By Katherine Stephens
Gordon College News Service
Sept. 24, 2013
(This story appeared Sept. 27, 2013, in the Somerville Your Town site of the Boston Globe.)
SOMERVILLE, MA—They traveled all over the country hosting stand up comedy routines and waving their “Hug a Muslim” posters proudly. Now, comedians and filmmakers, Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah, are coming to the Boston area to screen their new film, The Muslims are Coming.
The film uses comedy to combat prejudices and stereotypes placed on Muslim-Americans. Organizers of National Welcoming Week in Massachusetts—which is part of a national movement called Welcoming America that highlights the contributions of immigrants—knew the film was a good fit with their theme this year, “Uniting Neighbors, Celebrating Diversity.” They decided to partner with the filmmakers to sponsor the screening, along with other events, during its Welcome Week.
The Muslims are Coming opens Friday, September 27 at the Somerville Theatre, with a question and answer time with Farsad and Obeidallah to follow. The documentary’s world release was last October at the Austin Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award, and was re-released this year in Chicago on September 12. It has screened already this month in New York and Los Angeles, and runs in Somerville through October 3.
“What we’re trying to do is create a different cultural concept for Muslim Americans,” Farsad said during a phone interview. “We have these associations that Muslims are dusty people walking down the street with AK-47’s (and) just constantly violent. When in reality, Muslims can look like me. They can be stand up comedians, or really bad at bowling, who knows?”