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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. mullah hajdar

    that audience did not allow black people to ride in the front of the buses or to pee in the same bathroom.they killed jfk when he refused to assault vietnam.they killed lincoln,rkennedy,mlk,malcolm x,countless human rights activists.50% of them depend on millitary paychecks and dream about slavery.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • jcprush

      yes, because i spend the majority of my time devising new ways to persecute people. :/ idiot

      August 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  2. Flooby

    ALL religion sucks from the Jesus fairy tale to this muslim crap. ALL of you need your heads examined. I don't trust any of you.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Fozzie

      Wow, what a lucid argument.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • pepsi

      Right, you are.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  3. suttonmom

    Religion, whichever one, is the root of most conflicts worldwide for eons. In my view, religion is evil. What a world this would be if everyone were not arguing over whose religion and God were the one true religion and God. What a freakin wast of time.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Chuck

      100% in agreement

      August 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • KotaKibalu

      How true.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • nibiru

      The religion is not bad but people have a lot of hate and are to dumb to understand the basics of comunity

      August 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • mhklein

      Why spout this antireligious drivel in response to a story about a Muslim comedy team? Get a life!

      August 13, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  4. AlienShark

    not every southerner is hateful and closed minded. I traveled down south plenty of times and there are southerners who are like mentally still in the civil war, but it is not all of them. peace to all good people.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  5. Bobo

    Is the comedy explosive or will they bomb?

    August 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Clevo

      Heh heh!

      August 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  6. George

    My questions to the funny Muslim guys would be. 1. As a non Muslim, am I a infidel to you? 2. Do you want to see Sharia law in the United States?

    August 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • mullah hajdar

      1.yes
      2.no

      August 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Chuck

      You are an idiot.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Fahad

      I'm a Muslim, and I just want to say that this "mullah hajdar" guy is an idiot. disregard him.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  7. W

    There are many things wrong with the tour. Lawrenceville, Ga is where the 911 terrorist trained, at best the tour organizer is hopefully stupid or the bright actors trying to tell Christians that their old testament is the same or very similar to the Koran is directing the ignorant path of enlightenment. Why don't they go to New York City and hang around where the twin towers use to sit and perform the same act. The fact they think the south is their target for enlightenment is a prejudice based mindset. The group should focus on exposing radicals in the religion within this country and other countries.

    All of the Jesus nuts that have posted comments, Jesus and Mohammad were both messiahs of the Jewish god. Wait all three gods are the same and all three scriptures share the same books/scripture. Wait all three religions believe in the same god? How could the message be misconstrued? Corrupt men wanting to control and pick scripture that conveys their control points? Hmmm.... Still a bad/stupid choice for cities and areas to tour!

    August 13, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  8. Bobby

    I can hate who the heck I want to and nobody can do a thing about it. I don't have to like anybody. Hating, not liking, and sterotyping are not crimes and I can participate in all 3 if I choose. My only requirement is to obey US laws. BTW, I do not hate a soul on this earth but I sure do get tired of folks and organizations telling me what I nned to like.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Chuck

      Your comments are pure genius. What a tool!

      August 13, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  9. mullah hajdar

    this is not a religious conflict.it is a highway robbery.american fascists are trying to cover crimes against muslims by demonizing muslims,like you did to the natives in america 150 years ago.90% of christian wealth has been stolen from the third world.americans are the sons of a devil.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • secularbear

      Wow, here's some major stereotype reinforcement.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Martin T

      And you are certainly doing your part to make the Muslim world look all warm and fuzzy, aren't you? You condemn with your words and you do nothing good for your cause by doing so.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • mullah hajdar

      you are not getting it.we don't want christians to like us,we want christians(western christians) OUT.OUT OF OUR LANDS,MF-ERS!

      August 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • TheMann

      ..So killing people is the answer. You preach to kill people aren't of muslim faith??Why can't two different religions get along.You try to push a religion on people who don't care about it..You can practice your religion freely but don't push it on people...Everyone is the devil not just Americans..We don't cut peoples heads off just because they are from a different country..PEACE MAN PEACE..LET ALL GET ALONG..Tired of hatred!!!!!!!!

      August 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • TheMann

      Why just western Christians???..

      August 13, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • MoroccoPCV

      Come on guys, he's probably not even a muslim, but he's definitely a troll. Quit replying to him and he'll go back to whatever bridge he crawled out from under...

