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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. Reality

    Why the topic group should not be invited to your town:============================

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about "peaceful Islam" and the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    August 14, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Kat

      Andrew Belivik? is that you? I guess Norwaegian prisons have internet access to prisoners

      August 14, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • JWH

      Very funny Kat.

      Rome burns and we weep for the enemies of the world.

      They have a right to tour, it is just bad taste where. Plus they do not address the real issues in their own lands, such as zero tolerance of other religions and gaes.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Dain

      "ou must destroy all the nations the LORD your God hands over to you. Show them no mercy and do not worship their gods. If you do, they will trap you. Perhaps you will think to yourselves, 'How can we ever conquer these nations that are so much more powerful than we are?' But don't be afraid of them! Just remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all the land of Egypt. Remember the great terrors the LORD your God sent against them. You saw it all with your own eyes! And remember the miraculous signs and wonders, and the amazing power he used when he brought you out of Egypt. The LORD your God will use this same power against the people you fear. And then the LORD your God will send hornets to drive out the few survivors still hiding from you! "No, do not be afraid of those nations, for the LORD your God is among you, and he is a great and awesome God. The LORD your God will drive those nations out ahead of you little by little. You will not clear them away all at once, for if you did, the wild animals would multiply too quickly for you. But the LORD your God will hand them over to you. He will throw them into complete confusion until they are destroyed. He will put their kings in your power, and you will erase their names from the face of the earth. No one will be able to stand against you, and you will destroy them all." (Deuteronomy 7:16-24 NLT)

      Christianity is no less violent than any other abrahamic religion on earth. Witch hunts, crusades, inquisitions, pagan exterminations. I would sooner trust a muslim american than a christian in rural america

      August 14, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Kat

      Their own lands is America, bigot. And you're right they should address the rising bigotry and intolerance in America

      August 14, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Barfy Spewsalot

      And your any better? FACT Muslims believe in Adam & Eve, Moses, Abraham JESUS & MARY. Their "bible" Forbids harming of Jews Christians & anyone else who believes in God. However when it comes to FAKE Christans & Jews who deny the teachings of Christ by your hate they are less merciful. Dame goes for Atheists who they view as "Unbelievers".

      August 14, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • suttonmom

      Funny Dain how there is no response to your post.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Camelenema

      Kat, are you female? How can you even consider dealing with a culture that considers 50% of it's population to be subhuman?

      August 14, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  2. Hockeyn109

    When certain Muslim countries allow Christians and Jews to worship and display their religious faith freely, i.e. Saudi Arabia for one, I will then embrace them. Until then, f-off with PC correctness.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • JWH

      here here....dead on.....

      August 14, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Really Angry Christian

      you both need to give up your stupid made up monotheistic viewpoints and live life as it's meant to be lived. in SIN AND PAIN

      August 14, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Jeremy

      Yes, but as I said earlier if that were to happen the media tone of the article would be using fewer words like "dialogue" and "enlighten" and more words like "imperialistic" and "racist."

      August 14, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • JWH

      Love thy enemies. Montheistic is belief in 1 God, angry Christian.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • labandme

      I agree with Hockeyn109. Anyway, a few enlightened muslims putting on a play doesn't represent the thousands of evil b*stards hiding in the woodwork. Don't fall for it.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • af090391

      I'm sorry, but what happened to turn the other cheek? If you don't buy into that, then how bout this:
      We can show our religion is more loving and caring by not completely hating another religion and its followers, but by understanding them as human beings, and perhaps, by treating them the way God would want them to be treated.

      If you act as they act, then you change nothing.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  3. Hockeyn109

    Wouldn't it be nice if a Christian comedy group could tour Saudi Arabia and get them to stop labeling Christians as infidels and show their tolerance as we are supposed to do with the Muslims. Wouldn't that be just grand?

    August 14, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • JWH

      That is the whole point of the matter. Reality is they have the larger stick in the eye.
      They are the masters of intolerance to Christians, Jews and non Muslims.

