Harper Watched: The Muslims Are Coming!

Today's Harper Watched is about a documentary you can find on Netflix called The Muslims Are Coming!  I'd seen a trailer for this a while ago and I've been wanting to watch it ever since. As a fan of comedy and also not-being-a-dick and its subcategory, not-being-islamophobic, I was super excited to see a film about Muslim-American comedians taking on ignorance through laughter.

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This film made me really happy on a lot of levels. First of all, the comics are all very talented, so at its baseline, The Muslims Are Coming! is really funny because it's full of funny people. Secondly, the film was really about engaging with people. The film is about this comedy tour that a group of Muslim comedians went on through what we in the south refer to as "The Bible Belt." Their goal was to visit parts of the country where Islam was likely misunderstood or never really encountered outside of a terror-related-headline context. They did stand-up comedy shows that helped people in these communities understand Muslims in a real-life non-extremist context. Thirdly, it didn't shy away from conflict, and I appreciate that. Whether it was confronting the realities of Islamophobic reactions the comedians faced, or addressing points of contention within the Muslim community like issues of racism and sexism.

There was a great cast involved in this film, including the comedians themselves as well as religious scholars, Imams, and other comedians and intellectuals like Jon Stewart (whom I claim as a fellow William & Mary graduate at every opportunity), Soledad O'Brien, and Rachel Maddow. They really helped provide a well-rounded discussion about Islam and Islamophobia in America.

Here's a trailer for your viewing pleasure:


This movie is great because it's not about projecting one idea of what Islam is-- it's about showing that just like with any other group in America, there's a lot of diversity. From the Muslim who is very by-the-book and strict in their beliefs, to the Muslim who is less concerned with tradition, to the Muslim who is half-Italian Catholic, this film doesn't work to erase any of those identities, but instead, promote the idea that there are so many different kinds of Muslims and they're really not all that different from anyone else.

Harper's Rating: 4.5 / 5
Pros:
Comedy
Grappling with Islamophobia and intolerance
Great, intelligent discourse
Also, great, sarcastic discourse
Voices of Muslim-Americans being raised to share their own experiences
Sharing and spreading a better understanding of our fellow Americans
Pretty well-done documentary
Not a terrible heavy watch
Cons:
Not really any.

Check out The Muslims Are Coming! on Netflix!

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