Archive for Coexist

Comedians looking for laughs in Muslim comedy tour

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2011 by loonwatch

Comedians looking for laughs in Muslim comedy tour

By Kirk Honeycutt

Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:14pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – So a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim walk into a bar. The bartender turns around and says, “What is this … a joke?”

Yes, it is a joke but some people would wonder what a Muslim is doing in a bar and how he could possibly be involved in a joke. Because as far as many Americans are concerned, the words “Muslim” and “humor” don’t belong in the same sentence.

Which is where Ahmed Ahmed’s “Just Like Us,” which opened Friday in limited release, comes in. Ahmed is a stand-up comic in the

U.S. and, yes, he is an Egyptian-born Muslim. On a recent swing through the Middle East with a clutch of fellow comics, some of whom are also Arabs, he took along a camera crew to document to fact that Muslims can tell damn good jokes about themselves and that other Muslims will laugh uproariously.

The movie is fast, funny and light on its feet, dipping less into politics or religion than into cultural quirks and characteristics. For instance: An Arab invented the original mechanical clock, which is odd since Arabs are never on time. Bu-dah-bum. You get the idea.

One might complain that Ahmed and his Comedy Arabic Tour hit the most liberal ports-of-call in the Middle East — Dubai, that international center of business and trade in the United Arabs Emirates; Beirut, Lebanon, the “Paris of the East”; and Egypt, the “Hollywood of the Arab world.”

Ah, but the comics also gave an underground concert in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where no public entertainment is allowed, religious police are everywhere and they can’t even enter the country as entertainers but as “consultants.” How in the world did they get away with it? That may have been another documentary in itself!

Ahmed, one of the stars of Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show and The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, isn’t interested in the larger picture. He settles for brief forays into each city and a hit-and-run encounter with his relatives in Egypt. Expect no broader context but simply an assertion that once you get everyone laughing, an Arab is “just like us.” As an examination of complex cultural ties and conflicts, that’s pretty glib but in this instance glib is also funny.

Ahmed takes along a group of comedians that include Omid Dajalili (star of The Infidel), “In Living Color” alum Tommy Davidson, “The Wedding Ref” host Tom Papa and Ahmed’s Wild West Comedy Show co-star Sebastian Maniscalco. And while he did direct, Ahmed is generous in showing his fellow comics during their times on stage.

Some of the laughs here come in watching — and hearing — the North American comics test jokes on an entirely different audience without being fully aware of the censorship laws. Ahmed admits he was banned for a year in Dubai for saying something that rubbed the authorities the wrong way. A woman comic uses the word “balls,” then abruptly wonders if now she’ll be banned. The audience seemed to laugh at this but that may be how Ahmed edited the film. Who knows what they’re laughing at?

For that matter, editing is so fast and the pace of the tour so swift that you wonder what did get left out. How did that underground concert in Riyadh happen? Why is there a brief altercation backstage at one event? How did authorities react to the gags? And doesn’t the fact that most of the routines are in English exclude most of the Arab populations in these countries?

Mostly, Ahmed wants to show men, women and children of the Middle East smiling and cracking

up in laughter to counter the image of the serious, sullen or even furious Arab who inhabits the American consciousness. He and his comics tell jokes well enough that he gets ample opportunities for this.

(To read more about our entertainment news, visit our blog “Fan Fare” online atblogs.reuters.com/fanfare/)

Original post: Comedians looking for laughs in Muslim comedy tour

Taxpayers to Fund Pro-Violent Fascist Joyce Kaufman

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by loonwatch
Anti-Muslim Chief-of-Staff Joyce Kaufman alongside Holy Warrior Allen West

(Read the original at What If They Were Muslim?)

Coexistence is a beautiful thing. It’s the idea that despite our religious or political differences, we can still live side by side as good neighbors in a civilized society. Mainstream Muslims have been promoting coexistence with the Common Word initiative, a letter signed by hundreds of Muslim leaders calling for peace and harmony between Christianity and Islam. One would think such positive developments deserve our support. However, if you’re running for office in the contemporary paranoid landscape of American politics, probably not.

We’ve already reported on the Christian supremacy of Florida’s newest State Representative, Allen West. He had stated previously that he explicitly rejects peaceful coexistence, railing as he would against the popular “Coexist” bumper sticker I have on my car, and calling for a renewed holy war by saying Islam is a “very vile and very vicious enemy that we have allowed to come in this country because we ride around with bumper stickers that say co-exist.” It appears Allen West is willing to back up his loony comments with the appointment of anti-Muslim-in-chief Joyce Kaufman as his new chief of staff.

Kaufman is perhaps best known for her incendiary commentary and promotion of conspiracy theories on her right-wing radio show. She has called for hanging illegal immigrants who commit crimes, has called Democratic opponents “garbage,” said Jews voted for Obama because “they don’t embrace being Jews anymore,”and complained that school textbooks hadn’t sufficiently demonized Islam. So much for civilized discourse. Now, Joyce Kaufman is coming to Washington D.C. to spread her trash talk and race-baiting at the tax-payer’s expense.

Perhaps nothing Kaufman said is more dangerous than her less-than-subtle call for violence if the election didn’t go her way:

“I don’t care how this gets painted by the mainstream media. I don’t care if this ends up on YouTube, because I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendment rights was that they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”

In America, if you lose an election, the civilized thing to do is to buckle down for the next election. But for Kaufman, losing an election means it’s time to lock and load. This is not the only appeal to “second amendment remedies” we’ve heard from right-wing Tea Party candidates.

Thus, the newly elected Allen West rejects coexistence, has declared war on all Islam (not just violent extremists), and has appointed a shamelessly militant chief of staff. What does this mean for the American Muslim citizens living in Broward county near Palm Beach? Who is going to represent their rights in Washington? What does this say about the state of coexistence in our country? And I cannot help but ask, what if they were Muslim?

Envision, if you could, what would happen if, say, Representative Keith Ellison had ranted against coexistence, declared holy war on Christianity, and had appointed the media’s favorite rent-a-jihadist Anjem Choudry as his chief of staff. If you’ve been paying attention, you know the sight wouldn’t be pretty. Pam Geller would be throwing a ferocious hissy fit. Yet, it seems as if the right-wing isn’t against fascist religious supremacism per se. Muslim fascists we know are very bad, but Christian fascists, well, they get elected. A curious double standard, no?

Which leads me to a serious question: who is more of a threat? Keith Ellison and the Sharia boogeyman? Or the recent rise in right-wing militant extremists and their firebrand rhetorical enablers like Joyce Kaufman? For those actually in charge of securing this country, the answer is clear as day.

Update:

After the revelations of the insane things that Joyce Kaufman has said and called for the pressure seems to have gotten to the Allen West camp. Kaufman “turned down” the offer to be his chief of staff.

Note: This article is part of our “What if they were Muslim?” series. In this series, we examine the double standards used by anti-Muslim activists when discussing religious extremism in Islam as compared to other religions. We reject using extremists of any religion to justify prejudice, stereotypes, and hostility towards all members of that religion. Period.