That’s the opening line from a WaPo piece announcing an Arab-American comedy tour aimed at combating what the comics are calling Islamophobia.
When I see any accusatory word whose suffix is phobia, I’m immediately suspicious. Usually those throwing such words about are those who are also throwing an agenda at us.
But I digress… let’s first excerpt the piece:
Negin Farsad, an Iranian American stand-up comic from California, wears eye-catching mini dresses, curses liberally and has awkward sex talks with her mother (though hers sound more like alien encounters. Actual quote: “You had intergender flesh relations without the security of external safety product?”).
Such conversations, painfully private in traditional Muslim societies, are public fodder for Farsad and three other Gen X and Gen Y Muslim comics with whom she traveled to the deep South this past summer.
The tour, which later extended to Western states and included other Muslim comics, will form the backbone of “The Muslims Are Coming!,” a documentary film about Islamophobia in America that Farsad is working on with Palestinian Italian American comedian Dean Obeidallah.
The documentary, which includes interviews with comics such as Jon Stewart and Louis Black and commentators including CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, explores freedom of religion and what it means to be a minority in America.
Muslim American stand-up comedy is a relatively new phenomenon, the domain of second-generation immigrants who are American enough to satirize the Muslim American experience, said Obeidallah, who lives in New York City.
“We’re confident enough to do this,” he said. “An immigrant would be less confident to use comedy to try to challenge perceptions of who we are. We’re confident enough in being Americans and knowing what that means, that we can push against those who are exhibiting behavior which is less than consistent with the values of this nation.”
Maysoon Zayid, one of the comics on the tour, said people were surprised to see that “I’m such a Jersey girl, I’m so accessible. . . . I think they are really surprised that I wasn’t this oppressed woman trying to convert people.”
The comedians acknowledged that they were unlikely to win the hearts of the most fervent anti-Muslim types.
“A show called ‘The Muslims Are Coming’ — people self-select to come see it,” Farsad said. “We’re never going to be able to touch the extreme haters. . . . We’re trying to affect the people in the middle, people with questions, the ‘persuadables.’ ”
Call me a curmedgeon but I’m not buying what’s being sold here. For a number of reasons. We could start with a definition of terms, the first and foremost needed being the one for Islamophobia. We might then define who these comics think are the extreme haters, and who the ‘persuadables’ might be. In other words, do what the WaPo failed to do and ask tough questions.
Since the piece broke, Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch attempted to do just that of Dean Obeidallah and enter into what he hoped would be an honest dialog over the tour and its purpose.
It didn’t go well.
Mr. Obeidalla refused to answer his questions, citing his busy schedule. He also threatened to sue Mr. Spencer.
It’s at this point thinking people would wonder what questions could be so egregious as to garner such a reaction. From Mr. Spencer’s post, here they are:
1. True or false: No comedy show, no matter how clever or winning, is going to eradicate the suspicion that many Americans have of Muslims. This is because Americans are concerned about Islam not because of the work of greasy Islamophobes, but because of Naser Abdo, the would-be second Fort Hood jihad mass murderer; and Khalid Aldawsari, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Lubbock, Texas; and Muhammad Hussain, the would-be jihad bomber in Baltimore; and Mohamed Mohamud, the would-be jihad bomber in Portland; and Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square jihad mass-murderer; and Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the Arkansas military recruiting station jihad murderer; and Naveed Haq, the jihad mass murderer at the Jewish Community Center in Seattle; and Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh, who hatched a jihad plot to blow up a Manhattan synagogue; and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas airplane jihad bomber; and many others like them who have plotted and/or committed mass murder in the name of Islam and motivated by its texts and teachings — all in the U.S. in the last couple of years.
2. True or false: The fact that there are other Muslims not fighting jihad is just great, but it doesn’t mean that the jihad isn’t happening. This comedy show simply doesn’t address the problem of jihad terrorism and Islamic supremacism.
3. What do you make of the fact that Islamic supremacists from the Muslim Brotherhood invented the term “Islamophobia” in order to deflect attention away from jihad violence and Islamic supremacism, and intimidate opponents thereof?
4. What do you have to say about the fact that FBI statistics show that there is no “Islamophobia”?
5. What do you have to say about the fact that many “anti-Muslim hate crimes” have been faked by Muslims, and that Jews are eight times more likely than Muslims to be the victims of hate attacks.
6. True or false? Since the Muslim Brotherhood is dedicated in its own words to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within,” one easy way to do that would be to guilt-trip non-Muslims into being ashamed of resisting jihad activity and Islamic supremacism, for fear of being accused of “Islamophobia.”
7. True or false: Negin Farsad, with her “eye-catching mini dresses,” etc., has more to worry about from observant Muslims than she does from “Islamophobes.”
8. What do you think of this: When you call [Pam] Geller [of the blog Atlas Shrugs] (and by implication, me) a “Muslim hater,” I believe that you are ascribing people’s legitimate concerns about jihad and Islamic supremacism to “hate,” and that the only effect of this will be to make people who have those legitimate concerns to be even more suspicious of Muslims, which will only lead to more of what you call “Islamophobia.”
9. Is there a plan behind your demonizing and smearing of all anti-jihadists? Do you want to create “Islamophobia” in order to claim privileged victim status for Muslims and exempt them from reasonable law enforcement scrutiny?
10. What kind of work have you done to raise awareness about the escalating persecution of non-Muslim minorities in Muslim societies, which is far worse in Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere than Muslims have it here? Why not?
11. On what basis do you imply that those who are defending freedom against jihad are “exhibiting behavior which is less than consistent with the values of this nation”? What have you done to resist the Muslim Brotherhood’s stated agenda of “sabotaging” this nation “from within”?
12. Aside from the murder of a Sikh by an idiot shortly after 9/11, what evidence do you have of any backlash against Muslims to which you refer so off-handedly in the WaPo? Where are Muslims suffering violence, discrimination, harassment of any kind? Even you expected far worse than you got when you went to the South — and the level of harassment you did get was no worse than what I get in my email every day. So why the overblown claims about it?
13. And yes, what do you think about these recommendations?
There’s much more, including links to other posts for additional context.
Why wouldn’t Dean Obeidallah answer the questions? Might he have passed them on to others on tour with him to answer or would they also refuse? Is there anyone out there supporting this tour willing to answer the questions? I’d be willing to give them a forum here to do so.
The lesson seems clear to me, an apparent Islamophobe by extension who has also been branded a homophobe, a bigot, a fascist and other terms by those more interested in propagandizing the masses than deal with the substance of their accusations.
Be leery, be most leery, of the phobiaphobes. Be especially leery of those who love to talk about the need for tolerance while being most intolerant.