      Our freedoms allows them to gain power here.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • JWH IS A D0UCHEBAHG

      JWH always gets his rocks off in the confessional booth.... sick f___

      August 14, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • JWH

      what part of the truth hurts? My mediator is Christ, no booth, no man.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • JWH IS A RACIST D0UCHEBAHG

      GROSS. YOU DO IT WITH JESUS? SICK F___

      August 14, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  4. ldean50

    Am I the only "Southerner" sitting here with an open mouth and a look of abhorrence at the ignorance of a bunch of people, in an effort to rid the world of stereotypes, deliberately touring the South because they have stereotypically labeled Southerners as hateful and "intolerant". Good gawd. One ignorant redneck burns a Koran and we are ALL labeled . . . again. And the "is it true" question . . . please tell me that person was NOT a plant. I promise folks. We DO have universities down he'air.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • JWH

      Burning the false book incited them. Real Christians would have used a gospel only approach through love.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Kat

      your vetoing record gives you bad name

      August 14, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • JWH IS A D0UCHEBAHG

      "Real" christians wouldn't have done anything but sit there talking crap about other people behind their backs. That's all christians are good for anyway

      August 14, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • JWH

      Judge not things on the failing of man, especially Christians, but put your eye on the Saviour.

      You do not let hypocrites stop you from buying gas or milk, let not me ot others stop you from worshipping God.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  5. Kat

    May God bless them and protect them from brainwashed bigots and hate/war mongers.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • JWH

      puke puke, another feel good liberal......

      August 14, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • cajuntide

      if u will read there holly book there is 250 verses that say if ur not muslum then force it on u funny gays want marrage they would kill them

      August 14, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • JWH

      Good point, as our wickedness allows gaes to prosper, they would kill them.

      So who is the evil one? In this case we all are.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Kat

      maybe you should get their book and read it for your self before you talk ignorantly about something you know nothing about

      August 14, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Joe B-b-b-b-bob

      Good point. So many here have lowered themselves to the same level - are mirror images, in fact - of those they speak against

      August 14, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  6. JWH

    Thier referencing the South as racist. Alabama did not blow up the Dome on the Rock.
    Why not go back to your original countries and fix the backward Old Testament thinking there?
    At least the South is in the New Testament, under GRACE!!!!

    August 14, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • ArcFire213

      Way to prove their point of "Our book is right, yours is wrong." Nailed it.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • JWH IS A D0UCHEBAHG

      the bible is a book written by a bunch of gay men who had butt secks while writing

      August 14, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  7. Elwood

    Oops. "prophets" – must have had a Freudian moment

    August 14, 2011 at 12:16 am |
  8. cheesehead

    “Is it true if a group of women get naked, that Muslim men must kill themselves?”
    No, but they probably want to.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  9. Zoe

    The people of the U.S.A. are not that ignorant to be bamboozled by the Muslims...Somehow they think if they are on the same playing field as the Americans we will be these happy go lucky accepting of everything people and open all doors..This is what they want and this is how they think they will get control of the US...It is way too soon after the 911 tragedy for this type of comedy...We don't care about Muslims or Islam we are in mourning over the deaths of so many Americans and all the damage and devastation that your Muslim brothers have caused in our beautiful land of America...If you are a Muslim born in the US or a legal immigrant, please enjoy this wonderful land, respect your space and move about quietly.. Unfortunately for you this is the way it will be for a very long time as it will take the people of the U.S. A. a very long time to recover from what your Muslim brothers did to our country and its people...God Bless America...

    August 14, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • suttonmom

      You do not speak for all Americans.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • cw1545

      Manifest destiny, White Power!!!!

      August 14, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • JWH

      And not all Americans are American, they are mindless, godless reprobates....

