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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. Paki

    Muslims are pure evil, but fortunately most live in muslim countries and get to watch their loving neighbors kill each other.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Paki

      If all Muslims are evil, then all Christians and Catholics are also. So we are all evil I guess

      August 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Abdalla

      No, I have learned that Christians are truly kind people.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Paki

      I have met many kind Muslims. So I guess the logic that all Muslims are evil is just as dumb as the logic that all Christians are evil. Interesting...

      August 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  2. SouthernPride

    keep the south beautiful, put a yankee on a bus

    August 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • dinmin

      ROFLMAO – love it! I am a southern girl at heart that got moved north – Of all the places north that I have lived I am finding that southern Michigan is more to my liking. At least the folks around where we live aren't snobbish or give false airs. We help each other out and watch out for our own. Came home one day and someone was poaching mushrooms out of our yard. The neighbor was just coming across his yard to chase the poacher off and his wife had the 308 out ready to shoot them! Some of my co-workers from the affluent areas around Detroit ask me "why do you live where you do?" (meaning out in the country and down river from the snobby neighborhoods). My response – his and her shotguns are acceptable wedding gifts down here – we all have them and we all know how to use them! To be honest – living in a place where I can reach out the window and touch my neighbor's house just isn't for me.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  3. SouthernPride

    The is so bad yet, all these smelly yanks are moving here in droves. All the rude people, and intolerant jerks
    mainly come from the north. The south is the Bible belt, with many nice, loving people. They need to take
    their act to the north and teach them some manners...

    August 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  4. Dub1045

    We as southerns might be offended if we could read. It is obvious that CNN which is brooadcast from Atlanta is limited in that respect. The stereotypes of dumb hillbilly southerners is good enough for me. It keeps me from having to try and communicate the dumb liberal elite who thinks they are smart simply because they keep telling each other they are. I look at who they got elected and know that stupid is as stupid does and look who they put in the whitehouse. The problem is that not only are they stupid, they are dangerous since they tend to congerate into packs looking for handouts and voting for people who promise them. So keep me a southerner and don't talk to me about government programs and handouts and unionizing. Let me work hard everyday, raise and educate my kids and stay out of your way.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Two Witnesses

      ...yeah? So....what's that got to do with Muslim comedians?

      August 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • dinmin

      AMEN!

      August 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • dinmin

      Dub – that AMEN was response to your comment. Two-whatever got their comment in there before I did. Dub I couldn't agree more.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  5. Jim J

    Was that supposed to be funny? Those "comedians" suck.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  6. Abdallah

    Oh Allah,

    I ask you by this holy month to lead those who went astray, and bring them back to the right path.
    I ask you for forgiveness and for your mercy.

    Amen

    August 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      due to ramadan ,bomb vest practice at the ground zero mosque has been moved back to after dark,Tuesday.Again bomb vest practice has been moved back due to the holiday.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Due to me liking balls in my mouth, I am hateful of others

      August 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Plexie

      So what is the right path?

      August 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Plexie

      I think the right path is whatever path is honest and peaceful, which is spiritualism, not religion. All religion is evil because people can't live the right way, thy always turn to violence. Christianity is the most violent of all

      August 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Abdallah

      Plexie,

      the right path to me is Islam, to you might be something else. If you are convinced with your practices, great, if not, I advice you to read about other religions and find the right path yourself.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Plexie

      Clearly some moron is posting as Plexie. Sad that an adult has to resort to such childish stunts, but that is what an IQ of 60 will do, hahahaha.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Plexie

      I will Abdallah. Thank you for your wisdom, I am a easily led American, so I am grateful for people like you. Keep being yourself, and don't listen to people like me.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Paki

      Muslims are fools, but violent fools.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      those who impersonate on these blogs
      roll their crap in little logs
      they hide and think that they're a wit
      let them eat those logs of...

      August 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  7. Jethro

    Yankees suck!

