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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. susan

    Thank you, CNN. Glad to learn about the existence of this group and the good work they are doing.

    August 14, 2011 at 5:14 am |
  2. Mike R

    All religions originally had the purpous of maintaining order in a society and praise the important qualities that we have by giving adherence to great examplary person's of history. We are making up our own history as we speak...it's up to us to decide whether our differences of faith can better understand our future or to make us tear our humanity apart. Negative thoughts lead to negative actions.

    August 14, 2011 at 5:02 am |
  3. Paul

    Regardless of what Allah means in Arabic, there is only one true God. Jesus Chris is the Son of God and was God manifested in the flesh. The reason is because you Bill, have sinned along with every other person beginning with Adam and Eve. Since there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, that is the sacrifice that God requires as a sin offering beginning with the children of Israel.

    Then a blood sacrifice had to be shed in order for forgiveness to be appropiated. You see Bill, the natrual man has a perspective of the flesh, that is a nature that is contrary to God because God is holy holy holy and man is not. So you cannot get into heaven with sin, it's an automatic denial of entry. Again, holy holy holy God and sinful man.

    Do you see the problem Bill??

    So God provided for himself the sacrifice, conceiving himself by the Holy Ghost in the virgin Mary and then being manifested in the flesh. Jesus Christ lived a perfect and sinless life and he was crucified for the sins of the world shedding his innocent blood on the cross for your guilty blood so that you may be redeemed back to God. He was then resurrected three days later.

    You receive of that free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ by believing in Him. God extends his hand to you by grace and you receive the gift by faith. Otherwise, it's eternal condemnation. Will you receive him today?

    August 14, 2011 at 4:39 am |
    • gman

      and does god need blood?

      August 14, 2011 at 5:39 am |
    • nick

      Jesus, is not the son of God, he's a messenger and a profit for God. Get it right

      August 14, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • len

      A Rose by any name.... is like God called by any name ; as long as we get peace . Let people live how they want to , don't force your beliefs down any ones throat. Why conversion, think people who do not share you beliefs are not worthy humans.
      It is a beautiful but short life in this world. Have laughter in your lives. Or are your Gods so petty or you think they are?

      August 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • J.W

      This is frustrating to me. Muslims, Jews, and Christians all worship the same God. Whatever message you were trying to convey was lost in the ignorance of the first sentence.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  4. Jim

    Muslims are the last people who should be laughing at others.

    August 14, 2011 at 4:37 am |
  5. Paul

    Jesus Christ is greater than Allah (a false god) and will one day put all of His enemies under his feat. Call on Jesus today, for today is the day of salvation!!

    August 14, 2011 at 4:09 am |
    • Bill

      Umm Allah just = God in arabic. How does that make him lesser of what you call God. And how the hell is a human being greater than God?

      August 14, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • Allee

      Bill: Allah is not equal to God but it is another name–Remember another name for the same super God but not int he form of a human but s super God. Just trying to clarify. It is the one the creator and knows all. There is no need for that power to live among us or to personally go through hardship to forgive but the one with the power to forgive us without having to go through hardship. Hope this answer your question.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:40 am |
  6. Schmoo

    Bibi Aisha can tell you just how tolerant Islam is.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:59 am |
  7. EuphioTGank

    I think it's peoples stereotype of the deep south that need to be examined

    August 14, 2011 at 3:34 am |
  8. nelselona

    at least terrorists who are Christians don't claim to to be defending or fighting for their "religion of peace."

    August 14, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • HOLY

      Breivik (Norway) killes 78 people in the name of christendoem.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:12 am |
    • Allee

      You must have missed the new of Oslow massacre and the manifesto he left behind. Ostrich will remain an ostrich

      August 14, 2011 at 5:43 am |
  9. Dino

    "Islamophobia" what about Infidelphobia?

    August 14, 2011 at 3:22 am |
  10. Muneef

    Not an inch as equal to Muslims...

    Muslims tackle looters and bigots

    British Muslims' reaction to the riots should dispel any continued demonisation in the media.
    Robert Lambert Last Modified: 12 Aug 2011 12:02

    "When accused of terrorism we are Muslims, when killed by looters, we become Asian", a Muslim student explained to me. He was commenting on the media reportingof the death of three young Muslims in Birmingham on Tuesday night. Like many other Muslims, they were bravely defending shops and communities as rioters went on a violent rampage of looting.
     
    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/08/201181210928899563.html#.TkcVYYleq1E.hotmail

    August 14, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • RonnieLee

      LOL. The "demonization" of Muslims will continue as long as the jihad continues. As long as women are harrassed in Tower Hamlets for not wearing their head dress, as long as terrorists blow up busses, as long as people like Choudray keep calling for the Sharia, etc, etc, etc. It's great the people did the right thing by standing up to the looters, and rioters, but that, unfortunately, doesn't mitigate any of that other stuff one bit. Sorry.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:58 am |
    • Dave

      Any female ventriloquists? How can you tell if they are moving their lips, they are wearing a veil.

