Muslims organize funny fest to fight racism and hate

“Muslim Funny Fest,” billed as the first-ever American Muslim comedy festival to challenge misperceptions about Muslims and combat hate

A photo of Dean Obeidallhah and Maysoon Zayid.

“Muslim Funny Fest,” billed as the first-ever American Muslim comedy festival staged in New York to challenge misperceptions about Muslims and combat hate. It features 15 Muslim comedians — from Dubai native Ali Al Sayed to “America’s Funniest Muslim” Azhar Usman — and there are more than a few familiar names on the marquee.

Co-organizers/comedians Dean Obeidallah and Maysoon Zayid are hoping it will be an annual event, and they may take the show on the road. Their successful annual New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, which features comedians from a range of faiths, enters its 12th year this fall.

Obeidallah, an award-winning comedian and a onetime lawyer, hosts SiriusXM radio’s new weekly national program “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” which features Muslim American voices discussing issues of the week; he’s also a columnist for The Daily Beast. He co-directed the 2013 comedy documentary “The Muslims Are Coming!,” which also uses comedy to counter anti-Muslim sentiment.

Zayid is an actress, comedian, disability advocate and writer who has performed in top New York clubs. She’s been a headliner on the “Arabs Gone Wild” comedy tour and “The Muslims Are Coming! Tour.” She is the founder of Maysoon’s Kids, a scholarship and wellness program for disabled refugee children.

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