      August 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Bobby

      Sounds like a personal problem to me. This is the US. As long as I follow the law, I can do what the heck I want to. Sounds like you are from a different environment. You could increase your level of confidence as a human being and that might help you.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Norm

      Then the Devil is winning. And since he is, doesn't that make HIM God and not whatever lesser deity you worship? Wouldn't that mean that its Yahweh and Allah that are the real devil?

      August 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • get real!

      Isn't there a camel somewhere who is missing his jockey?

      August 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • mullah hajdar

      americans are not people,you are garbage.and you have declared us a war,remember?the point is this-your blood will be spilt until you give up.we don't trust you,we don't like you,you are what ss and gestapo were.america is the mother of all hatred and propaganda.you have concentration camps(guantanamo,bagram,abu ghraib,...),you have ss(cia),you have gestapo(fbi),you have wehrmacht(pentagon),you have goebels(karl rowe),...the difference is tv and internet,you would repeat german actions if information is not available readily.but,the devil's empire is dying,finally.freedom is ringing.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • papia

      This is exactly why people are afraid of muslims. Look at this guy Hajdar, he is proving why people are afraid of muslims. There are millions of them like him – still living in medieval era in the mid-east, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia and so on. Remember what they did all over the world when the mohamed head 'Bo_b' cartoon was published? South Park makes fun of every religion except for theirs. Everybody else is afraid of them.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • mullah hajdar

      if you are afraid of us,why don't you stay out of our lands?we would forget about you and you would have peace(but wouldn't have dollars,that is why you are assaulting muslims)

      August 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  10. TheMann

    GO THE HELL BACK TO WERE YOU CAME FROM YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Martin T

      Been angry long? Forgot to take some meds today, did you?

      August 13, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • whatever

      lol! how're those anger management classes coming along? I saw their show & it was hysterically funny – they're more than welcome!

      August 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • TheMann

      Too much coffee

      August 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • len

      DITTO : Get OUT and STAY OUT! Live with your camels and continuing decimating your own kind in your land!

      August 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  11. wakeup333

    It's obvious the CNN reporter, the "Muslims" onstage and the audience have never read a page of the Quran or Hadith (which order Muslims to kill nonbelievers and describe women as inferior to men), or listened to English Muslims demanding "Death to those who insult Islam."

    Instead we get the tiresome rants against "Islamophobia," a word made up by Islamists to silence critics. Have you forgotten how Comedy Central censored South Park (with bleeped sound and black squares drawn over Muhammad) because Islamists threatened to kill its creators? People against the Islamization of the West don't deal in "stereotypes." We deal with the words and acts of Islamists, in videos shown here demanding a worldwide Caliphate, in Denmark threatening to kill cartoonists, in Pakistan murdering 3 politicians who wanted to end that country's death penalty for blasphemy. That's the real world.

    Not the Disneyfied nonsense spouted in this article and onstage by these comics, most of whom would not be called "true" Muslims by Pakistanis or Egyptians. Watch the "Arab Spring" countries. See who comes to power. It won't be teen intellectuals. They were booted off the stage a week after Mubarak left. Onstage was Yusef Qaradawi, whose dream is to kill as many Jews as possible with a machine gun from his wheel chair. That's what's coming in Egypt.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • TheMann

      thumbs up

      August 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • papia

      You truly read news and probably books, keep your eyes and ears open. You drew conclusion from history not just trying to be blindly politically correct. There are many people from other religions (Confucius, Buddhist, Hindus etc.) from other countries. They don't have a single problem abiding by the rules of this country, they are not creating terror worldwide, why do we only hear about the Islamic terrorism? Have you seen even a single terror attack from those other religions?

