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. Akbar

    All I want to know is: Who or what organization is funding this comedy tour?

    August 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Keith


      August 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  2. John

    CNN this whole Islamaphobia campaign is silly and has to stop. Sure there ignorant people here as there are in other countries, but why don't you start a Christianaphobia campaign? I can't tell you how many times as a Christian people in the USA have said hateful things to me. But when you say hateful things about Christianity it is "speaking your opinion," but if somebody says hateful things about Islam they are an "ignorant bigot."

    August 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      Never in history Islam was so supported by the mass media like today! A high BBC-boss is Muslim!


      The German mass media reported that an insane Christian (Breivik) had murdered 77 Muslims (in fact an insane Nazi has murdered 77 people and the most of them were Christians).

      August 14, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Jarrod

      Such is the fact when your whole country is outsourced overseas. Saudi Arabia is paying for and an employing a lot of college professors to give a pro-Islamic spin to education. Lot's a Arab countries are funding small projects and charities to give Islam and better image. The fact of the matter is that is how France and England started out a decade ago and now they can't deal with the world of problems that snuck in their back door. The world embraced Christianity centuries ago and paid a harsh price. It will now welcome Islam with the smile tot he face and helping hand only to be reigned in when they have enough control. Religion needs to stay out of government and schools but apparently it only applies to select religions.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • AB

      Hateful? Or just truthful. It seems to me that Christians enjoy favored status in this country. If you're anything else, you're seen as inferior.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  3. Abu Yusuf

    I would take harrasement from the kuffar any day in place of Muslims acting like disbelievers trying to appease the "ignoarant" Americans. The kuffar will never be pleased with Muslims until they change their religion to kufr. They would rather see the Muslims beome cow wirshippers/pagans/Hindus etc. than stick to their religion of absolute monotheism. So I say Muslims need to become more strong in their religion and ignore the filthy kuffar hate and lies.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      Kuffar means disbeliever and kufr means disbelief.

      Abu Yusuf, did you yet know that God has a partner and God is three.

      How do you see?

      August 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  4. John


    August 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  5. God's child

    "Christianity, Muslims, Buddhists,etc. God works in multiplication, not division. He simply uses different factors. We buy into the lie that tells us otherwise. We practice religion and speak of the love these religions promote. Shouldn't it be the other way around? What is last is first. Just a thought." Ryan Morris

    August 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Kevin

      you don't see Buddhists condemning of religions to hell do you? First of all if you want to make a point do some research. Buddhists don't believe in a "God" and are more peaceful and philosophical people then Christians.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • God's child

      @Kevin. It was just a theory, but based on your comment, you have proven my theory. Your comment creates a further division. Your curse has become my blessing. Thank you.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • God's child

      @Kevin. It was just a theory. A theory is only until it is proven that it is no longer a theory but a fact. You have proven my theory. Your comment creates a further division. Your curse has become my blessing and the truth will set everyone free. Thank you.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • God's child

      A theory is only a theory until it is proven. It then becomes fact or the Truth. The truth will set us all free.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      I'm sorry to say that there have also been Buddhist motivated ethic cleansing and mass murder too. For example the Sinhala Buddisht nationalists. Buddhism is not pacifist. The earliest Buddhists in India would enter Hindu temples, like Tamilnadu, and destroy images of Shiva.

      Of course the religion is far more peaceful than many others.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  6. Bozee

    Tea-bagger..... You, your, & you're... Firgure it out before you share your opinions because no one cares what's said if you're an idiot.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Kyle G.

      I've seen so many lib making the same error...what's your point?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • daddy

      Technically, it should be "and", and not "&". The "&" symbol is only used in formal address, such as proper names and businesses.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Jarrod

      Let's get all self-righteous- you grammar troll.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Brian Macker

      Explain to us exactly what ..... means in the English language. Are you so stupid as to think that only so called "tea-baggers" make typos? What about your use of a hypen between the words tea and bagger? That's incorrect usage. It should either be tea bagger or teabagger. Not to mention that you are acting like some inbred bigot yourself by referring to others with a derogatory name, as if that nullifies what they have to say. Like some foaming at the mouth bigot using any of a number of ethnic or racial slurs.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  7. GwT

    You know, it's really interesting to observe the comments for this column that point out exactly why these comedians chose to do what they've done.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Bozee


      August 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • StephensB

      Yup , Like also

      August 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • NMStan

      so true!

