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The Arabian Knights - 2003-06-14

These days, when you think of the Middle East, the last thing that may come to your mind is comedy and humor. However, comedy is universal, and the Arabian Knights hope to entertain, as well as educate, their audience.

In a time when things are very tense in the Middle East, the show was conceived as a gesture of healing, a gesture of peace. Recently, the Arabian Knights performed at the DC Improv to a packed house.

Egyptian-born, California-raised, Ahmed Ahmed talked about flying in the US. "You have no idea how rough it is to be an Arab these days," he said, looking out at the crowd. "I went to the airport to check in. The man at the ticket counter said, 'Are these your bags?' I said, 'Yes, sir.' He said, 'Did you pack them yourself?' I said, 'Yes, sir.' They arrested me." Of course, it was only a joke. However, Mr. Ahmed shed some light on life for many Arab-Americans after September 11.

Aron Kader, who grew up in Utah with a Palestinian father and Mormon-American mother, said "I want to help change the image of the Palestinians in America - to show that we are assimilated, that we can laugh at ourselves just like everybody else." At one point Mr. Kader yelled out "I am a Palestinian - Mormon, where are my people?" After some silence his parents, who were in the audience, yelled back "Hi Aron!"

Maz Jobrani, who was born in Iran and is Persian, was the headliner for the night and joked about everything from dating to living in LA. Mr. Jobrani closed the evening by saying that in every culture there are some people who hate for any reason, and he encouraged the crowd to "counter the hate with some love."