After a recent convert to Islam beheaded an Oklahoma woman, an MSNBC panel suggested doing away with stereotyping Islam followers as violent and calling them “hilarious” instead.
The panelists joined MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry on Saturday to discuss an effort to use comedy to counter “anti-Muslim” ads that will soon grace the sides of New York City buses.
“I would be remiss not to bring up the story out of Oklahoma,” Harris-Perry said. “It is a story I read as a ‘work-place violence’ story.”
Because who among us has not witnessed a beheading on the job?
Harris-Perry played press conference video of a Moore, Okla., police official quoting the victim’s co-workers as saying the man behind the attack, Alton Nolen, tried to convert some of them to Islam.
“And then, that’s it,” she said after playing clip. “And now, this is somehow about Islam.”
Dean Obeidallah, a writer for The Daily Beast and a member of the panel, called it “funny” that people are suggesting that Islam begets violence.
“Just so it’s clear for everyone, there is nothing in the Quran that says if you get fired, go back to your workplace and kill people,” he said with an odd chuckle.
America’s “right-wing media” is using the killing to suggest that “Muslims are here in America, they’re committing jihad,” Obeidallah added.
Harris-Perry went so far as to argue that Nolen’s conversion had nothing to do with him beheading his victim.
“There should be a cultural paradigm shift in which it’s not OK to create that linkage immediately,” writer and filmmaker Negin Farsad said. “We have gone on and on and on creating this language between Muslims and violence, and we need to have a counter-narrative, and we don’t. And that’s what we trying to do.”
“Muslims are funny,” Harris-Perry chimed in.
“That’s the new stereotype,” Farsad quipped. “Pass it around: Muslims are hilarious.”
Watch the exchange here via YouTube:
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