    August 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      but yankees won bubba.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      No they didn't. I know nothing of history

      August 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  8. Plexie

    Just some of today's CNN headlines;
    At least 19 dead in attack in Afghan attack
    Bomb flattens Pakistan hotel
    Opposition group: 21 dead after Syrian naval forces shell port city

    Yes, please come to the intolerant South of the U.S.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Abdallah

      All those dying are muslims, which proves to you that Islam is not the problem, its with those who claim they understand Islam,and each militant group interprets it the way they want.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Plexie

      Abdallah, nowhere have I posted that Islam is the problem, however, I think that I am one of many who is tired of seeing radicals commit violence in the name of Islam and the so-called moderate majority is largely silent. Given this backdrop, I find their characterization of the U.S. South as intolerant, given what is going on in all of these muslim majority countries, as offensive. Has nothing to do with Islam itself.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Plexie

      I also think Christians should stop committing acts of violence. Both religions are silly, and should be purged from society

      August 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Guest

      All those problems in the Muslim countries happen NOT because of Islam, BUT because of the lack of practice of ISLAM and their corrupt leaders, who serves only their Western masters. If Islam was practiced correctly, most current muslim leaders would have their hands chopped off or stoned to death. Do you think they'll allow that!

      I came from a very large Muslim country where Islam is very rarely practiced and US pop culture is the way to go. I did not practice Islam until I came to America and by the mercy of our Lord came to know true teachings of Islam.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Garmin

      Guest, so now you are training to be a suicide bomber?

      August 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  9. Lorelord

    “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,”

    Seems to me that the very motivation they had to even start this tour was based on ignorance and sterotypes concerning people in the South. Does nto anyone else see the hypocrasy in this entire article. CNN, showing your hypocritical ignorance yet again! Bet you dont see it though. I dont see why any southerner wouldnt be offended by this BS article.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Mark G.

      The South is ignorant. I should know, I live there.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Kitty

      They would have shown ignorance if they said, "the South IS intolerant and DOES hate other groups," not what they did say, which is that the South has a REPUTATION for intolerance and a STEREOTYPE of hating other groups. The South does have this reputation and stereotype.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Look again

      Awww.... C'mon. If you want to misrepresent someone, don't do it on the same page where they go on to say, "We have a feeling that they’re not actually uniformly sitting around hating Muslims.”

      August 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  10. Jeus Is Lord

    Jesus Christ is the answer. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, obey and be saved!

    August 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Pops

      Says you.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Jeus Is Lord

      I believe everything the bible says because I am a sheep. Baaaaaaaaa!

      August 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Jan

      Jeus: Well, you sure sound like a sheep, using that tired cliche of an expression. Any original thought?

      August 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • logikflux

      If Jesus is the answer,... I want another question.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • John

      Funny how you claim Jesus is lord, although there's nowhere in his teachings or in the bible where Jesus (son of human Mary) claimed to be God, or your lord, or my lord, or lord. As a Christian, do you pray to the true God (God who created Jesus, his mother Mary, his ancestors) or do you pray to Jesus the messenger? Do you know that your versions of the bible quoted by Matthew, luke, john and marc are unkown persons throughout history (Absolutely noone can claim, or trace anything to them) have never seen, talked, spoken or even touched Jesus, the Messenger. A mindless man is a retarded nuclear weapon, thou shall not make statements thou cannot prove or defend.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  11. Parsons

    Achmed The Terrorist rocks.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Guest

      Paul the oil thief slimes!

      August 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  12. D Flater

    These comics have more to fear from other Moslems than from American Southerners or anyone else in the world. No wonder their jokes aren't very funny.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  13. BillB

    FYI – Gainesville, Florida is one of the most liberal towns in FLA. It's not a "small, conservative town..." Do some research. The town has a population of 125,000 and the county 247,000.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • BillB

      wait, I forgot about the Koran burning. Skratch that, Gainesville is the hillbilly capitol

      August 14, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  14. Mike Reidy

    At some percentage, the Muslim “system” is coming to a neighborhood near you. Never think they “accept” you! Never believe they will not harm you! The ultimate goal of Islam is to establish Sharia law over the entire world. Resistance is futile unless they are kept out in the first place!

