The difficult art having a laugh with Allah

For today’s Westerners, ‘Islamic humour’ seems almost an oxymoron – but have you heard the one about crying over a kabob?

The controversy and violence generated a while back when cartoons referring to the prophet Mohammed were published – first in the Danish magazine Jyllands Posten and later in the French publication Charlie Hebdo – reinforced the idea that the Muslim community lacks a sense of humor. In fact, many people even believe that comedy is banned in Islam. And yet Islam is perfectly capable of having a laugh – in its own way. There is no single Muslim community. There is one God, Allah, and one sacred text, the Koran, but there are many differences between Muslim countries, languages and even generations. There is, essentially, a pluralistic Islam, which is the kind of situation we encounter in Muslim communities who are part of the western diaspora.

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