Muslim-American comedians Dean Obeidallah and Negin Farsad are on a mission. Actually, the first part of their mission is complete. Back in 2011, the two comics launched The Muslims Are Coming! Comedy Tour. The idea was to take misconceptions about American Muslims head on by doing a series of benefit concerts throughout the deep South and midwestern United States. The comics were all Muslims, including Obeidallah, Farsad, Aron Kader and Omar Elba.
The tour pulled no punches. Their first headliner was in Gainesville, Florida, where infamous Islamophobic Pastor Terry Jones leads his flock. (Read our interview with Jones.) They also filmed in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where local residents are in an uproar over a proposed mosque. But in order to complete their stated mission to combat Islamophobia, Obeidallah and Farsad have to finish the documentary they shot about the tour. And they’re short about $40,000.
Middle East Voices caught up with Farsad and Obeidallah recently at the Arab American Institute’s annual Kahlil Jibran Spirit of Humanity Awards, where they received special recognition for their initiative. The project is being hosted on Kickstarter’s website in order to crowdsource the funding the filmmakers say is needed to complete editing and get the film into theaters or on television.
Check out some of the best clips from American Muslim comics below and vote on which comic you think is funniest.
Davin Hutchins is Consulting Editor of Middle East Voices. Hutchins brings 17 years of journalism experience to VOA after working with media organizations such as CNN, Tech TV, Huffington Post and PBS. He specializes in news, documentaries and new media with an emphasis on international social issues, media training and online delivery platforms. Hutchins lived five years in the Middle East and covers the dynamic changes that have been triggered by the Arab Spring.