Contemporary Muslim Comedy
Humor and joking are undeniable features of Muslim lives. Far from being a recent development, humor has historically been important in Muslim experiences and literatures. Today, this tradition is often overlooked by assumptions of Islam and Muslim life which question the relationship between humor, laughter, and Muslim identities. The idea that humor is not permissible in Islamic traditions, or that Muslims don’t know how to be funny, is informed more by cultural theses of Islam and Muslim history as backward, uncivilized, incompatible, or inferior to the “West,” argued by Samuel Huntington and others, than by the realities of Muslim history and practice. Joking and humor have always been aspects of Muslim practice, and they serve various functions, such as to affirm and critique religious positions, and to explain aspects of Islamic history and practice to non-Muslim listeners and audiences.
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