Monday, May 4, 2015

Fighting Hate with Laughter across NY subways

Fighting Hate with Laughter across New York Subways

"The Muslims are coming, and they're bringing with them hugs so fierce you may be inspired to call your grandma"......
This is somewhat a satirical but awfully true message plastered on posters set to roll out in 140 New York City Subway stations this coming week.

It is a project, intended to subvert damaging stereotypes about Muslims. The idea comes in response to a proposed series of $100,000 ads on MTA buses that feature images comparing Muslims to Hitler.

Wow! What a nice way to squander hate and negativity.

"We just felt like, if someone was going to spend $100,000 endorsing this, why don't we spend a fraction of that promoting a message of love and comedy about Muslims?" said Dean Obeidallah of The Dean Obeidallah Show.

He and another Muslim comedian Negin Farsad teamed up to create the answer to hateful comments through humor . They call it "Fighting-Bigotry-With-Delightful-Posters Campaign".

 "They invented coffee, the toothbrush, and algebra," reads one poster that highlights the achievements of Muslims , "Oh wait, sorry about the algebra. That's a year of class you'll never get back," reads the second part of the text.

Extremely smart move in the city of NewYork  which is a melting pot of cultures in the United States. Out of 8.5 million population of the Big Apple, Muslim population is estimated to range from 600,000 to 1 million. America is definitely a  nation of immigrants where every sect has the right to defend themselves......

When asked about the idea behind these creative advertisements Farsad, a standup comedian replied "Honestly, we both saw the Pamela Gellar news and I was like, 'Oh my god, I wonder how much this costs and if she can do it why can't we do that?"

She and Obeidallah launched a PayPal account, emailed friends, and within a span of 2 days in October 2014, raised $20,000 to buy ad space on the New York City subway. The duo had already established themselves as activists and all-around funny people in their the 2013 road trip movie "The Muslims Are Coming",  which followed them on a laughter infused stand-up tour across America.

The Muslims Are Coming! was 2013 American Comic film co-directed and co-starring Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah. It follows a team of Muslim-American comedians as they tour the American South and Southwest performing free standup shows in town halls, bars, bowling allies .Their mission to "reach out to Middle America" and to show the softer, the comic side of American Muslims.

This maybe a tiny gesture to prevent Islamophobia or negativity towards Muslims but it maybe able to leave a deep impact on the minds of those who read these adds ......after all Muslims are like anyone else, they can laugh, they can crack jokes......
And maybe the best way to counter hate is not through hate but through laughter!