      August 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  8. Amused

    Religion is God's little idea to make us more interesting to watch... Mankind has come far in the last 6000 years (LOL) but we have so much further to evolve....if there is such a crazy thing!

    August 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  9. Mohammad

    Apparently you haven't been there before, God knows how many Christian TV Stations are broadcasting 24/7 in the middle east freely. Name one channel here that does the same for Muslims? Islam is spreading because it's a better product, like an F-22 raptor vs T-28.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Mohammad

      That was in response to people saying why can't we do the same in the Middle East. These people are not preaching Islam they are fighting islamophobes thru comedy. Any one can do the exact same thing in the Muslim world except there is no need. the intolerance is here where Christians and Jews practices their religion freely for thousands of years there. Why do you think Church of the Holy Sepulchre is still standing in the same city where crusaders massacred most of the Muslim population long after Muslims returned the city. Talking about ground zero and who is tolerant and who is not!

      August 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Neeneko

      To people who believe everyone should be Christian, the two are one in the same. Teaching not to stereotype, demonize, or hate groups are, to them, equivalent to trying to convert people.... esp if conversion is their own goal.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • The Guy

      The F-22 project was cancelled. Bad analogy

      August 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Bobby

      Mohammed, You are such a liar. So typical of you islamic propagandists. Travelers to Saudi Arabia must have their bibles confiscated and destroyed at the airport. Same rules in Yemen, Syria, etc. You want people to believe you when you say there is freedom of religion in Muslim diminated countries. What a blasphemer you are.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Jarrod

      Hmmmmmm and we still see Christians and Jews being targeted for being nothing more than being one or the other.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  10. Vaman

    hey tea-bagger, you need to learn how to respect people and other faiths. you are just a red nick ignorant peace of garbage from south. You have no value for yourself, others nor the country. Learn how to tolerate!

    August 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Darkhorserunning

      You mean like the same kind of tolerance you're showing?

      August 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  11. RC

    I live in Lawrenceville. I didn't see this advertised at all. It would explain why the mosque parking lot was unusually crowded on a weekday night though.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  12. Dam

    Whats the similarity between the so called prophets Mohamed and Warren Jeffs? Hint – Something to do with 6 yr olds.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Dan

      I am with you, If he has done that today, M would be spending his time in Jail.... what ignorant Muslims and they worship him? May be they should start worshiping Warren Jeff too...

      August 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  13. joe jones

    Ahh, did you notice nobody was laughing?

    Comedy is supposed to be funny not apologetic.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  14. jim

    I think it would be hysterical. It shows a different side. Besides there is a lot of material for comedy there.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  15. Joe Shmid

    The best thing you can do to change muslim stereotypes is to STOP STRAPPING BOMBS AND YOUR BACKS TO KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE. that would help alot actually.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Yuri

      I agree Joe.
      Strapping bombs on kids is taught by elders and surviving parents are praised for their childrens deaths. Once we all conclude that there is no God (you know, like Mother Theresa did before she died), things will get better, except for the parents of suicide bombers, then their world will be unbearable becasue of their past idiotic pride in having birthed a murderer.
      With any "group", we should all refer to them as two separate groups, i.e. "Good Catholics, bad Catholics", "Good Muslims, bad Muslims", "Good Buddhists, slightly less good Buddhists", after all, Buddhists move the worms before they dig a trench because no living creature shall be harmed by a real Buddhist.
      The human brain is weak, so easy to sway, just mention God or Allah and give us a weapon. (Catholics used the name Allah up to the 15th century).

      August 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  16. JNOnSTL

    Whose stereotypes are really being discussed here: the Muslims', or the Deep South?

    August 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    Once upon a time an Arabic Beduin asked Muhammad: "What must I do, in order to get into heaven?"

    Muhammad's answer: Slay Jews and Christians!


    Sura 9: Verse 111 of the Koran:

    Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.
    ( سورة التوبة , At-Taubah, Chapter #9, Verse #111)

    Note: Believers means Muslims. Garden means heaven.

    Without limit: Muhammad claims that the gospel would command to slay guiltless people. Muhammad was very "loveable".

    August 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • SAWolf

      Thats what happens when you build a religion around an illiterate ,child molester.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Rick Nelson

      Be open minded and do a search on violence in the bible. You'll be able to find similar passages where killing unbelievers is demanded by god. Perhaps then you'll understand that religion is the root of most wars and persecution.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • GwT

      Aaannnnnnnd that's different from what's in the Bible how?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Jacx

      As a christian myself....i got to ask, when you type stuff like that, do you feel like a complete dick when you then suddenly think of the crusades?

      or do we just conveniently ignore that?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Rick Nelson


      The wars of Israel were holy, because they had a real mandate of God (like today US-soldiers have a mandate to kill the Taleban).

