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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. Art

    “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,”
    This alone might be the funniest thing ever muttered. The South has a reputation of being intolerant? Not Muslims but the south? Name one tolerant Islamic country. And that goes for any country even Turkey and Indonesia. They are intolerant (Though not quite as intolerant of other Islamic countries) as well.

    August 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      You saying that is not a stereotype that is mentioned?
      And they were not saying it is true, they were saying there were seeing if it is true.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  2. KN

    Built by the Dutch also. I recommend reading "The Island at the Center of the World" by Russel Shorto

    August 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  3. SCOTO

    Ironically it probably would be a lot braver to do this in Muslim country.

    August 13, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • sounds good

      in saudi you mean? the liberals teaching the radicals, sounds fun way to be enlightened on how not to be too serious...

      August 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • Veronica barrett

      They have performed in Saudi and Jordan etc. So yeah your pretty much wrong. Try not assuming....

      August 14, 2011 at 7:08 am |
    • Pierre-Normand

      That's not a fair comparison. Of course they are welcome to go to Saudi Arabia and poke fun to American red-necks and their prejudices against Islam. (Although I have a hard time picturing female public performers in front of a male audience in that country. And there are no mixed audiences, ever). The comparison would be fair if they had been allowed to poke fun a Saudi's prejudices against Christianity. Truth is, they'd be sentenced to death immediately.

      August 14, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  4. Olivia

    There are hateful people in every race, country, state, city, group, religion, etc. When will we all learn? The hater has to answer for that, not the hated. Smile and keep it moving. Going on a comedy tour will not change anything. Just leave it alone. When they see thier judge on judgement day, they will know it was wrong to hate another human because of a difference. I am from Montgomery, AL. Talking is not going to do anything. The person has to be willing to change on their own.

    August 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • MeInSac

      Well said! Thank you.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  5. Luke'sCorner

    Now this is a first hand example of the difference between a civilized country and all of those out there that aren't.

    Can you picture a Christian or Jewish comedy tour heading to Riyadh,Mogadishu,Karachi or pretty much every other city and country with Muslim majorities? The only misunderstanding getting clarified if that happened would be when the raging mobs agreed on how they wanted to slaughter the 'infidel' comedians.

    Instead of doing jokes or going on clarification tours to prove something other than all the FACTS we know associated with Islam, how bout standing up and being a loud voice against the growing number of completely intolerant members of your religion that their hijacking and really proving your a voice for peace and unity? Oh yeah, because those stereotypes about the unbelievable violence associated with your religion isn't just some rumor or smear campaign, but the ugly and unfortunate truth.....

    August 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • CRB

      Look at what happened in Oslo. It's not just muslims killing muslims.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • sassypants

      I agree.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • sassypants

      What about that cartoon depiction of the prophet muhammed? I'm not laughing.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • papia

      Luke, you are so right. A lot of people in the West still live with their eyes closed, ears shut. Just do that in any, yes, just in one muslim country and come back alive, we will see then what to think about Islam. Action speaks louder than words.

      August 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • The Mosque of Zorro

      What happened in Oslo apparently was a reaction against the Norwegian government, which is allowing its country's language and culture to be threatened by hordes of Muslims immigrating to their country. So using the Oslo rampage as an example of non-Muslim terrorism isn't exactly valid. It cannot be condoned, but at the same time one must realize that it was a reactionary event. If liberal countries continue their quest for cultural diversity (Germany and France have now seen the light, but too late), more of this time of reactionary terrorism is bound to occur.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • David

      I always hear that crap and it is true – but are you saying you want the US to be more like Iran, Iraq???

      August 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Look again

      @Mosque of Zorro, Muslims make up 2 – 3.4% of the population in Norway. How is that a horde of Muslims? If his attack was a reaction to their immigration, what should be the reaction to foreign soldiers occupying your country? There shouldn't be a double standard. Either they're all terrorists from a murderous religion, or they're crazies using religion as the reason. BTW, the country I live is something like 30% immigrant. The locals complain, but they don't go on a gun rampage.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  6. CRB

    Religion is philosophy in a primitive state.

