The Muslims Are Coming! is an 83-minute documentary screening followed by a Q&A from one or more of the film’s key subjects, Dean Obediallah, Negin Farsad, Aron Kader, or Kareem Omary. All are also professional comedians who have appeared on numerous TV shows and an optional comedy show can be added to your event. The Muslims are Coming!, like most films with a social activist agenda, offers something to learn and something to think about, but unlike most, it will also make you laugh. A lot.
The film follows a traveling band of Muslim-American comedians who do shows across middle America, meeting locals along the way. Oh, and those shows are free—so even if people aren’t, ehem, “fond” of Muslims they could come out to the shows and be suspicious of them for free! This group of funny Muzzies not only perform stand up but stage street actions that are both hilarious and insightful. There was an “Ask a Muslim” booth on the streets of Georgia – that’s right, locals could literally come and ask a Muslim anything at all. On a corner in Alabama, the comedians set up a “Name that Religion” contest, offering passersby a chance to guess if a quote was from the Old Testament, New Testament, or the Koran. Winners had their choice of a fabulous prize (like a salt & pepper shaker, a Chia pet, or an outdated calendar featuring famous gold courses, you know awesome stuff). They even held a “Bowl with a Muslim” event to entice locals to bowl with them and share (admittedly unhealthy) snacks.
The film is also peppered with appearances from cultural icons including The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, hip hop legend Russell Simmons, comedians David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Lewis Black, Lizz Winstead, Congressional Representative Keith Ellison and many more. So how did it turn out? Did all the comedians get back in one piece? This film chronicles their adventure from the funny to the touching to the scary moments. The Muslims Are Coming! represents a group of comedians’ dream to change the crappy stereotypes about Muslims and move the dialogue toward inclusion, community and love! One thing is for sure, you’ve never laughed this hard at a Muslim.
Screenings of the film are followed by a Q&A by key players and comedians, Dean Obediallah, Negin Farsad, Aaron Kader, or Kareem Omary. Throughout the making of the movie, they did Q&A’s like this around the country. One thing became abundantly clear: they give good Q&A! Obeidallah was originally a trained as and became a practicing lawyer. Farsad entered the world of comedy and filmmaking from graduate studies in public policy, later working as a senior policy advisor for the City of New York. Omary has worked for years as a counselor assisting people released from prison to secure gainful employment and in combination with his work and his comedy has worked toward combating stereotypes and fostering an understanding with the Muslim community. Kader has used his comedy to counter stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims and has taught standup comedy workshops across the Middle East from Saudi Arabia to Egypt. They all bring with them a depth of social justice analysis that the average comedian might not have, with the hilarity that the average policy maker definitely does not have. This makes for an engaging, educational and above all funny look at the issues facing Muslims and immigrants of all stripes. As speakers, they will not only enrich audience understanding of racial, religious and ethnic divisions in this country, but they’ll do it while entertaining them.
The documentary does contain some language that may be offensive to some viewers.
"We had a wonderful experience with the screening and Q/A session afterward. Dean was really great to work with and it was a pleasure having him on campus. The event was standing room only...and ultimately we had to turn people away. The audience really loved the film (many great laughs at times) and appreciated the candid discussion afterwards."
– Dane Martens, Director, University of Southern California Spectrum
[JAN 2016] “Their performance(s) at Penn College were all we expected and more. They did a fantastic job of answering tough questions, and I would gladly recommend their program to any campus. They do a great job of using comedy to send a very important, and educational message.” – Anthony Pace, Assistant Director of Student Activities, Pennsylvania College of Technology
[NOV 2015] “Overall, we were thoroughly pleased with this event! Your agency’s support, from the advanced mailing of copies of the DVD to putting us in touch with the performer, was much appreciated. I’d also like to commend Mr. Obeidallah in particular for his professionalism and intelligent engagement with the audience around what had the potential to be a politically-charged set of topics. Our students walked away with a better understanding of the issues addressed in the film as a result of their watching it and discussing it with him afterward.” – Jessica Watson, Intercultural Programming and Communications Specialist, Tidewater Community College
[FEB 2015] “I can’t even begin to express how happy we were with the event! The Muslims Are Coming was AMAZING… Everyone loved the documentary and Dean. This is such an amazing event! The audience was very engaged with both the documentary and Dean. The topic is VERY important and necessary for students to talk about and this performance/event shows that they have found the perfect way to make that happen. Through comedy, they are getting the questions out there and sparking the much needed conversations. This is definitely a program that we'll be bringing back to campus!” – Mandi Smith, Student Activities Manager, St. Charles Community College