Political comedy is nothing new. But in a post 9/11-world, some young Muslim Americans are finding that comedy is one way to break down stereotypes and educate mainstream America about one of the most racially diverse religious groups in the U.S.
Comedian Dean Obeidallah, a New Jersey native whose father is Palestinian and mother Sicilian, told a small recent gathering in Washington that humor is a way to openly talk about important subjects on politics, religion, and current affairs. Obeidallah, an attorney-turned-comedian, performed in Comedy Central's Axis of Evil special. He is the coproducer of an upcoming documentary, The Muslims are Coming!
Obeidallah and a group of other comedians toured the Deep South—Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida—and hosted free events. The majority of their audience was white, he said. These comedians get their material from their own experiences or those of other Muslims in America. Similarly, other comedians have used their ethnic and religious background to bridge understanding of their communities and mainstream America--and get laughs while doing it. Allah Made Me Funny, the longest-running collective of Muslim comics, has toured more than 30 countries.