A display of comedy and creativity cheered up a large Washingtonian audience with laughter, fun and satire as American Muslim Institution and Sixth and I cultural center Historic Synagogue co-hosted an evening with comedian Hasan Minhaj, and author Wajahat Ali.
Minhaj and author Wajahat Ali entertained the multi-ethnic gathering as well as spotlighted the potential and challenges facing the American society. With their hilarious descriptions they presented a light-hearted commentary on the state of affairs.
“Minhaj and Ali represent the best of American Muslims – they are the real face of the community like thousands of professionals serving the United States in different fields” said AMI President Ambassador Islam Siddiqui.
The many rounds of applause that boomed across the beautifully decorated Sixth & I historic synagogue hall showed how much the gathered crowd enjoyed the presentations by the two celebrities.
Some of the topical issues from the national life, such as recent instances of discrimination against Muslims and Jewish communities, resonated with the audience.
Wajahat Ali entertained the crowd with his faux presentation of president Trump’s upcoming speech to the Muslim world in Riyadh.
In addition to his digs at president Trump, Minhaj also mocked Dr. Ben Carson, wondering how he actually managed to get his medical license. Dr. Carson had been at the recent White House Correspondents Dinner at which Minhaj was a presenter.
There was a lot of humorous self-joking. Both Minhaj, who is of Indian origin, and Ali, who is from Pakistan, often punctuated their jokes with references to “Desi” (local Indian and Pakistani) habits and weird sounding jargon.
To the delight of the audience, Minhaj also shared his experience of handling the unique opportunity of having a fun-making spree at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which President Trump skipped. He described how he made it to the role – coveted by many but performed by a few – and how out of curiosity he even went into the room, where President Trump was supposed to be.
“This is our contribution. That is the kind of thing, we wish to do, and achieve, a reaching out and connecting with all of America, not just confine ourselves, although the primary function of the AMI remains to foster a positive projection of American Muslims,” Dr. Aquilur Rahman, Chairman of the AMI Board, said.
The profound symbolism of the evening clearly underscored how much America benefits from skills and achievements of immigrants including American Muslims. This also drove home the message that America must remain a place where gifted people from around the world come to realize the American Dream and, in the process, enrich the country with their achievements.
It was a sold out event, attended by over 800. This marked the beginning of what is hoped will be on-going collaboration between American Muslim Institution (AMI) and Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, a beautiful location in Washington D.C. that holds many cultural events of broad interest.