TORONTO – A Muslim comedian is awaiting president-elect Donald Trump to take office as a big shot in his work, with the addition of fresh material to his act, while also sharing personal experiences about his relationship with Islam.
“Especially in this time of Trump, it’s important to show people something different than what they’re seeing in the media: that not all Muslims are fire-breathing dragons or whatever people think they are,” Ali Hassan said ahead of his tour launch in Edmonton on Jan. 19, The Canadian Press reported on Tuesday, January 10.
“Within the first few months of doing comedy I realized: ‘Oh, this is an opportunity to do some positive PR for Pakistanis.’ Pakistan (was) much-maligned in the news, but if somebody sees me and goes, ‘Oh, I saw a Pakistani the other day: pretty relaxed guy, funny, was able to make fun of himself.’
“I’m not winning a Nobel Peace Prize or anything, but I’m doing what I can as a person who’s onstage, and I’ve always liked that role,” he added.
Hassan saw Trump’s promise to ban Muslims during his presidential campaign as a frightening call.
“It was frightening to hear,” recalled Hassan, who worked as an IT consultant in Chicago prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.
“In the Trump era, I have to take a good close look at everything that I’m doing and make sure that at no point does it seem like I’m piling on or selling out my community that is being regarded as public enemy No. 1. That is a fine line that I have to walk,” said Hassan during an interview at the Corner Comedy Club in downtown Toronto.
The surprising election of Donald Trump, who suggested banning Muslims from entering the US, as America’s 45th president is having its negative impact on American Muslims.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there were more than 200 incidents of harassment and intimidation in the first days after Trump’s election. Many were directed toward African Americans, immigrants, Muslims and the LGBT community.