    August 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • Wsci

      "Religion" is made by humans trying to obtain spirituality or closeness to God on their own efforts.
      a "Relationship" is what Jesus Christ offers to us and He came to give us life! “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10b

      August 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  7. edvhou812

    I'd love to see a fight between a bunch of Muslim extremists and a bunch of crazy rednecks. I think it would actually be a hell of a fight.

    August 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • papia

      Raj, you are right. A lot of these people just have tinted Islam filtered glasses, ear plugs and part of their brains numb to realize the reality. They are so stupidly self-righteous that they can't see reality. Not only this tour group, can you imagine any other religious comedy touring any muslim country and coming back alive?

      August 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • tallulah13

      You keep saying that, papia, but it doesn't alter the fact that these comedians are US citizens. It doesn't alter the fact that there are good people and bad people in every religion. Sadly, you don't wish to look beyond the stereotype you're comfortable with.

      August 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  8. John

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=360]
    .

    August 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Raj

      how about starting their tour from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan..and hopefully if they're able to survive the Jihadist..then look towards coming to civilized world, they should Thanks Western & Civilized world allowing them freedom & expression, try in their world, their own backyard before preaching the primitive & hate ideology.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  9. larish

    You are doing a bad job on getting the latest from Libya!!!!!!!!!!! Tell us what's going on now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  10. Judith Simone Rogers

    OH MY – Why can't you all think love and peace for all! This taking of sides out of context by all is quite disturbing. No wonder we are going downhill fat. Think WE ARE ONE – otherwise WE WILL BE NONE!

    August 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • dt

      YES, you get it. Good post. There are those who would divide us an conquer. We stay together, strong, moral, and fair, and we cannot be destroyed.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  11. Jez

    "Muslim Comics"? Isn't that an oxymoron?... God forbid someone joke about Allah! They'll throw a bloody jihad at everyone. Losers.

    August 13, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • steveintampa

      This is a racist act on the part of the foreign comics stereotyping those living in the American south.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Chaos

      Um, None of them take that view. But thanks for showing us what a moron you are.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • papia

      Mr. Chaos, not only this tour group, can you imagine any other religious comedy touring any muslim country and coming back alive?

      August 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  12. Ducky

    That was awful, not funny in the slightest...the woman died on her ass.

    August 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • mullah hajdar

      it is wrong thing to do.like jews explaining something to gestapo.you need to have your country bankrupt and then you will stop assaulting muslims.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  13. funny

    A man goes into an adult entertainment shop and asks
    the assistant for an inflatable doll.

    "Would you like male or female?"

    "Female, please."

    "Would you like Black or White?"

    "White, please."

    "Would you like Christian or Muslim?"

    This question confused the man, so he asked,
    "What has the religion got to do with it? It's an
    inflatable doll!"

    "Well," explained the assistant, "One of which blows
    itself up!"

    August 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • TellinYou

      And then we al started 4th grade....

      August 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • papia

      Hey Telling you, first answer, if not only this tour group, if any other religious comedy can tour any muslim country and come back alive? You know your brothers will blow up their heads.

      August 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  14. wake

    I am beginning to wonder if there is true religion in the world anymore. Religion is not supposed to be about hate, anger or malice. It is supposed to be about peace, love and spirituality as well as respect for yourself and those around you regardless of your faith. Christians today for example. A lot of you claim your Christians but are you? I see sects that spout hate and ignorance. These sects show no respect towards anyone else. Sects that do things that go against the philosophies of Christ Himself. I can assure you if Jesus Christ saw you here and now he would be appalled at what His philosophies have come to. Reading the Bible and believing in God no more make you a Christian than quoting E=mc^2 makes you a scientist. Muslim radicals...you commit violent acts in the name of your Prophet and God killing innocent men, women and children. You have all these crazy customs in your sects that go against Islam in every way. Rest assured I'm certain Mohammad is very displeased with you and when you meet Him in Death...well, I'm glad I'm not in your shoes. He will make you regret your actions in this life. The list goes on. But it seems to me all Religions of the world have something in common today-corruption. Faith is a way of life...not a political endeavor...not a device for spreading hate and anger...not a weapon of intimidation. Religions of the world have to come together if this corruption is to be addressed. They all have a common enemy in this respect. I firmly believe it is possible for Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and all the other religious systems around the globe to be best friends and always be able to support each other. That is what true religious Faith is supposed to be about. It is a bond, regardless of what path you follow. Alas.