      August 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  12. Brandy

    I'm from Alabama, born and bred. The only time that I have ever seen someone mistreated for their race/religion was when a young man, visiting from Chicago, became angered that three teenaged black girls were shopping at a rural store that, apparently, he didn't think they belonged in. A local elderly white man put a stop to his harassment. These comics need to hit all 50 states, because it ain't just the south.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  13. Janice

    The Bible says that there will come a time in this world that everyone, that means everyone, will bow down to Jesus. Now, Jesus loves each of you, even those who in above comments have completely desescrated His Holy name. God sent his son, Jesus Christ, as a payment for your sins. Just because you laugh and curse him He continues to love you. But He is a just God. Those who reject Him as Lord and Saviour will spend eternity in hell. You get to choose your path. Read the book of John in the Holy bible to understand who Christ is and what He has done for you. Jesus loves you. He does.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • *frank*

      1.3/10

      August 13, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Martin T

      The bible says a LOT of things, ALL of which have been proven to be mostly NONSENSE... There is no evidence that the bible is anything more than a losely strung together set of writings, placed there by the council of Nicean. Further there is NO evidence of the existence of a god, any god.... What I would like to see is ALL religious people to rise up and go to Africa and take care of the 600,000 children in danger of dying there... Now THAT would be a miracle.. but it won't happen.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Bob in LG

      Too bad about all of the Chinese and Indians – guess they wont be going to heaven. That's pretty sad.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • MoroccoPCV

      Hey Martin, I'm here in Africa, I'm Christian, and I am doing just that. I'd like to also note that I am working with a secular agency for next to nothing in terms of pay. What have you been doing lately? Do you give your dollar-a-day to "Feed the Children"?

      August 13, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • mullah hajdar

      jesus is an atm card,what is your ballance?jesus' bones were dragged around by jerusalem dogs.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Martin T

      MoroccoPCV, I spent 13 years on the Dark Continent doing more for the people there than you will ever know or than I can ever say. Just suffice it to say, I've spilled my blood on the continent and left a LOT there. I admire your work with folks there. I think I read where you said you worked for the Peace Corps? I've given and continue to give a lot more than "a dollar a day" to the cause. Last year alone, my group provided more than 20,000 vaccines and worked countless hours to pursuade the native population to use condoms both for protection and birth control.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • secularbear

      That's quite an overheated imagination you have there! You are either thoroughly brainwashed or fantastically stupid. Actually it's probably both. It's just stunning that anybody could be so easily convinced by a bunch of absurd stories told by Bronze Age sheepherders.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • MoroccoPCV

      Martin. Glad to hear of your service! I stand corrected and am happy to apologize. I really can't believe how the Dark Continent gets sidelined in Western Media, despite the incalculable suffering and anguish that occurs here every day. I am glad there are people like you to stand up for the global underdog. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Asher Kay

      Jesus loves me more 😉

      August 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  14. mullah hajdar

    i don't understand why are they trying to explain anything to these nazis.talibans explain it much better

    August 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Martin T

      You speak nonsense. I am sorry for you, you are a sad person, sad and lonely.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • secularbear

      Go blow yourself up.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • len

      mullah – go back to talibanisthan and blow your self up and some of your own kind. may be there will be 70 year old virgin waiting for you – maybe a donkey

      August 14, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  15. JC

    You're all full of shaving cream. How many virgins do you think were left in the region after the Roman legions hammered through twice? And another thing: there aren't any moderate Muslims, anyone who claims to be a moderate is lying. The last interview that I saw with both moderates and self-admitted extremists ended up with the extremists looking like the more rational of the two. Want to know why these folks started here? Simple: they would have been put to death in roughly half the Sharia legal systems in the Muslim world. You know the thing about stereotypes? You can't stereotype anyone without there being a little bit of truth to the accusation.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Thomas

      So you're saying that Casey Kasem, Tony Shalhoub, Dave Chappelle, Paul Anka, Frank Zappa, Vince Vaugn, Danny Nucci, Shannon Elizabeth, Jamie Farr, Mohammad Ali and Steve Jobs are all extremists and should be considered to be terrorists? They're all of Arabic decent and/or are Muslims or have Muslim family members.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • MoroccoPCV

      Oh JC, didn't your Mommy ever teach you not to believe everything the media tells you? No? That's unfortunate...

      August 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • suttonmom

      If you think Christians are moderates, you are kidding yourself. Religion, whichever one, is the root of most of the conflicts in the world for eons. In my view, religion itself is evil. What a world this would be if the world was not fighting about whose religion and God was the one true God and religion. What a freakin waste of time.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  16. Muneef

    ISLAM will rule America! ALLAH BLESS AMERICAN.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Martin T

      Islam will NEVER rule the United States, silly..... Eventually, ALL religion will die and men will be free from the violence and hatred that religion breeds... I am only sad that I will NOT around to see it happen, but it will.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  17. drcoltrane

    So you're saying that ALL southern people hate muslims? Where and with whom do the stereotypes end?