    How many people were MURDERED on 9/11 by Islamic Jihadists? How many of our captured soldiers and journalists (and anyone else looking to be free) were decapitated by Islamic Jihadists? What about the Fort Hood MURDERER that murdered 13 of our finest young men?
    READ: THIS IS ISLAM, THE SO CALLED "RELIGION OF PEACE":

    August 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Betsy Ross

      Moron, 9/11 was brought to us by the American government

      August 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Abdallah

      I would like to know where is your proof that muslims are trying to replace the US law with the Sharia law but the bigots you listen to. I'm a practicing american muslim who attends the mosque, celebrate Eid, and follow the teachings of the Quraan, yet I didn't find anything in the American law that would interfere with my beliefs.
      I advice you to read and learn more about Islam yourself. Its not a very hard thing to do. You can simply learn the teachings of Islam yourself, there are thousands of books you can even get for free. Let me know if you need some references.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Not a lemming

      Mike. too bad you failed basic history. What about the Crusades? That was ORGANIZED killing of Muslims and Jews by the Christains. They were told to accept the Christain God, tortured until they did or died in the process. There were Countries that openly punished those who didn't believe in it. The fact that a dozen men with a few dozen more committing 9/11 horrors, that simply gives you the right to bash the other 1.5 BILLION people?

      There were Muslims who spoke out about the 9/ll bombings. Why wasn't it widely shown? Two things: no freedom of the press in other countries and the USA's own Christain viewpoint.

      Your ignorance gives rise to their extremists.

      By the way. Muslims believe in the God of Abraham. Guess what? Christains believe in the God of Abraham. Guess what? Hebrews believe in the God of Abraham.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • nickthebro

      seems like you fit that stereotype perfectly...buy some tickets so they can educate you too bro.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  15. tv22

    It seems like the bigger stereotype to be broken is that the south is full of ignorant, hate-filled rednecks. I've been all over the country, there are just as many hate-filled ignoramuses to go around in all regions of our great country. There are also a vast majority of good people everywhere of all religions and races. It's a shame that so many here feel perfectly safe to use hate on both sides of this.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      you find them all over because southerners move around...forgot about them pick up trucks didn't ya.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  16. Nolan

    Zzzzzzzz.... Zzzzzzz.... Zzzzzzz

    August 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  17. Mike Reidy

    Throughout history, in every culture where Islam has ascended (and there are many) they have conquered by making extinct their host culture. Islam does not assimilate into societies, it dominates them! There is no "getting along with Islam," there is only acquiescence to its never-ending demands.Islam is not a religion – it is a system. Islam has religious, legal, political, economic and military components. The religious component is a cover for all the other components. Islamic rule occurs when there are enough Muslims in the host country to fight for their so-called “Religious rights.” When politically correct and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their “Religious rights,” Muslims become more assertive and increasingly more aggressive.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • TheMaskedCommenter

      Hey! Just like the Christians did in North America, South America, and Africa! Wow!

      August 14, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • V01D

      And you would like nothing less than global conformity to Christianity. Everyone has a product to push.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Guest

      Muslim ruled Spain and India for several centuries. Both Spain and India has their own cultures. Infact, Muslims gave Europe civilization, from how to eat (three course meal) to surgery. Muslims made India so reach that thuggish British (Christians of course) went there and simply plundered that country. CNN should not allow dumb people to post. But then again it's a free country. So keep spewing out your ignorance.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  18. dslguy

    they want to reach as many people as possible so that after our gaurd is down they can preach muslim ways to try and change as many as possible to become slaves of islame as thats thier goal to change as many as they can. well you take that crud back to the other side of the world as i don't want to hear it and you all muslames can't be trusted for nothing, thats my story an i'm sticking to it, go home to your camels they need you.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • indasouth

      What a surprise – a hate-filled, incorrectly spelled, incorrectly punctuated rant. Congratulations on perpetuating your own stereotype. Good for the muslim comics. The Q & A is a great idea.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • J

      Wow. you are everything that is wrong with America.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • slobbering fool

      Your spelling errors look contrived.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  19. Get a Grip

    very brave people going the "black hole of hatred" in the entire universe.. the south...

    August 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Mark G.

      Thats actually not fair to the many good people who live in the south.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Black hole?
      Try the" Al Qaeda tour of sunny downtown Bagdad" (south Bagdad)

      August 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Mark G.

      I live in the South, and we are all rednecks and hillbillies who have always wanted slavery. In fact, my family watches Larry the Cable Guy while we take turns on our sisters

      August 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Mark G.

      There are those hillbillies again.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Mark G.

      We hillbillies of the South love one thing: balls in our mouths

      August 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  20. TamarS

    what a brilliant idea to make it free to all. the "axis of evil" dvd is fabulous so if you can't get into this tour you cann view previous work on dvd – request your public library to get it!

    August 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Guest

      Muslims must be the "axis of evil", since you like to revolve around them.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
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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.