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Fighting for Funny

Dec 20, 2007

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Sarah Handel

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Sarfraz Manzoor wants to know what comes to mind when you hear the word "Muslim." It's kind of a minefield... he suggests the natural thoughts are the 9/11 attacks, the Muhammad teddy bear, and the Danish newspaper cartoons... not exactly a barrel of monkeys. So he's on a mission to bring the humor of Muslim life to light, and his band is few, but mighty. According to him, Muslims as a group may suffer from "chronic" hypersensitivity and "over-earnestness." But there are a few bringing the funny to light, like Azhar Usman and Zarqa Nawaz (she has a sitcom called Little Mosque on the Prairie. Sample joke from an episode: "a Muslim defends his plan to turn the parish hall into a mosque. "It's only a pilot project, " he tells a local man, who responds, "You're training pilots?!" I laughed out loud.), and Manzoor says the work of these liberal Muslims is so easily undone by fury over a teddy bear that it's time for moderate Muslims to speak up in support of the lighter side of life. So listen in, laugh, and leave comments here.

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