    August 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Thomas

      Who is "you"?

      August 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • MoroccoPCV

      No I wasn't... I was just directly quoting what the group said in the above article, which I assume you read...

      August 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Lawlz

      dr: "So you're saying that ALL southern people hate muslims? Where and with whom do the stereotypes end?"

      Glad someone else caught the irony.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  18. MoroccoPCV

    As a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer living in Morocco (98% Muslim Majority) I can safely say that such a comedy tour (of other religions) would be welcome in any city in the Country. Hell, I consider my 18 months of service so far just one sketch after another. I can't speak for the rest of the Muslim world, but actions speak louder than words. Muslims, especially the younger generation like our comedians in question, want a more liberal world to live in. There can be terrible men in power, there can be extremist fringe groups that want all of us to burn, but don't think for a second that muslims just "sit around uniformly hating" Christians. It's simply not true. We are a previous incarnation of their own faith and as a professing, Deep South born, Christian I am treated with respect, hospitality, and kindness. As the supposed most "free-thinking" nation in the world, we sure have our blinders on pretty tight.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  19. Banish

    there should be some words that should be banished from mankind forever like Hate, just like you bleep when you hear 'Puck u' , there should be bleeping all over this planet for 'Hate'.

    August 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • drcoltrane

      All we'd ever hear is bleeping day and night.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  20. 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 and be saved!

    August 13, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • so wrong

      hey mullah hajdar

      The quran says Jesus was born of a virgin, you are so wrong, how about reading the quran for a change?

      August 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Suz

      Interesting....Jesus never ever tried to convert anyone at all nor did he say that the ONLY way to heaven was to believe in Him. Sadly, Jesus' message of love, forgiveness and acceptance seems to be getting lost in idiotic "Christian" rhetoric!

      August 13, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      @ Jesus is Lord
      Jesus Christ never said anything related to "worship me" in the bible but always gave credit to his father. You should read what the Quran says about Jesus and what the first miracle really was. Only a miracle could vindicate Mary in front of the people. She needed a miracle, and that is precise;y what she got. A great miracle:
      It was baby Jesus, still in the cradle, who spoke to the crowd, defending his mother, and vindicating her for ever, and dispelling any doubt about her purity.

      The Quran, Chaper 19: MARY

      August 13, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • drcoltrane

      I won't comment on your shockingly intolerant beliefs. To do so would be an exercise in futility, because I'm sure you'd just keep spouting the same Jesus-talk. Instead, I'll merely laugh myself to sleep tonight at your childish belief in God, and that we keep living after death. I find that to be most entertaining.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Bugaloo Jones

      Mullah Hajdar – id definitely NOT a muslim. No real muslim would ever say such filthy things about God's Prophets.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • mullah hajdar

      americans don't believe in jesus,you use him like a toilet paper.you believe in devil.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Martin T

      Jesus was NOT born of a virgin, he NEVER did any miracles, and he did NOT rise from the Dead. All of those things were added later in the story to make him more powerful than he was. Jesus may have been a Rabbi and a wise teacher, but chances are that his story is nothing more than a rip off of any number of deities who came before him. That is all.

      August 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Martin T

      @Jesus is Lord, are you saying that the INFANT Jesus spoke to a croud of people? Are you nuts? Where did that come from?

      August 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Martin T

      John, you can't do that to a Myth, you know....

      August 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jeus Is Lord
      You said: "Jesus Christ is the answer. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent and be saved"

      There were no eyewitness accounts of Jesus. No one knows who actually wrote the Gospels. The entire New Testament was written with an agenda i.e., Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God. Jesus may never have actually existed.

      Cheers!

      August 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • W

      Josephus spoke of Jesus,

      The apostle Paul who was around during the time of Jesus spoke of him and I believe was around when he was crucified. Matter of fact Paul hunted down most of the early Christians within the year or a year after Jesus died, and yet Paul joined the group that he was trying to destroy? He wrote letter declaring his love for this man that you said never existed. Seriously why would he do such a thing, if Jesus never existed? Why would he join a small sect of his religion for man that was crucified as a criminal? Out of all of the Apostle Paul was an educated Roman Citizen, and a Jew (A Pharisee). If you need someone who was actually there and proclaimed the name of Jesus.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:57 am |
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About this blog

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.