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Believers unite to combat religious jokes and jabs

Published: Monday, Nov. 11 2013 11:10 p.m. MST

Farsad tells one joke about herself and a Jewish ex-boyfriend: She sees a man across the dance floor and tells her friend that the man is Jewish. Confused, her friend asks her how she knows this.

“Because he’s spinning a dreidel,” Farsad answers.

It’s a joke she feels comfortable telling in front of all audiences “because I’m putting myself in a scenario and I’m talking about our relationship,” she said.

Banding together

Farsad said jokes against one religious group could hurt all believers.

“A slight toward a Muslim is a slight towards so many racial groups,” she said.

It’s similar for Jewish and Mormon cultures. Adlerstein said Jewish people understand they need to unite when facing these kinds of issues.

“We’ve known to watch each other’s backs,” he said.

Adlerstein also said insults and jokes based on religious stereotypes shouldn't overly affect believers.

“When you were a kid in the playground and some kid made a joke about your mother, it didn’t shake your confidence in your mother,” he said.

Adlerstein said finding a way to make it through insults makes the believer stronger.

“Every time a believer in anything is challenged and has to do more than draw back and open up to the challenge and face it and respond to it, then they do become stronger,” he said.

Givens said Mormons are unique from many other faith groups because their community is quickly growing. With different cultures of Mormons — from those in New York, California and Utah — it helps LDS believers form a united front against any insults that come their way.

“It’s one thing to be an object of ridicule if you’re alone in a crowd,” Givens said.

Farsad said her movie and comedy tour was but a small step to combat negative stereotypes of Muslims. She doesn't expect jokes at the expense of Muslims to go away anytime soon.

But she sees a solution.

“What we should do as Americans? We should say, 'Is this material actually bigotry or is it satire?'” Farsad said. “It does feel like if more people did this, just on a small scale of knowing their neighbors, we would all be in better shape.”

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

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