• Germany's news in English
 

US comedian tells tales from the Mosque

Published: 12 Apr 2012 16:30 GMT+02:00

Aman Ali, a New Yorker of Indian heritage, said stopping at a different Mosque on each day of 2010’s holy month of Ramadan had given him a broad outlook on how Muslims were living in America.

His current tour – he has just performed in Copenhagen and is heading for Germany next week – was showing him interesting things about the differences between Muslim life on either side of the Atlantic.

“The big difference is that the American culture is one of immigration, it is very easy to immigrate and integrate,” he told The Local ahead of bringing his show "30 Mosques in 30 Days" to Germany.

“In Europe national identity is different. You go to parts of Europe and identity is more defined, like in Germany, Denmark, Sweden or Norway.

“Although, I was in the UK recently, and people are very open - and the favourite national dish is chicken tikka masala.”

He said the biggest eye-opener was that the idea that people were against or scared of Muslims was mostly simply not true.

“There is this illusion that there is opposition to Muslims, and Muslims think that everyone hates us. But in reality most people don’t care,” he said.

“I see people living peacefully and working closely together with their neighbours. In Europe perhaps not so much, but this is not necessarily due to racism. I think it is more to do with ignorance – if everyone comes from the same kind of background, they can end up ignorant of other backgrounds.”

This can lead to Muslims not making much of an effort to integrate, he said. “They then want to create a mini Somalia or Morocco or something,” he said.

“There is no problem with holding onto your own culture, but why not build Mosques that are Muslim and German in style? It is frustrating, these cultural bubbles, that is what generates a lot of the tension.

“We have our share of problems too, there is a lot cynicism, the feeling that things are getting worse and everyone hates us.”

He is happy to describe his show as stand-up story-telling – emphatically not a lecture.

“I want to create an honest dialogue. I just tell stories that I have heard along the way.”

Berlin, where his show is scheduled for Monday, is a particular treat for him.

“One of the reasons I am excited about coming to Germany is the vibrant Muslim arts culture here. It is very refreshing to see such a vibrant Muslim art scene.”

Aman Ali’s show in Berlin is on Monday at the Babylon Theatre, and in Magdeburg at the einewelt haus.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

18:20 April 12, 2012 by Jibzy
¦quot;There is this illusion that there is opposition to Muslims, and Muslims think that everyone hates us. But in reality most people don¦#39;t care,¦quot; he said.

As a Pakistani, I have to say that this needs to be told more to the people in Muslim countries than in Europe. There is a whole industry based on the assumption that Muslims are hated and that the white people want to take away Islam from us.

But i think what Ali said above is true. No one gives a damn about people who have nothing.

Also about the integration. People in Germany are relatively "cold". I dont mean it as a negative thing but just that they dont care about the person living next door. Most Muslim countries have a culture of involving themselves TOO much in other people's lives. Both of these are extremes and when they meet, there will be friction.
19:42 April 12, 2012 by Whipmanager
Chango: I want to say that the UK is pretty much as you say, but if it weren't for those guys that are exported, the skin heads and punkers, the UK would have less of an intimidation factor. Living in Rome (i have heard it said when in Rome, do as the Romans do) as the Romans, that means begging, stealing, pick pocketing, and changing governments every years...yeah, why not, right?
20:33 April 12, 2012 by wxman
Jibsy, that's probably the most succinct and easily understood explanation of the cultural clash I've ever read! Kudos to you.
05:28 April 13, 2012 by rfwilson
Jibsy..... Excellent explanation! Good on you!!!
11:22 April 13, 2012 by Kim Berlin
One thing that constantly worries me is that people who have a negative opinion of any religion are always considered to be racist. My understanding is that religion is separate from race. A person of any race can become a member of any religion - so why would a negative comment of any religion be racist?
14:12 April 14, 2012 by GolfAlphaYankee
@Kim Berlin: well you certainly have the right to oppose or dislike any religion you want but if you extend the dislike to "all" people who consider themselves part of that religion, or in other words if you judge people based on what you think they hold in their harts and minds and not their actions then I would say you are racist even though no race in particular is the object of your bigotry.

@Jibzy: while I kind of agree with you (being my self of a Muslim background but not in a traditional sense) that average people are generally not interested in religion and much less in religion conflicts, policy makers do have a particular interest in the arab/islamic world. not because of religion but because of oil .... and because of their policy (at least partially) that many oppressive and non democratic regimes were able to survive for so long ,,,, and lets not forget that Alqaida was a CIA creation that went horribly wrong for the West AND for the people of the middle east.
Today's headlines
Public pitch in to find refugee home arsonists
A set of keys found at the scene of the crime. Photo:DPA

Public pitch in to find refugee home arsonists

After police made a public appeal for information in the arson attack on a refugee home on a television programme on Sunday evening, more than 30 members of the public got in touch. READ  

Greece crisis
Merkel and Tsipras have 'positive' phone chat
Merkel and Tsipras meet in Brussels on 23 April. Photo: DPA

Merkel and Tsipras have 'positive' phone chat

Athens will resume talks with its creditors Monday, a Greek government source said, after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke on the phone with Chancellor Angela Merkel. READ  

Bayern stroll to 25th Bundesliga title
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola on the sidelines against Hertha on Saturday. Photo: DPA

Bayern stroll to 25th Bundesliga title

FC Bayern Munich found out they had won the Bundesliga title with four games to spare when their only rivals Vfl Wolfsburg lost 1-0 to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday. READ  

Government knew of threat to Ukraine flights
Investigators at the scene of the MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine in mid-April 2015. Photo: DPA

Government knew of threat to Ukraine flights

Berlin knew the risks of flying over war-torn east Ukraine before Flight MH17 was shot out of the sky last year but did not inform German airlines, media reported on Sunday. READ  

Pro-Kremlin bikers defy bans on Berlin ride
Photo: DPA

Pro-Kremlin bikers defy bans on Berlin ride

Dozens of bikers from pro-Kremlin gang the Night Wolves on Saturday set off on a ride to Berlin ahead of the anniversary of Soviet victory in World War II, despite Poland and Germany barring the riders. READ  

VW patriarch Piëch resigns
Photo: DPA

VW patriarch Piëch resigns

Volkswagen patriarch Ferdinand Piëch, has resigned as head of the German auto giant's supervisory board with immediate effect, the company announced Saturday. READ  

Schumacher Jr lives up to his name
Schumacher Jr is too young to drink any of that champagne. Photo: DPA

Schumacher Jr lives up to his name

Mick Schumacher Jr did his famous father proud on his Formula Four debut on Saturday by claiming a trophy as the best rookie and finishing ninth, despite starting 19th. READ  

Deutsche Bank to sell Postbank
Deutsche Bank acquired Postbank in 2008. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bank to sell Postbank

Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank announced late Friday it was seeking to sell its Postbank subsidiary as part of a revamp to improve profitability. READ  

Far left activists attack immigration office
Photo: DPA

Far left activists attack immigration office

Far-left extremists attacked an immigration office in Leipzig early on Friday morning. It was the second targeted attack on an official building in the city in recent months. READ  

Steinmeier: Armenia wasn't genocide
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo:DPA

Steinmeier: Armenia wasn't genocide

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier insisted on Friday that calling Armenian massacres genocide risks belittling the Holocaust, after President Joachim Gauck broke a taboo by using the word on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
German beer day: take the tour
Features
Off to Norway at 18 km/hour
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Gallery
The smileys Germans love to text
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
National
Expats face Monday deadline to register to vote for UK election
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,135
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd