• 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
Cologne evacuates 20,000 after bomb find
The bomb is burrowed deep in the ground. Photo: DPA

Cologne evacuates 20,000 after bomb find

Authorities In Cologne have begun the biggest evacuation since Second World War of around 20,000 people after a 1,000 kg bomb was found in the north-east of the city. READ  

Merkel 'deceived' public on No-Spy treaty
Photo: DPA

Merkel 'deceived' public on No-Spy treaty

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government tricked the public into believing the USA was prepared to sign a so-called 'no-spy agreement' with Germany ahead of elections in 2013, a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung claimed on Wednesday. READ  

Forbes: Merkel still world's mightiest woman
Photo: DPA

Forbes: Merkel still world's mightiest woman

Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the Forbes list of the world's most powerful women for the fifth straight year but Hillary Clinton is snapping at her heels, the magazine said on Tuesday. READ  

German public shop with renewed confidence
People throng the halls of the Milaneo shopping centre in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA

German public shop with renewed confidence

Consumer confidence in Germany is at its highest in 13.5 years, as the positive economic outlook and low inflation persuade consumers to open their purses, a poll found on Wednesday. READ  

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch
Locals enjoy the normally tranquil Seeburger See

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch

A couple of friends who went for a quiet spot of fishing on Lake Seeburg in Lower Saxony on Monday got the fright of their life when they pulled up their net to find an artillery shell inside. READ  

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday
Leipzig's impressive skyline. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday

This weekend the city of Leipzig is celebrating its 1,000th anniversary, since it was first mentioned by the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015. The Local gives some insight into one of Germany's most vibrant cities. READ  

Police tighten borders ahead of German G7
File photo: DPA

Police tighten borders ahead of German G7

German authorities have reintroduced border controls two weeks before the leaders of the G7 economies gather in Elmau, southern Bavaria. READ  

North Germany feels pain of Russia sanctions
Photo: DPA file photo

North Germany feels pain of Russia sanctions

Schleswig Holstein's exports to Russia have dropped by 31 percent, state finance minister Reinhard Meyer said in comments reported by the Hamburger Abendblatt on Tuesday. READ  

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq
The twin brothers are both reported to have died in suicide attacks. Photo: Dabiq magazine

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq

German twins from Castrop-Rauxel in North Rhine-Westphalia have died fighting for the Islamist group Isis in Iraq, the militia's official magazine reported in its latest publication. READ  

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink
Photo: DPA

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink

Thieves have stolen toilet seats, taps and loo paper holders from the new interior ministry building in Berlin, making it difficult for mandarins to get comfortable in their new surroundings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
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

6,641
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd