Comedians and film co-directors Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah are taking on one of present-day politics’ most sensitive subjects head-on, hoping laughter really can overcome all — including Islamophobia.
But then they take potshots at key conservatives and Fox News, characterizing those with dissenting views of radical Islam as ignorant.
They’re co-directors of “The Muslims Are Coming!” The movie basically tracks Muslim-American stand-up comics as they appear and perform in venues around the nation, in the face of sometimes harsh stereotypes.
“Around the election of Barack Obama and the controversy regarding a mosque near the World Trade Center, we were both kind of struck to the extent to which being Muslim was such an accusation,” Mr. Farsad said, as Politico reported. “And I think that it continues for some people five years later.”
His co-director said their hope is to “counter those who are preaching hate and those who don’t know about Muslims.”
“I think comedy is a great vehicle to reach out to people,” Mr. Obeidallah said in the Politico article.
And Mr. Farsad added: “It just disarms people. It stops them in their tracks.”
The film, which opens Sept. 12, stars Jon Stewart, Colin Quinn, Lewis Black, Janeane Garofalo and Aasif Mandyi, among others.
Mr. Farsad and Mr. Obeidallah are working with Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim elected to serve in Congress, to bring a special screening to Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, they say, Congress could use more like Mr. Ellison — and far fewer like former Rep. Allen B. West and his ilk.
“From my point of view, we had comments that were completely irresponsible from Michele Bachmann to Louis Gohmert to Joe Walsh to Allen West,” Mr. Obeidallah said in Politico report. “I believe overwhelmingly that people are open-minded in this country and tolerant and want to learn about other cultures. Yet, some, for their own political agenda, both demonize Muslims, like they demonized Jews in the past or Catholics, and fear monger for political points to make it a political wedge issue.”
Mr. Farsad then took a shot at Fox News, characterizing the cable news station as unfairly and inaccurately portraying Muslims.
“We wanted to reach people that were like, ‘I read, I heard on Fox News that Muslims are totally violent!’ And so we wanted to reach that person because that person is a reasonable person, they just don’t have that much access to information,” Mr. Farsad said, as Politico reported. “They’re flooded with negative images of Muslims walking in the desert with crusty faces. … They’re not given any other information, and so those are the people we want to reach.”