      That puppet looks like Iranian President Ahmadinejad, it is Ahmadinejad,

      August 14, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • gman

      you cant base judgment over a billion people by the actions of a few in any religion

      August 14, 2011 at 5:46 am |
    • Muneef

      Am with "gman's" comment it is the only fair for any communities since will have among them who are on different beliefs or intentions...even among the one family will have different beliefs and intentions,wheter joined favorably or forcibly....!

      August 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Muneef

      Corrected.
      Am with "gman's" comment it is the only fair for any communities since will have among them who are on different beliefs or intentions...even among the one family will have different beliefs and intentions,whether joined favorably or forcibly....!

      August 14, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  11. RonnieLee

    @farscape I'm not setting any bar. Simply pointing out that the overwhelming evidence indicates that Islam in an intolerant belief system. If Muslims want to be tolerated and accepted by Western societies, they are going to have to take issue with the intolerance of their own belief system, and actually work on reforming it. We're not living in a bubble here. We're simply fortunate enough that Muslims don't make up a significant part of our population. But, don't take my word for it. Simply watch what happens in tolerant, liberal, western Europe as the demographic shifts, and Muslims become the majority. Then, you will see Islamic "tolerance" on display, in all it's glory.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • Allee

      Tolerance is not enough but love. We need to love each other not tolerate. Just read how many are attacking Islam on this blog here and think. To learn about Islam, read the book (Quran) and decide for yourself. Also now do not go around on blogs and cut and paste form others who are quoting out of context or misquoting. It is true that the media is biased toward Muslims and Islam –not that we do not have our black sheep but so does everyone else--

      August 14, 2011 at 5:53 am |
    • Godblessusa

      Never in my wildest dreams would I describe the U S as a tolerant society. Up until this year you could be arrested for being openly gay and serving in the military, because that somehow "dangerous". Gay marriage in California became illegal and stays that way because you have a faith based court system. You're a hypocrite ronnielee, just so you know.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:55 am |
  12. joe

    lets see him make fun of mohammed and his forced marriage of a 8 year old girl, makes that FLDS warren jeffs look like a saint. mohammed was always doing something evil. Is that muslim going to say killing Jews and Christians is wrong, probably not. Ha Ha ...he funny!

    August 14, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • umar

      joe or wot eva thr call u. pls lean hw to talk if u did nt respect our religion we respect it dis is so rude i respect jesus evn mordn u do.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:46 am |
  13. gondo

    well said. And typical of CNN to spew the PC vomit wiht regards to any story about our "peaceful muslim brothers".

    August 14, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  14. Muneef

    Poor brothers and sisters they been trying to show that they are being misunderstood by the masses ever since 911 but not a chance...not only because of 911 but because some stupid nuts I noted here say Islam is of "Satan" although in Quran all words are attacking and warning from "Satan"... And before reciting we are ordered to take refuge of GOD from "Satan"..

    August 14, 2011 at 2:27 am |
    • Amy

      What you say would be true if a large majority of Islam didn't think of the US and Israel as Satan. I have heard the US referred to as the big Satan many times from Muslims.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:31 am |
    • Muneef

      Amy.

      The problem is that both of them do the dirty works changing the face of the world but whom ever planing and benefitting is getting all the credit while both countries has to slave towards covering it's needs as a planed by equipment's,men and finance....(Land vs or against Peace).... Nations by Nations...

      August 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Muneef

      Amy.

      How many nations were invaded for it's natural recorces from the ancient to date...Minerals,Gold,Diamonds,Water Rivers,fertile lands, Strategic locations and of course now The Crude Oil. ....?! Have you ever heard of a country been invaded or threatened when having non of those?

      August 14, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Muneef

      Amy.

      How many nations were invaded for it's natural resources from the ancient to date...Minerals,Gold,Diamonds,Water Rivers,fertile lands, Strategic locations and of course now The Crude Oil. ....?! Have you ever heard of a country been invaded or threatened when having non of those?

      August 14, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  15. IbelieveInTruth1

    How funny it is that there are many Muslims living in the Lawrenceville area, and Atlanta is the largest, and one of the most diverse populations in America. We as Americans are the most tolerant people in the world, but we are against any large group of people or culture who preach intolerance like Muslums mainly in the Middle East. You don't see American Terrorists killing Muslums nor do we allow racial injustice puting down people for thier race, religion, or beliefs i.e. the First Amendment. I don't supose American Comedians are performing in Iran, Syria or Iraq puting down Muslums. It is Muslums who are the joke taking advantage of our freedom, while they have none in thier backward Muslum Nations that they come from to our country looking for freedom and opportunity. I have spent time in Muslum countries, and generally like Middle-Easterners but realize how backward their culture is, and would not hesitate to protect anyone's freedom or take pleasure in our Navy Seals who killed Bin-Laden while our Pakistani friends protected his where-abouts. Now that is truly a joke that they claimed ignorance that he lived right next to the Army HQ and place where retired Pakistani Officers live!

