Subway Posters Counter Anti-Muslim Sentiment With Good Jokes

April 28, 2015 | Liam Mathews

Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah, comedians and documentary filmmakers behind the movie The Muslims Are Coming, are fighting back against conservative activist Pamela Geller’s hateful subway ads with the best weapon in their arsenal: humor. They’re pasting up posters in subway stations with messages like “FACT: Grownup Muslims can do more pushups than baby Muslims,” highlighting the absurdity of making broad judgements about a group of people. Extreme statements can go both ways, and Farsad and Obeidallah want people to know that Muslims can be too loving.

“Muslims are depicted as violent and terrorist-loving threats throughout mainstream media and the purpose of this campaign is to provide a counter narrative,” Farsad wrote in an email to ANIMAL. “We think that the only real threat of mainstream Muslims is over-delightfulness – that claim holds as much water as anything purporting violence. ”

The posters are going up in 140 subway stations on April 28 thanks to $20,000 raised through crowdfunding, according to the Daily News. They’re using the same technique as Geller, who exercised her First Amendment right by buying advertising. These posters were designed by the pair in conjunction with Shaddei May Guillaume and Sopro.

This is not Farsad and Obeidallah’s first time acting as a friendly voice for Islam. Their documentary The Muslims Are Coming followed them as they toured Middle America and introduced themselves to people who had never met a Muslim before.

Farsad believes that exposure and education is the answer to combating prejudice. “Hell, even George ‘segregation forever’ Wallace changed his mind in his old age,” she wrote. “Anyone can change.”

Farsad wrote that if she met Geller, she would say, “‘I think the reason you hate Muslims is that you don’t really have a real Muslim friend. So, let’s grab some cupcakes and/or beers and talk this thing out. We might even have fun.'”

(Feature photo by Rishi Bandopadhay, posters by Vaguely Qualified Productions)