    August 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • cj

      Read and learn what the doctrine of each religion is teaching.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • stevie weevie

      Man you just wasted a lot of time writing that.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • John Richardson

      What do you mean "anymore"? Religions have always been a source of divisiveness.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • kamlesh patel

      Due to bodily designations, we hate and fight each other. We are the soul and not the body. The soul is not black or white. The soul is not Hindu, Christian, nor Muslim. The soul is not Indian or American or Iranian. The soul is not poor or diseased. The soul is not male or female. One soul is not inferior or superior to another.

      All living beings are souls, part and parcel of God. We are all eternally, brothers and sisters. Every soul is a unique individual, full of bliss, knowledge, and eternal. Visit HareKrishna.ws for full details.

      “It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 14.4)

      “I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable om. I am also the Rg, the Sama, and the Yajur Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 9.17)

      “One who does not hate anyone; is friendly and compassionate to all living beings; shares his belongings with others; has no sense of ownership; free from ego; even-minded in both happiness and distress; forgiving; tolerant in all situations; always satisfied; worships me with determination and devotion. Such a person is very dear to me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 12.13-14)

      The above the words of the real God, and not man made Gods of other religions who order hatred towards others and order the animals to be eaten.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Aine57

      True religion? It's one river, many wells.

      August 13, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Joe B-b-b-b-bob

      Yes, there is True Religion. It's a men's clothing line and it's really cool.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • Brian Macker

      "Rest assured I'm certain Mohammad is very displeased with you"

      Apparently you haven't read the Qur'an or know the biography of Mohammad. It's quite a bit of head and hand chopping, pedophile, mass murder, and terror. That and intolerance of others.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • MeInSac

      Well said, Wake. Don't pay attention to the racists and misinformed people replying to your post. God bless you.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  15. gkingii

    OK, boys. Time to get a yee-hawd going on 'em.

    August 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  16. Chris

    The author needs to learn the difference between a stereotype and a stupid question. “Is it true if a group of women get naked, that Muslim men must kill themselves?” is an idiotic question–not a stereotype. A stereotype assumes that the vast majority of people would believe this. I live in the South and have never heard any one say this. The author's charge is actually a stereotype of the South. Think about the assumptions and the prejudice the author is allowing to seeping into this article on "tolerance."

    August 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Peace2All

      Interesting points -Chris. Also, I find it 'ironic' that a lot of this tour is in... the 'south.'

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • You need a mental holiday

      The author reported that the question was from the audience, so your point is invalid, except it was a stupid question. But for the sake of argument, the south is the hotbed of anti anything but white Christian. From the klan to white supremacy groups that arent the klan, to militias to [insert hate group here]... The Muslim comedy group has a point about trying to get southerners to understand their belief system so they can dispel incorrect stereotypes, just like the stereotype about all southerners being ignorant hicks that are sweet on their cousins.

      Just saying...

      August 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @You need a mental holiday

      Well said.

      Peace...

      August 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • papia

      I am just thinking what will happen if this tour starts in a muslim country and and instead of muslim acts it is some other one? Do you think, that non-muslim tour group will have as many lovers as I see here?

      August 13, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • papia

      I am just thinking what will happen if this tour starts in a muslim country and and instead it is a Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Budhist group? Do you think, that non-muslim tour group will have as many followers as I see here?

      August 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • tallulah13

      papia, I don't know if you noticed, but this tour is taking place in the United States, where we have lots of ethnic groups and beliefs and laws to protect those groups and beliefs. Your scenario is simply an an attempt to create more fear and hatred.

