Co-directed by comedians Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah, “The Muslims Are Coming!” is a 2012 documentary that follows a group of Muslim-American comedians as they tour the United States to combat Islamaphobia.
Last spring when bigoted anti-Muslim ads appeared in New York City subways and buses, Farsad and Obeidallah responded with humor. They created their own ad campaign intended to provoke discussion and get people laughing: “The Ugly Truth About Muslims: Muslims have great frittata recipes” read one subway poster.
But in April, prompted by the outcry over the initial anti-Muslim ads, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) banned political ads from buses and subways and categorized the humorous ad campaign as political.
Vaguely Qualified Productions LLC, the production company behind “The Muslims Are Coming!,” sued the MTA on June 25. On October 7, a federal judge ordered the MTA to allow the filmmakers run the ads.
“We are overjoyed that the judge found in our favor,” Obeidallah told Indiewire. “The goal of our film, ‘The Muslims Are Coming!’ is to use comedy to show people a different side of Muslims than typical depicted in the media. Hopefully with the posters going up, more people will check out film on the various online platforms it’s available on and see that Muslims can actually be very funny, even silly!”
He joked, “How many filmmakers have to sue the government to put up funny ads to promote their film?!”
Farsad said, “The very heart of the new MTA policy was the problem. They wanted to ban any disputed political content. In our case, that nebulous metric meant Muslim=political and we’ll shut you down!” She explained, “the word “Muslim” is not political. Telling our own stories about being Muslim is not political.”
Find out more about “The Muslims Are Coming!” here.