      August 14, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • suttonmom

      And not all Americans have brains like you JWH.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • ldean50

      yep, Zoe. I hear what you're sayin' . . . I feel the same way about Baptists after Timothy McVey bombed the Federal Building . . . hate em. And we need to really hate the 7th Day Adventist after what happened at Waco... and Oh, oh, oh, what about the Mormons and Mr. Jeffs the pedophile. I hate the Mormons too. yep. hate hate hate... that's the American, Christian way. fool.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • ArcFire213

      @JWH Hell yeah, I'm godless. I don't understand how "Godless" is a insult. If anything, fearing some kind of invisible, all-powerful space-daddy is cause enough to get your head checked. Just because billions of people believe in something crazy doesn't mean it's not crazy.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  10. mimi45

    CNN has become the biggest joke of all, maybe their talking heads should go on tour–in Yemen.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:12 am |
  11. JWH

    Muslim American is an oxy-moron. Look at their (lack of) freedoms in their own countries and that is who they are.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • JWH IS A RACIST D0UCHEBAHG

      RACIST

      August 14, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  12. Jeremy

    If a Christian group did this in Muslim towns the media would be calling it imperialistic, racist and/or discriminatory.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • JWH

      They would be stopped, and in some cases killed.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Q

      Seems there's a pretty significant Christian missionary effort within Muslim communities around the world and I've not seen the media coverage as you would suggest.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • JWH

      They said IF.
      A rhetorical question, knowing that being a Christian in their lands is a deadly thing.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • GV

      @Q

      I live in a Muslim country and I can assure you that there is NO Christian missionary work going on in this region by law! Christians can worship, but they cannot proselytize.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Q

      @GV – Your anecdote is not a refutation of my post and it would appear you're trying to argue your personal experience represents the totality of the Islamic world. If you'd care to google, you'll find there are many Christian missionary efforts which are not only winning converts, but establishing churches as well.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • Q

      @JWH – I don't believe it was framed as a rhetorical question, but even if that was the intent, that evidence indicates Christian missionaries are active in various Muslim countries and that they are not receiving the negative press as suggested undermines the initial point of the post.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • JWH IS A RACIST D0UCHEBAHG

      ASDF

      August 14, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Q

      http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/church-planting-movements-among-muslim-peoples

      August 14, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  13. Scott

    This is just disturbing on so many levels.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • suttonmom

      I agree Scott. It is not a wonder why the world is the way it is.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  14. JWH

    Let the enemies of the Lord blaspheme? , as they go to the reprobates.
    Their actions have spoken and it spilled blood. What an insult. Fron the WH to everywhere, we have lost.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • JWH IS A RACIST D0UCHEBAHG

      ASDFASDF

      August 14, 2011 at 12:34 am |
  15. S.

    Takes on the Deep South? Oh yeah, because no other region experiences racism. Uh huh.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • vahellbilly

      Agreed...

      They need to tour the N. East (Boston and NYC), the Midwest (Chicago and Indiana), the N.West (Idaho and Montana) and lest we forget the harmonious village of racial harmony, LA.

      These places never have any racism, intolerance or hatred within their borders...

      August 14, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  16. Barada

    So, how did they answer the question about the naked women?

    August 14, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • JWH

      They stone for adultery and fornication...their point? Is not funny.......

      August 14, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • JET4571

      I was wondering the same thing.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  17. suttonmom

    To mhklien, I have a life and it is a full and satisfying life without religion. My husband and me work, contribute to society and have a daughter who will do who knows what for this country. We don't hate because of anyone's religious beliefs. We live a moral and ethical life and have done all of this without religion. All I see is the religious trying to impose their belief system on me and the world. I don't want it or need it. I'm doing just fine without it.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • cajuntide

      well ethnicks and honor first came from the bible so ur religious if u like it or not

      August 14, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • JET4571

      @Cajuntide Thats the dumbest thing I have read all day. Congratulations.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • suttonmom

      cajuntide, I don't hate because of religious beliefs. That includes you.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • soggynode

      Well said Suttonmom. The world would be a better place with more families like yours.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • suttonmom

      Thank you snoggy...It's like the smallest things don't matter any more. I don't get it!

      August 14, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  18. Elwood

    Theological debate aside, I could get on board with their message a little easier if they were just better comedians. Its hard to get a good take on the whole show with just that short clip but that was looking pretty hard to sit through. The first guy was doing fine but the girl's sets were tanking bad. They are on the right track though, if you want to ease people's fears, make them laugh.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  19. enricorosan

    Religious books should have mandatory warning labels like cigarettes : WARNING reading this material will seriously diminish cognitive skills, corrupt power of judgement and affect logical reasoning which is known to incite violent behavior, racism, delusion, and fatal confrontations with your fellow man and woman.