      August 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • papia

      tallulah, I don't know if you have noticed, most of the muslim countries have some minorities: Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Indonasia and so on....Most of the minorities perished in those countries and some fled to other non-muslim countries. If you read books.... You don't get best of the both worlds. You guys just can't answer or don't want to answer, because you know the truth.

      August 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      My point papia, is that this is happening in the US. The comedians are US citizens. There are millions of muslim Americans, most of them trying to live peaceful productive lives. These comedians are trying to educate people like you who are only interested in stereotypes.

      August 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  17. Fahed Rokwaleed

    So this Muslim walks into a who re house and asks for 70 virgins......................lol

    August 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • NoNoNo

      No, he walks in asks for 1 70 yr old virgin-:)

      August 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  18. Just sayin'

    Don't let Terry Jones fool you... Gainesville, Florida is an extremely liberal college town. I should know, I lived there for years and finally moved because of the overwhelming tax burdens placed on everything from gasoline, property, utilities, etc.. Not to mention having to explain the Gay/Lesbian/Transgender pride banners that flew all over town for extended periods to my young children. Trust me, the muslims will have a warm reception in Gainesville, home of the "Don't Tase Me Bro!" liberal brainwashed utes.

    August 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • andy

      Thanks god it's not the home to brainwashed, Right wing kooks.

      August 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Just sayin'

      " Not to mention having to explain the Gay/Lesbian/Transgender pride banners that flew all over town for extended periods to my young children. "

      I feel for ya' bro, having to be all tolerant and non-bigoted and sh!t in front of your children.

      Peace...

      August 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  19. DrDiomedes

    Glad to hear our Muslim fellow Americans are proactively addressing the issues ... I would say they are much more American than many white Christian males ... cheers brothers

    August 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • andy

      Built by christians, and then torn down by ignorant Christians as yourself. The murderous cult is Christianity. Go read a history book, it helps with not looking stupid in a debate.

      August 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • rennin1

      Andy said, "Built by christians, and then torn down by ignorant Christians as yourself. The murderous cult is Christianity. Go read a history book, it helps with not looking stupid in a debate."
      =============================
      May I recommend Dinesh D'Souza's book "What's so Great About Christianity?". See Chapter 19 "A License to Kill: Atheism and the Mass Murders of History? for a scholarly treatment of atheism's role in world history over the past few hundred years.
      Christ admonished his followers to turn the other cheek and to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. He never imposed his views on others and never incited others to violence.
      This argument that Christians have killed thousands of people in the name of Christ is all the evidence someone needs in order to know that you don't understand world history and who these so-called Christians actually were. Atheists keep complaining about religion in general and Christianity in particular. But, ask yourself what would take its place if they had their way? Atheism? Well, considering that more people have been killed by wars brought on by atheism than by all the religious wars combined, how would having more atheists in the world make it a better place for your kids to live in than it already is?

      August 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Ruspanic

      "American" is a nationality. There are not varying degrees of "American".

      August 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • papia

      Duh! Mr renin. No Athiest country ever invaded any other country because the invaded country people were religious. Are you smoking pot or drunk? Even Soviet Union didn't invade Afghanistan because they were not atheist. Can you name a single war that was fought because an atheist country thought some other country was religious? " Dumb" as a door nail.

      August 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • shelbyrn

      Most uneducated people by definition uneducated because thedeny DON"T WANT to be educated. It is easier and feels better to hate and blame. The "red neck" that I call my relatives... well lets say they are very narrowly focused on Fox News, John Hannity and Bill O'Riley types to get their "education"... that is the same way AlQuida abd the Taliban get their education to the uneducated people under their influence. The Taliban ,... Taliban means "student" . The Mullahs are their teachers. The Mullahs fill the heads of the uneducated muslim mean who can't even read the Quran themselves with what they want them to think it says.... most Christians and this uneducated people don't realize that that it is so important to research where you are getting your education and not be led around like puppets.... that how radicalism is born!!! Whether it be redneck radicalism or any other !!

      August 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  20. adam

    So this Christian walks into a bar and orders a choir boy....

    August 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • stevie weevie

      Work on your delivery.

      August 13, 2011 at 7:08 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.