As many are aware, Islamophobia and discrimination against Arabs has abounded in post-9/11 American society. From the Qur’an burning in Florida to the mosque controversy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Muslims (and Arabs for that matter) have been unfairly targeted and profiled.
For those unfamiliar with these two controversies, the Florida Qur’an burning refers to an incident involving Pastor Terry Jones of a Florida church, the Dove World Outreach Center. In 2010, he planned to host “Burn a Qur’an Day,” during which his church planned to burn several copies of the Qur’an in honor of the anniversary of September 11th. The plan was called off after increasing pressure from military abroad. However, Pastor Jones did succeed in burning one Qur’an during a “mock trial” in March 2011, in which the Qur’an was proven evil through mock court proceedings. This incited a wave of international anger. The Murfreesboro mosque controversy refers to the community of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and its fervent opposal to the construction of an Islamic Center within the town.
Often, Arabs and Muslims are thought to be un-American and possibly even a threat to the “American” way of life. However, some individuals are hoping to change the perception of Arabs and Muslims; a perception that has become incredibly skewed in recent years. These Arabs and Muslims work to address the stereotypes that have come to be associated with Arab and Islamic culture through the most universal of means—through comedy. Some of the most famous Arab American comedy groups and tours include: the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour and The Muslims are Coming! This art form is also celebrated at Arab American Comedy Festivals.