The Muslims came and so did many of Dominican’s students

By Elisa Juliano

September 18, 2013

On the 12th anniversary of 9/11, Dominican University, in collaboration with the Office of Student Involvement and Residence Life, held a screening of the documentary “The Muslims are Coming.”

According to Director of Student Involvement Michael Lango, the choice to screen the movie on September 11th was not so it could be a memorial or reflection around the events of September 11th, 2001.

“It was one of those opportunities where it was like hey they’re going to be in town and you can save a lot of money by doing it on this day,” Lango said.

Senior Christina Belmont believed screening the film on such a historical day was appropriate because it raised awareness for a group that experiences hate crimes as a result of 9/11.

“I think this is the time to address these issues on attacks against Muslims and misinterpretation of the Muslim religion,” Belmont said.

The film follows comedians Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah as they tour the U.S. using jokes and laughter to break down stereotypes about Muslims. Farsad and Obeidallah are both Muslim-born Americans.

During the day, the event featured a screening of the documentary followed by a discussion panel. In the evening, Farsad and Obeidallah performed their comedy number live for students.

“We were thrilled!” Lango said. “About 150 people attended the screening of the film [in the afternoon], and about 120 attended the comedy show later on in the night.”

Abdulaziz Almutlaq, a freshman from Saudi Arabia, attended the evening comedy show.  Almutlaq said he did not expect to see so many students at the event.

“I think some students came because it was stand-up comedy, and because the title was a hook,” he said.

Yesenia Munoz, a criminology and sociology major, was required to go to the screening for one of her classes. Before the screening, she really did not know much about the film.

“In the beginning, I was taking notes and listening to what they were saying,” Munoz said. “At the end, I was just laughing at their jokes.”

The screening inspired Munoz to come back later on her own to watch the comedy show.

“Muslims identify themselves as Americans, and we push them off and say go back to your own country and we are really just being ignorant,” sophomore Andre Meissen said.

Meissen said his favorite part of the film was seeing how comedy is used to tackle these issues.

In the film, Farsad and Obeidallah stage different activities before each show, including segments called “Ask a Muslim Booth” and “Give a Muslim a Hug.”

Meissen enjoyed the film so much that at the end of the screening, he asked if he could come on stage and give a Muslim a hug.  Both Farsad and Obeidallah were more than willing to hug him.

“I liked how they connected Muslims and Arabs with American society, and how they covered all races,” Almutlaq said.

The comedians joked about all races, including Arabs, Latinos, African Americans and Asians.

“They also made jokes about other groups, so it wasn’t like they targeted one group,” Munoz said.

At the end of the event, Lango commented that the event was not presented on September 11th simply because of the day, but because it was the only day the comedy troupe’s schedule matched that of the university.

Almutlaq said it was that overall, it was great show.

“People need to laugh and have fun,” he said.

Further information on the comedy troupe can be found by visiting www.themuslimsarecoming.com .