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. Plexie

    Just some of today's CNN headlines;
    At least 19 dead in attack in Afghan attack
    Bomb flattens Pakistan hotel
    Opposition group: 21 dead after Syrian naval forces shell port city

    Yes, please come to the intolerant South of the U.S.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Saima Khan

      "Police charge 2 with murder in hit-and-run deaths during British riots,"
      "Suspect charged with murder in Missouri girl's disappearance,"
      "Norway attack suspect returns to scene of shooting,"
      I would copy and paste more from BBC, huffington post and others but needless to say CNN only covers Muslim countries...oh and all this countries that you mentioned are those in which the US decided to poke it's nose into. Every single Muslim country was fine before the US intervened. Perhaps if they mind their own business and concentrate on the US they could get jobs back, not be in a recession twice in less then 5 years, not be in war with 3 countries at once.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  2. robert arnold

    First, the issue of trust toward American Muslims was created my the Jihadists because they said that they would deliberately fit in to our society while ultimately planning to overthrow the US from within. So, is the comedy act for real or is it genuine? Seems bigoted but who made the rules of engagement here? I apologize but it's hard to laugh after thirty dead seals come home.Do you comedians have any jokes for that?

    August 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • J.W

      They were at war. People die in wars. The best thing to do is bring all the troops home.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Saima Khan

      Then perhaps all the troops can come home!!!! When Muslims die its "casualties of war," but when Americans die its murder? Nice.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • justan opinion

      So 30 soldiers get shot down from the sky, and on the way down, one of them says "I should have thought for myself and realized that my country is just as bad as the enemy's it has created. If I did that, I would have never left my family to fight for the ignorant rednecks back home in 'Merica."

      August 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  3. BHS

    Their punchlines really bring down the house.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  4. justan opinion

    The thing to remember is these people are a generation away from roaming the desert on camels.now they want to change the usa.screw them and alla

    August 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • justan opinion

      wow, I just reread what I wrote. Sorry, I am an idiot.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  5. herbert juarez

    Muslim cave man?
    Ali Oop

    August 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  6. Betsy Ross

    "Cultural tolerance"....ugh, when I hear that my stomach just turns. Let's go to all muslem nations and teach them some "cultural tolerance". I'll tolerate them when they stop killing Americans.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Betsy Ross

      My stomach turns because I ate come Muslim protein

      August 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • J.W

      you are stupid

      August 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  7. Darkhorserunning

    Islam is not prophesied in the bible. It is a false religion that is a dead end. God told Abraham not to be concerned about Ismael for "although he will not be chosen, he will be a leader of a great nation. But they will be a donkey amongest men." That sums up Islam pretty well. People may not like Jews or Christians, but the fact is Jews are the chosen ones and Christianity fulfills the prophecy of the Bible through Jesus Christ. Islam does nothing but divide nations and gives its mindless followers license to kill non believers.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • badlobbyist

      Darkhorserunning..."the fact is Jews are the chosen people...." FACT?!?! Like the FACT that blond haired, blue eyed people are the master race?!?! FACT!?!?!
      You religious types scare me to death. When you spew this nonsense Babel and think that it is real you end up creating divisions where there were none. You create problems and conflict when it totally un-necessary. All because you are scared. Scared of the un-known and scared of people who do not think as you do.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  8. Rosstrex

    Maybe they can start the routine with lots of laughs created by the religion of peace in just the last three days. I know Muslims must find this funny.... the rest of us not so much.

    2011.08.13 (Baghdad, Iraq) – A Shiite cleric is gunned down by Religion of Peace rivals.
    2011.08.12 (Baghdad, Iraq) – Terrorists bomb a cafe, killing two Iraqis.
    2011.08.12 (Khasavyurt, Dagestan) – Two civilians are murdered by Muslim 'separatists' wielding machine-guns.
    2011.08.12 (Peshawar, Pakistan) – Three guards escorting prisoners for medical attention are cut down by Taliban gunmen.
    2011.08.11 (Tirah Valley, Pakistan) – Three women and two children are dismantled by a militant bomb attack on their home.
    2011.08.11 (Ramadi, Iraq) – 'Insurgents' kill three Iraqis in their home with two bombs.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Brandon

      and those are just the ones the media felt like reporting

      August 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Stephanie Anne

      I find it hilarious. Americans dying by the hands of fake terrorists. Funny stuff

      August 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  9. Lydia

    The only people going to this though are the people that do believe humans can peacefully coexist.

    They should go into schools and educate people about cultural tolerance before racist parents brain wash their children. But since it focuses on Islam it would probably be bared because of separation of church and state. If they did skits about pure cultural differences it might work though. Unfortunately parents will still keep their children home that day and act like public schools have made a deal with the devil to corrupt their children when the parents themselves don't realize the messages of hate they're installing in their children of their own accord.

    I do applaud these people's efforts though, and hope that through laughs, love, and meaningful discussion, slowly people will learn to realize we're not really all that different.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Brandon

      I disagree, I think those are the exact people who will not attend

      August 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  10. herbert juarez

    Meanwhile ,back at the mosque,Abdul has cleverly disguised himself as a door,Akmed comes along and shoots his knob off!

    August 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  11. Alan


    August 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  12. AQ

    If only the rest of the country would take on the racist south. To the idiot who stated there are just as many in the north and west... yes, there are racists there but it is not an accepted practice unlike the south where being a Klan member is a badge of honor. Moron. You must be from the south.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Alan

      Actually the klans headquarters was in the Midwest...

      August 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Dave D

      I am from the south, and I'm not a racist, nor do I know anyone who is. Your overgeneralizations make you look like the moron, and a hypocrite, since you preach tolerance and then blindly categorize an entire region as racists. Tool.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • junaid

      im pretty sure that the midwest has a south also...

      August 14, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • petka

      Can we just stop stereotyping? Saying that southerners are inherently racist isn't any better than saying Muslims are inherently violent. Maybe if we stop all the blind generalizations, we can turn this ongoing vitriol spew-fest about race into a productive conversation. And that's just what this born and bred southerner thinks needs to happen.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Solbro

      "Badge of Honor" to be in the klan? Methinks you know nothing about the South buddy. How ironic that you accuse people in the South of being ignorant, when you so eagerly swallow such stereotypes. Educate yourself. Oh sorry, I'm from the south, what I REALLY meant was "Edumacate yerself, heeyuck!" 🙂

      August 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  13. Dave D

    What a POS article. The south has just as many racists as the north east and west. Good job at trying to promote your tolerance CNN. In reality, this is a political piece and an attack on the south, not a feel good piece about muslim comedians.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  14. The Mosque of Zorro

    A funny thing happened on the way to the Land of the Infidels....

    August 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  15. Plexie

    Please come to Afghanistan Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  16. Mom2012

    Thank Allah for you guys! God, too. And the Creator! The I Ching says "the only way to fight evil is to make energetic progress towards the good". This is the challenge for all of us.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  17. Nodack

    Good for them. Great idea. I hope they brought enough security though.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  18. John Obrien

    Is it just me or is this planet regressing back to the middle ages?

    August 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Gibberwocky

      You're assuming progress since the middle ages. Read some recent history; the last two – three hundred years haven't really been models of tolerance.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  19. SCAtheist

    Please come to South Carolina

    August 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  20. Plexie

    Maybe they should take their tour to Afghanistan and Pakistan, hear there is some intolerance there as well.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Plexie

      I am an ignorant hillbilly

      August 14, 2011 at 1:59 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.