVay, The Norway killings. You are an ignorant American, just like the rest of you slaves

      August 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Matt

      Really? ALL terrorists are Muslim? That is a stupid, stupid thing to say. Tell that to the victims of Columbine or Oklahoma City or Norway.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • John Petty

      Really? What about the IRA terrorists in Northern Ireland,or the Christian terrorists who bomb abortion clinics and shoot abortion doctors, or the homegrown terrorists who bomb Federal buildings? Are they all Muslims,or are you just being willfully ignorant?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • obamayakyak

      We can name maybe four or five acts of terrorism committed around the world by non-Muslims over the last decade. However Muslims commit acts of terrorism dozens of times a day around the world.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • AJ

      King David Hotel, USS Liberty, Lavon Affair, Possibly the Beirut bombing... Yeah all of the terrorists are Muslims alright... I think we could do without any of the abrahamic religions interfering with us.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Mike

      The fact that you can only name four or five acts of terrorism created by non Muslims in the past decade says more about your ignorance than it does about who commits acts of terrorism. I can't say I'm surprised. In our media, you are taught to define "terrorism" within the narrow confines of Islamic Terrorism.

      Forget about acts of terror that take place in other countries that are committed by people of all religious stripes. Forget about the domestic acts of terrorism like the OKC bombing, the Olympic park bombing, and countless reproductive clinic bombings...all committed by "Christians."

      Propaganda. That's the beginning and end of your "all terrorists are Muslims" view.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • jean2009

      Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, Ted Kaczynski, Jared Loughner, Richard Paplawski, James Von Brunn, John Patrick Bedell, Andrew Joseph Stack, Daniel Cowart, Bryon Williams, Anders Behring Breivik, Daniel Boyd....so I guess to you it is not terrorism if a white guy does it?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Rudy

      Anthony Quatroni,

      Muslims are just people trying to live their lives, just like the rest of us. Quit trying to foster hatred for your fellow Americans.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Keith

      Alas Kathy, some of your critics do have a point-some of them like the Norway shooter were atheists.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Look again

      Jean2009, those people were Muslims sleepers impersonating Christians. going to church, shaving, reading the bible, walking around bareheaded. Don't be fooled!

      August 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  9. Keefster

    Hey Rain-in-the-Face,

    Thanks for the quotations. I guess. I mean, thanks for the quotations AND your ever-so-helpful loony interpretations. Now I don't even need to read OR think! Man, you're the greatest! Can I be like you one day????? I mean, you know, like AWESOMELY stupid, and stuff?

    August 14, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  10. Right

    Isn't it a bit intolerant going to the south because "that's where all the intolerance is?" I suppose it's alright. People love stereotyping Southerners, but DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT STEREOTYPING MUSLIMS! I mean, Islam isn't even a system of beliefs like being a Southerner is, right? All people in the South must believe Muslims are terrorists cuz it says so in their Holy Southern Bible. Islam has no one book of rules or stories explaining it's beliefs. If it did, then it would be pretty easy to stereotype Muslims....

    Oh wait...

    August 14, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Mike

      Kind of...missing the point of the tour, aren't we buddy? I think the fact that they are going around the South in the first place is because they "have a hard time to believe they're all sitting around hating Muslims."

      Relax. It seems the big picture is that that stereotype, like others, is a vast oversimplification.

      Now the stereotype that Southerners have a bit of a chip on their shoulders and are quick to become defensive...may be another story.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  11. Bob Gwin

    Gainesville, Florida is not a conservative city. Actually we are an outparcel of the state of Florida and thankfully Jerry (I Hear Voices) Jones has taken his meassage of intolerance and hate somewhere else. I am encouraged by the reaction of other persons in the south to this tour. If you have questions about Islam, why not drop by your local mosque and ask some of your fellow Americans.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  12. Bobarama

    By the way, if God is a woman, you Muslims are in BIG trouble!

    August 14, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  13. stevie weevie

    I hope these Muslims don't have anything against crickets.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  14. Bobarama

    The problem with 'religions' is that they are based upon the supposition that God is so small that he or she cares how we worship, or even that we do...

    August 14, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  15. Anthony Quatroni

    They'll probably have a death sentence put on their heads by their own people for being too "Americanized." Watch out!

    August 14, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Biff

      Probably not.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • obamayakyak

      Probably so

      August 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  16. Tom

    @pete – However, Muslims are taught to kill people who are infidels, which is anyone who isn't a Muslim – no matter how tolerant you are or what your God may say.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • GTA

      You must be joking because you couldn't possibly be that stupid....

      August 14, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Stephanie

      Please tell me you are joking. As a christian I have several muslim friends and none of them have called me an infidel or tried to take my life. Instead we have formed a strong, solid friendship where we have openly discussed the differences in our religions... and as a christian I can tell you that these friends are some of the best, well-rounded, honest, loyal and uplifting friends I have ever had. Shame on you for not knowing better.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Peace

      Tom, just wondering have you met a Muslim? Muslims are not taught to kill infedels, sure the terrorist say that but Muslims in general do not teach that nor believe that because it is not part of Islam. The verse that is often used to justify that was regarding a specific battle.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Errogant2

      You are wrong about what infidels means, and about what the book is saying regarding non-believers.
      An infidel is anyone who is not "of the book." The people of the book include Jews and Christians. The Q'uran calls for believers to kill the beliefs of non-believers, teaching them the way of the one true god, not to literally kill people.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • obamayakyak

      Look at any country on the planet with a Muslim majority and you know Tom is correct. Those folks here who follow the Obamist commandment "speak nothing truthful of Islam" are delusional.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    The Gorgon-Face of Islam:

    Get awake!

    Sura 9: Verse 29 of the Koran:

    Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.
    ( سورة التوبة , At-Taubah, Chapter #9, Verse #29)

    Note: People of the Scripture are Jews and Christians. In Muhammad's eyes people, not believing in Allah and the Last Day, are Jews and Christians. Messenger means Muhammad. Religion of Truth means Islam.

    Conclusion: Muhammad commands war against Jews and Christians!

    August 14, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Anthony Quatroni

      The whole Quran and the religion itself is MADE-UP. Made up by Muhammad, who awoke one morning and said, "I'm going to create a new religion!" And the world hasn't been the same since.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • duallydave

      Not sure of the verse, but in the book Joshua in the old testament, God commands the Isrealites to kill all of the "non-believers" in the land of Canaan, including woman and children. It seems just as intolerant as the verses you are quoting.Go ahead and rationalize this being ok but not the verses you quote.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Mike

      All religion is made up!

      August 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  18. Vanadis06

    I grew up in a small town in the deep South (Tennessee) and was raised a Southern Baptist. We do NOT all share these views. I wish these men well on their tour and (based on the majority of your comments) safe passage. Disgusting.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  19. George

    I only want to hear what the Muslim funny guys have to say about me being an infidel, but I don't think they said it. They keep quiet about that. Why?

    August 14, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Anthony Quatroni

      'Cause then they won't get their 72 virgins.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  20. Pete Forester

    Faith, well lived, needs no defense. Believe your way. I'll believe my way. We worship the same God. He will not deny anyone who seeks Him.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:23 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.