    Recommendation: read scientific and self help books ...Avoid mythology and fairy tale stories

    August 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Mercedes

      Jesus constantly asked questions. He challenged the minds and the sloppy thinking and the herd behavior of his audience. Maybe you should read the Gospels carefully before making comments that reveal your ignorance.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Mountaincore

      Yes. By all means – you visit adult book stores more often. How old are you? Wow.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Elwood

      How is science any different than religion? Many scientific concepts are only theoretical and cannot be proven physically. Scientists must have faith that the theoretical model is valid, just like religious beliefs. Science has revered figures in Einstein and Galileo whose teachings are held in unquestionable regard, just like religion. Science is just another religion with zealots, profits and followers. Self help books are just dudes trying to get your money – definitely stay away from them.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Breanna

      Mercedes, the christian Jesus and pretty much everything else to do with any religion in the world are based on the Mesopotamian/Assyrian/Babylonian sun and goddess worship. Mary is Semiramis and Jesus is, basically, Ra. No part of it is original and organized religion is a rewritten and reworked mind control device at best, and that includes atheism. You weren't around when the books were written so your belief that "Jesus" did any given thing is entirely faith-based and non-factual, with a pitiable belief that written word cannot be tampered with. Ignorance is as ignorance does.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • cajuntide

      ur a fool

      August 14, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • FrackAtheists

      I find it interesting you Atheists say we would live in a much better world if only we rid ourselves of God. You folks always seem to claim all that is bad in the world is Religion. HOWEVER when it comes to an Atheists Like Mao, Stalin, Lenin, The Khmer Rouge & the like you fall silent. So please tell me why over 110,000,000 were Slaughtered by Pascifist Atheists like Joseph Slalin, Kim Jung Ill & Chairmen Mao? Care to rationalize the 38,000,000 battle-dead that have been killed Atheist wars on believers.If Atheism is so better than belief why is it 35,000,000 people fled Atheist countries & so few are lining up to live in Utopian countries like North Korea? I've seen your fantasy & you need to get some reality. Members of the Chinese Communist Party are officially REQUIRED to be atheists. why is it if Atheism will rif the world of war The Soviet Union, China, North Korea & North Vietnam need or needed armed forces? After all they should be investing that money on Education & Science. You ARE aware these types were EXECUTED right? Why is that? Please tell this poor ignorant believer how beccoming like your Brother's in God Free Utopias would lead a more fulfilling life?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Elwood.. Science is self correcting, and open to change, religion claims to have the truth and that is it..no evidence needed..Air craft fly because science understands the concepts of airflow, not faith......space craft get to the moon, and orbit the earth due the mathematics that science has worked out....tell me if you were to fly in an aircraft from which the pilots were going to bail out at 40.0000 ft, and only prayer was to be used to get it to earth again...what do you think would happen would you want to go on that aircraft. What if the other choice was a pilot controlled decent which aircraft would you fly in?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Elwood

      Evolved – I agree and I myself prefer the self correcting nature of science. A lot of people however need the stable unchanging version of truth that religion provides even if it does not seem to make sense. I have no idea how a christian scientist gets through the day.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Frackathiests... There has always been horror in the world long before god was invented, and christianity evolved from the older religions of the ancients. There is no atheist religion, there's nothing to "believe" in. The leaders you mention would kill anyone.. not just so called religious folks...if a leader was atheist it would not drive him to commit any worse attroci-ities than a christian leader would..Hitler comes to mind..Many wars have been driven by the desire to prove a gods superiority .. we are seeing the outcome of that today.. and it has the potential of destroying civilization. god is just another divisive concept that currently is costing the world a huge amount of money to stop the collision of faiths. As for N.Korea...I am wondering if you are lining up to live in Iran with its religious leadership?

      August 14, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • Bibletruth

      Quite the opposite is true. Nothing will expand your mind, grow your intellect, ennoble your mind like the study of the bible.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  20. *frank*

    Baby Jesus hates comedy.

    August 13, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
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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.