A new documentary is pushing the current norms related to the perception of Muslims in America, bringing a new perspective to the world's second largest religion for living in traditional "red states."
The documentary, "The Muslims Are Coming," was created by Negin Farsad, an Iranian-American, and Dean Obeidallah, of Palestinian-Italian roots. It shows what happens when Muslim comedians use humor to reach people in places in America that have been known to have had previous conflicts with religious and ethnic minorities such as Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Arizona, Utah and Idaho.
The documentary follows the comedians as they promote their first show at a Columbus, Ga., gun show. They organize a "Come Bowl With a Muslim Night," in Lawrenceville, Ga. The comedians also create a impromptu game called "Name That Religion" with an ordained minister in downtown Birmingham. They also debate the issue of scriptural literalism with an official from the American Family Association in Tupelo, Miss.
"We wanted to create an environment where people felt comfortable," said Dean Obeidallah, Farsad's comedian colleague. "We didn't want people to think they were walking into an argument."
The film was created to speak out against anti-Muslim bias and growing misunderstanding in America. Farsad and Obeidallah started the project in 2011.
"It was alarming to me that being a Muslim became an accusation," Farsad said.
The film features Jon Stewart, Janeane Garofalo, Lewis Black, Rachel Maddow and Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress.
The documentary also features negative and sometimes Islamophobic comments made by public figures such as Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Pat Robertson and Donald Trump.
The filmed was first screened in Chicago on Sept. 16, but also be screened in Los Angeles; Seattle; New York; Piscataway, N.J.; Boston; Denver; and Santa Ana, Calif. On Sept. 24.
WARNING: Contains explicit language.