    August 14, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • YoureStupid

      hey truth, you say that you dont see americans killing muslims? heres just one example: http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/07/15/texas.death.row.hate.crime/index.html – and on top of that, one of his victims urged texas not to execute him

      you say that americans dont put people down for their race, religion or beliefs? on the contrary, not only does this happen all the time, its happening on this exact page.

      isnt america supposed to be a melting pot where people of all cultures and walks of life can come? weird how youre attacking that by saying that muslims are only here to "take advantage of our freedom". that sounds like bigotry to me, the very thing youre arguing against.

      you say their culture is backwards. if you were born in saudi arabia, you would most likely think our culture is backwards. you cant be the judge of that.

      youve spent too much time eating the US propaganda and dont realize what free truly means. maybe you should spend some time in europe and see what truly free is. in france, its illegal to work more than 36 hours in a week. over there they actually try to take time to enjoy life, while over here we have a "live to work" mentality. its no wonder that their quality of life is a lot higher than ours

      August 14, 2011 at 5:40 am |
  16. Daniel

    Wow. That's a lot of venom in these comments. I guess none of you are actually Christian.

    Neither am I, but I wanted to post here just how great I think this venture is. Using laughter, comedy, lightheartedness to broach a subject that the commenters on this article have shown to be subject to bigotry, intolerance and hate.

    Has it never occurred to you that Muslims may want to live in the USA because we have religious freedom, and a secular state, and aren't a theocracy but a place where they can have their beliefs but live where all beliefs are welcome? That Muslims might be compassionate, tolerant, generous people?

    Shame on you all. I am disgusted to see such loathesome expressions of ignorant hate spewing from the mouths of my countrymen.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • IbelieveInTruth1

      Yes, they live here in America where tolerance is the norm, and our country's laws protect them from religious persecution, and our Police and US Military protect the peaceful Muslums and the rest of us from Muslum Terrorists every day and night while you sleep. If Muslums are insensitive to Americans or you want to make excuses for thier racism against Southerners, then please don't let the nice lady holding the torch of freedom on Ellis Island hit you on your butt while you are on your way out the door!

      August 14, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • RonnieLee

      It's the ideology. Study the history of Muhammad, the history of Islamic conquest, etc. Actually read the Quran, Sira, and Hadiths, and educate yourself about Islam itself. There is nothing wrong with looking at Muslims individually, and judging them according to their character. But, by allowing this ideology to spread, you must understand that you are putting future gnerations of non-Muslims at great peril. Just as they are, and have been in the Islamic world since AD622. I don't advocate violence, but people need to learn just what we are dealing with here.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:53 am |
  17. ytuque

    They went to the Deep South because it has a reputation for intolerance? If they were looking for intolerance, they should have visited an islamic state. May I suggest Saudi Arabia, Yemen, or Iran!

    August 14, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • RonnieLee

      I'm waiting for "the Jews are coming" comedy tour to hit Saudi Arabia. They're so tolerant there. I'm sure it will be a smash hit.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Farscape1

      So your excuse is "Hey at least we're not as intolerant as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, or Iran!"

      Really setting the bar high there aren't you?

      August 14, 2011 at 2:17 am |
    • LP

      Yeah, I just love how they want to defeat stereotypes so they went to a place that they assume is full of intolerant people. Great jobs there, guys. Just brilliant.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • nelselona

      Hit the nail right on the head

      August 14, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • YoureStupid

      @LP – what do you mean "assume"? the article clearly said theyre going to places where there were controversies involving muslims

      August 14, 2011 at 5:28 am |
    • iServe

      Listen genius. They went to the South to break those stereotypes that the South is intolerant. They wanted to prove that the stereotypes that the South was intolerant of others, "outsiders", was false. Maybe you should reread the article and review the video. And while doing so take your biased and bigotry out of it.

      August 14, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  18. RonnieLee

    I wonder how Molly Norris is doing these days. I bet she finds the Muslim comedy tour incredibly amusing as well...

    August 14, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  19. RonnieLee

    Let's ask the Copts in Egypt, blaspemers in Pakistan, apostates in, well anywhere, Buddhists in India, Christians in Sudan, etc, how funny Islam is. It's sooooo funny. I think "The Muslims are coming" probably doesn't make them laugh in the slightest.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  20. i hate christians, but really hate muslims

    okay, i'm out. gonna smoke a ciggy. keep the faith! unless it's an evil mind controlling 'let's kill everyone that doesn't believe in our faith' faiths. that is not faith, it's just godd**** stupid. i love everyone that loves back. i hate everyone that hates back. see how that works?

    August 14, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • Allah

      Hey, try e-cigarettes. They kick butt! No tar, smoke, ashes.
      Go to v2cigs.com and use my discount code 166017.

      Tell 'em Viper sent ya!!!!

      August 14, 2011 at 3:15 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.