Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened on my Way to the Jihad
No, But Seriously ...

Skyscrapers collapsing with people inside and car bombs aren't funny. But, despite the impression left by the likes of Osama bin Laden, Muslims have a sense of humor.

Muslim comedian Azhar Usman has taken his "Allah Made Me Funny -- Official Muslim Comedy Tour" "in more than 12 countries over five continents" - my guess is that he hasn't played Antarctica. He's featured in a U.S. International Information Programs article, "Humor Helps Break Stereotypes About Muslims."

It's not that Ramadan is funny, or that Islamic fanatics killing people for not being sufficiently Islamic is funny.

On the other hand, humor is a great communicator. Usman quoted the late Peter Ustinov. "People always come up to me after my show and say, 'Thank you so much for making me think,'" the Muslim comedian said.

Muslim comedian? Those are two words that I didn't expect to find used together.

Usman, a lawyer raised by Indian parents in Chicago, pointed out how Jewish and Black musicians and comedians used humor to break down stereotypes.

I'd say that he has a good idea. I still want to believe that there are significant numbers of Muslims who can live and work in the Information Age - and contribute to their society. It's a relief to read about people like Azhar Usman, who reinforce that belief.

Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.