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. John


    August 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  2. humanbeing

    its so funny...we don't talk anymore...

    August 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  3. American-me

    One in 95 people in America is a muslim and 22% of the world total population is muslim. Say whatyou want we are not going anywhere. We have a riight to live free and live free of prjudice in our land which is America.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • bud

      American Lesson #1: There is no law against prejudice.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  4. higher reason

    The closet thing too truth on this planet is um...Doubt !

    August 14, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  5. 4thhorseman

    Here are a few Arabic to English translations of the Qur’an’s Sura's.....

    Make War on the Unbelievers... Muslims are to continue fighting unbelievers until the religion of Islam is dominant everywhere (8:39). Make war on the unbelievers and treat them harshly. Hell is their unhappy journey’s end (9:73, 66:9).

    Break Treaties... Muslims may break their treaties with unbelievers if they feel that the infidels are being treacherous. Unbelievers will never get the better of Muslims. They should be attacked with such a mighty force that it frightens them, but if they want to surrender, then make peace (8:57-61).

    Kill the Idolaters ... Once a holiday from war is ended, Muslims are to kill the idol worshipers wherever they find them. They are to capture them, besiege them and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they convert, pray and give alms then they will be allowed to live (9:5).

    Fight against Everyone ...Muslims, fight everyone who reject Islam, even against Christians and Jews who have rejected Islam, until they pay regular financial tribute with willing submission and feel themselves completely subjected to their Islamic conquerors (9:29).

    Defeat All Religions ... Allah sent Mohammed with the true religion so that it may prevail over all other religions (9:33).

    August 14, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      I confirm this comment. Indeed, Muhammad commanded to murder guiltless people.

      (I have read the whole Koran.)

      August 14, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • frontgate

      Aaahhhh, and whose translation is this?

      August 14, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Matthew

      They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB

      August 14, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Peter

      Isn't that the same way Europe became Christian?

      August 14, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • fritz

      Don't forget 'The Cow' 2.216. (Second surah) That's the ayat that really scares me.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Mohammad

      The Quran is the literal word of God and corrects many of the inaccuracies that humans injected in the Bible and Torah over time. There are enough given in the Koran for any one with an open mind to believe but it leaves a small gap for you to make that leap of faith. Just open it randomly and see what God has to say to you.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • bud

      Sounds like the very definition of terrorist

      August 14, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  6. wendy5

    canadian schools arnt laughing right now with their bs and the their religeon in the schools; where are the athiests they only fight against chriatian religeon or something; major fights and protests getting very heated;

    August 14, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • frontgate

      say what?

      August 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • asrael

      Let's hear it for semi-literate posts...!

      August 14, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  7. Veritas

    Curious how your god hates all the same people you do...

    August 14, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • asrael

      God made me do it...

      August 14, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  8. wendy5

    if they denounce sharia law welcome; but they are trying and suceeding in having it implimented; go look up muslim religeon in canadian schools; going on right now; they want pray for their little b astards in the schools really bad here right now

    August 14, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Jenna

      If you don't know what you are talking about then don't open your uneducated mouth. You don't know what is going on in Canada so don't pretend you do. There is nothing of what you speak of so stop trying to pull other countries into your religious drama.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • DDM

      Agree. They are implementing some of that BS in USA, too – in schools, on the job, etc. They lie that their religion REQUIRES stuff, when it does not. Prayer times can be changed, pork can be eaten rather than starve, they can forgo being covered, but they are allowed to lie (taqiyya) and do everything to fool the infidels and advance Islam/Sharia Law.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • frontgate

      What you describe sounds more like southern baptists.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  9. Bob in Pa

    Okay, so when are thes do gooders going to condem and go after the culprits in their religion ?
    I think it would only make sense that if they are so decent and peace loving that the church would split and form its own brand as christianity did, Until that time don't call me racist or anything else. Get your own house in order, then you can come make fun of me and mine.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  10. bluedog16

