A group of Muslim-American comedians is on a tour called “The Muslims are Coming,” visiting cities in the South, performing shows and meeting folks, all to counter stereotypes and eventually help Americans love Muslims.
The tour strategically started in Gainesville, Fla., the home of the Quran-burning Pastor Terry Jones, and Sunday night it reached Nashville, Tenn., according to the show’s website.
“We came to the South because it has this reputation of being intolerant,” CNN’s belief blog quoted co-producer of the show Negin Farsad as saying. “It has this stereotype of hating other groups, so we wanted to see. We have a feeling that they’re not actually uniformly sitting around hating Muslims.”
Besides, Farsad, who was recently named one of the 50 Funniest Women by the Huffington Post, the cast includes co-producer Dean Obeidallah, who performed with the recent Axis of Evil comedy tour, and comedians Maysoon Zayid and Omar Elba.
“We really wanted to make this tour a chance to reach out American to American, people of different faiths coming together, laughing together,” said Obeidallah, who wants the tour to start a candid dialogue about Muslim stereotypes. During a show in Lawrenceville, Ga., some stereotypes showed up.
“Is it true if a group of women get naked, that Muslim men must kill themselves?” the CNN blog quoted an audience member as asking.
The roving band intends to visit big cities, small towns, liberal enclaves, conservative hotbeds, rural unincorporated villages, and everything in between to explore the issue of Islamophobia, according to the website. “They’ll perform, meet the locals, and take the pulse of real Americans. What do we still have to work on and where have Muslims found acceptance? We’ll answer all these questions through the ever-poignant, and frankly more entertaining, lens of comedy.”
The tour’s goal is to interact with people from a wide range of perspectives on the issue of Islam and Islamophobia. “‘The Muslims are Coming’ alone cannot break down all the stereotypes – but it’s a step in the right direction – a funny, likeable step that is urgently needed.”
The tour will end in Tennessee, but the producers are making a documentary about “The Muslims are Coming.”
Zayid and Obeidallah will host another show titled, “Arabs Gone Wild,” in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia among other cities in September and October.
According to Council on American-Islamic Relations, there are around 7 million Muslims in America, which has about 1,200 mosques, both Sunni and Shi’a.
By the time the comedy tour is done, the performers and producers hope “Americans will love Muslims!” Of course, if God so wills, or “inshallah,” they say.