On Thursday, March 5, dozens of Duhawks and citizens of Dubuque flocked to the Ballrooms to see Azhar Usman, a comedian hailed as “America’s Funniest Muslim.”
Azhar came to do more than just tell jokes, though. Children of Abraham, an interfaith organization in Dubuque, was the main sponsor in getting Azhar to Loras. Children of Abraham hosts various opportunities for interreligious dialog throughout the year, and Azhar’s comedy routine was one of them.
Most people wouldn’t think that a comedian would bring more than laughs, but Azhar was invited to campus, according to Stacia McDermott, Peace and Justice Coordinator and Children of Abraham board member, because “he’s able to break down religious, cultural, and racial differences in a way that is both amusing and insightful.” And he certainly did.
In a hilarious comedy routine with constant laughter, he was able to talk about the sensitive topics of religion and ethnicity, topics that often are used to divide us, while still having great material on a variety of topics like airports and parenting. Children of Abraham saw the night as a huge success, filling up most of the seats in the Ballrooms. He finished to a well-deserved standing ovation and then had some time for Q&A with community members.
Junior Sammy Eckrich, a Children of Abraham intern, said after the show that she thought Azhar was very well received.
“It was not just a display of Midwestern hospitality but that he really struck something in our funny bones, our minds, and our hearts,” said Eckrich.
She hopes that more people will become aware of what Children of Abraham are doing in the community and will be able to join them at more events.
“This is an opportunity to continue the discussion about religious and cultural differences, attack issues of inequity together as a community, and take more steps toward simply seeing one another as human beings,” said Eckrich.
Children of Abraham’s next event is a Muslim scripture study on March 19 at the Tri-State Islamic Center.