    From Southern AL: No thanks, please stay away. We have as much tolerance for this as New Yorkers would....zero.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • bud

      Yes, they like to blame the South but ignore the 1860s New York draft riots where blacks were hung and black orphanages burned. Segregation is still in effect in Northern cities. Most whites there don't associate with blacks except to have their picture taken with them on MLK day. I remember the 1970s where all the liberals had a token black friend. Everyone knew it was a farce including the black friend but everyone played along. They claim it is racist to use the "n-word" (how stupid) but use it themselves. They make fun of other blacks but it's off limits to whites. Bring your comedy show, let CNN get a couple of good sound bites from the guy with the "South's Gonna Rise Agin" hat. Then GTFO

      August 14, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  11. Steve T. Wisenhimer

    Look at all the "Christian" African countries killing and destroying each other for decades will millions being massacred with little to no media attention they are Christian too? So why are not the other African Christians rising up to stop this?

    August 14, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • bud

      Where are the Muslims denouncing suicide bombers?

      August 14, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  12. bud

    Why do so many Muslims hate Americans? We love Muslims. They bombed the World Trade Center. Twice. They are the reason TSA does those ridiculous searches. They do not condemn Muslim suicide bombers. They build mosques where it will pis* off the most Americans. We love Muslims. Most are Arabs and we know like everyone else that "if we must have enemies, thank God they are Arabs"

    August 14, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • unknown

      Actually, non-Arabs form the majority of Muslims. Just goes to show that if you are ignorant on a subject, keep your yap shut unless you want to experience a public humiliation on cyberspace.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  13. ec pirelli

    Christianity is every bit as militant as Islam, or Judaism for that matter. Organized religion was invented by the power elite to control the masses, and when people of any faith use it to channel unresolved dysfunctional baggage, or twist it to meet psychotic homicidal urges then Houston we have a problem.

    August 14, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • LRoy

      May I recommend Little Mosque on the Prairie from our beloved Canadian neighbors up north.

      August 14, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • bud

      Yo, Houston has a problem..and Atlanta...and Philadelphia..and

      August 14, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  14. AL

    jesus taught us to love your enemy not behead them. I dont hate muslims i just dont trust them BECAUSE THEY ARE INTOLERANT. THEY WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD TO THEIR STANDARDS WITH NO EXEPTIONS. OR YOUR DEAD

    August 14, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      I completely agree with you. You got it!

      Which denomination do you belong to?

      August 14, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Corey

      This is EXTREMELY incorrect. I do not personally believe in organized religion, but I respect your faith and your opinion. Your statement however, shows a lack of understanding about Islam as one of the three branches of the Judeo-Christian Islamic "master faith" of the west. Do some research beyond the propaganda. Don't taint your ancient Christian faith with ignorance and hypocrisy.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • stan

      I think this is exactly one of the stereotypes they're trying to combat

      August 14, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      You are a heresiarch like Marcion, Arius, Muhammad and the pope.

      Get lost!

      People like you catapult us back to the Middle Ages!

      August 14, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Wayne

      You are confusing muslims with the Tea Party.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Mohammad

      I must have missed what Christian missionaries are doing all over the world then! At least Islam spreads by choice and not in exchange of food stamps like Christian missionaries do in Africa. Islam is Abraham's, Jesus and Moses religion and makes sense, reading the Quran will leave no doubt in your head, you should try that. Roughly twenty thousands Americans embrace it here in the US on a yearly basis and 70% of them are woman (conservatively speaking).