      The wars of Israel were legitimate.

      In contrast the Muslim conquests were unholy, wicked, wrong and evil. They had no divine mandate. Muhammad, their warlord, had just made-up alleged divine commands. Muhammad was just a cunning warrior or general. He knew that religious mania could bolster the Arabic tribes. By his wicked religion Muhammad united and bolstered the Arabs for a war against the Christian Empire Byzantium.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      The Bible was not written to motivate people for aggressive war. The Bible comprises the message that God wants to deliver sinners. Deliverance is the essence of the Bible. The Bible is the very book of LOVE.

      In contrast the Koran was made-up by Muhammad to unite the Arabs for a war against the Christian Empire. The Koran offers no way to God, excepted you would call it a way that Muhammad commands to murder Jews and Christians, in order to get into heaven.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  18. joe

    I want to do a comedy tour in saudi arabia and pakistan because of their intolerance. I want to call it "mohammed is a weiner tour."

    August 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Jim

      Yea "Joe" and see how far you can get with a "Mohammed is a wiener tour." in their country
      let alone a cartoon character of Mohammed or a South Park version without death threats to you and your family.
      These particular people call themselves "moderate Muslims". This is the subtle step to the road of domination and leads as history's track record has proven again and again and again that total intolerance to all non-Muslim peoples, beliefs and ways are threaten, taxed or out lawed. Don't let these people fool you.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  19. Tea-bagger

    Okay, I would NOT pay a penny or for that matter see this Comedy tour for free ! It 's a bunch of idiots acting like they are Americanized and the JOKE IS ON THE AMERICANS ! Don't pay to watch these fools America !

    August 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • My Two Cents

      Tea-bagger: When speaking of ignorance it doesn't help when you do not know how to write using the English language. I believe you meant: You're a joke, as in You are a joke, as opposed to "Your a joke". Just a word of advice don't call someone ignorant when YOUR own post shows you to be the ignorant one.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Rick Nelson

      Yep, why make any attempt to dispel your prejudices and bigotry? You're obviously a moron who believes in murdering innocent people. Do you have any relatives from Germany that were adults during the 30's and 40's that you may have inherited bad habits from?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Rick Nelson

      In fact, it's people like you that should be hunted like rabid dogs and dealt with in the harshest of manners.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  20. J.W

    We need more muslims in America. We should propose a trade sending 1 million conservatives to the Middle East for 1 Million Muslims

    August 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Tea-bagger

      WOW your a HUGE A-WHOLE ! Why don't YOU and your family move to the MIDDLE EAST instead ? Send all you Liberal-tards to the Middle East instead, that could solve the worlds problems. If you like America, your free to leave and never come back, btw, take all the A-wholes including Obama with you too ! WOW what a angry lib you are ! LOL Your a joke, are you on tour with these folks ? I think your the funniest of them all, of course and ignorant !

      August 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • SAWolf

      Yeah right, these ,"people", who believe that if I don't think like them then I'm an apostate and it is their duty to murder me.Just observe interfaces between mooslims and any other culture on this planet, conflict. The ONLY thing mooslims are good for is target practice

      August 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • JW

      Start with the Tea Party, since they seem to have the most to learn?

      August 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Rick Nelson

      That's a very creative idea! I'm for it. T people by definition are intolerant and un-American. Trading them for people that seek freedom is a good idea!

      August 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Sinner_in_a_Red_State

      There is no need to do any sort of trade. The US has an estimated 7 million Muslim citizens. Islam is the fasted growing religion across the United States, in line to have more followers than Judaism very shortly. Doing a trade of Middle Eastern Muslims would be a rather bad idea as their version of Islam (mostly pushed by Saudi Arabia) doesn't fit well in US culture. Turkish or Indonesian Muslims adherence to Islam is more in line with secularist allowances. But what we should really exchange are US Christians for European ones. Less crazy and they practice their religion without trying to force it on everyone else around them. Islam isn't a problem – Christianity is.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Jarrod

      That's what an ex-patriot would say. They would sell out their own country and countrymen in favor of no opposition and their ideals.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Jarrod

      @Sinner_in_a_Red_State of course they would have more followers than Judaism. Judaism doesn't actively convert. They pride themselves in being small.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:30 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.