      August 14, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Appleseed

      Really? And there is no history of Christianity's intolerance of other religions? Christian's didn't slaughter Pagans? I wonder how many Native American's now living in a Christian Nation feel the same way about this statement " THEY WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD TO THEIR STANDARDS WITH NO EXEPTIONS. OR YOUR DEAD" Christianity would never force their standards on the world. I guess every inquisition was just a misunderstanding. Just like "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Gods don't kill people, man made religions kill people.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      What about that?:

      Sura 9: Verse 29 of the Koran:

      Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.
      ( سورة التوبة , At-Taubah, Chapter #9, Verse #29)

      Note: People of the Scripture are Jews and Christians. In Muhammad's eyes people, not believing in Allah and the Last Day, are Jews and Christians. Messenger means Muhammad. Religion of Truth means Islam.

      Conclusion: Muhammad commands war against Jews and Christians!

      August 14, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Mohammad

      @Rainer Braendlein This chapter was revealed at a time of war. At a time when the Roman and Persian empires were not allowing free practice of Islam. Always put the context when you quote otherwise there is little difference between you and OBL. Read verse 4 of the same chapter which demands peace for those who seek it. And look at other chapters with open mind to see a holistic picture of the book. At this time and age where Muslims can practice their religion freely and preach it this verse no longer applies.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  15. Dave

    Take this show to NYC and see how many "tolerant" New Yorkers line the sidewalk in protest!

    August 14, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  16. Stymie99

    Where were these Muslim comics when we really needed them? For example, the Islamic Center mosque should be allowed to be constructed at Ground Zero. However, it is really, really stupid and insensitive for Muslims to do this. Where were our Muslim american friends when we needed them to stand up and speak out against this stupid decision?? Again, our government and our laws should allow this, but there should have been a really loud Muslim voice of opposition and public protest. On while I'm at at, why are our Muslim American friends so silent when it comes to 9/11 and the hundreds of other terrorist acts aimed at America? Muslim Americans, we need you to speak up about these issues, just like you are speaking out against ignorant non-Muslim Americans.

    August 14, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  17. BillyWa

    I've lived in the Northeast, the deep South and now the Northwest US. There is a prevalent stereotype advanced by others that Southerners are intolerant racist rednecks. The folks that express this are usually the ones who live in 90+% white areas who think they aren't racist because they are nice to the two or three minorities they come in to contact with during the week. These folks should live in an area where there are at least 30 to 50% minorities at school, work, in the neighborhood or stores and then one can tell whether you are tolerant of minorities.

    August 14, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Dave

      So true.

      August 14, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • tewrobert

      A-men brother. Nothing like experience

      August 14, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  18. erich2112x

    The scene in 'Tombstone' where they all gather at the Oriental Saloon to watch the traveling show, comes to mind.

    August 14, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • GodIsForImbeciles

      Indeed! "Professor Gillman! I seen him in Bisby. He catches stuff."

      August 14, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  19. Matt

    A fantastic idea. I'm interested to see how it works out.

    August 14, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  20. Bill, NY

    I didn't know Muslims were allowed to have a sense of humor. Seems like they don't, because if you make a joke about them or their religion they will either want you beheaded or blown up. Nothing funny there.

    August 14, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • David Liao

      This article is proof to the contrary.

      August 14, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Matt

      You need to separate a small minority of fanatics from the population at large, after all the same could be said of Christians if only basing one's opinion off the small minority of a few Presidential Candidate hopefuls.

      August 14, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Stymie99

      Yes, all religions have their lunatic fringe fanatics. In today's world, there are - simply - a lot more Muslim fanatics than there are Christian or Jewish fanatics. Plus, Christian fanatics tend to do stuff like burn the Quran and draw pictures of Mohammed. Islamic fanatics tend to behead people, blow-up buildings, throw acid in the faces of women, etc. Plus, our society would quickly rise up and shout down Christian or Jewish fanatics if they ever got violent. Muslim societies don't really do this. Not really equivalent, is it?

      August 14, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Rob J. Chasimier

      you speak for all Muslims? so with your generalization does that mean all Americans are ignorant, greedy, selfish, lazy? I don't think so! People like you give the rest of Americans a bad name!

      August 14, 2011 at 10:54 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.