Thursday, August 25, 2005

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
Uh, Well, Maybe Not
Female Comedian Lifts Mullah

From the Norwegian daily, Aftenposten (hat tip Fjordman):

Norwegian-Pakistani humorist Shabana Rehman pulled a stunt during a public debate with Mullah Krekar, the controversial former leader of the militant group Ansar al-Islam that left the religious man fuming and threatening a lawsuit. Rehman, a popular stand-up comic who specializes in material based on culture collision, picked the mullah up off the ground, an act he called a gruesome humiliation.

The bizarre incident took place during a debate about Krekar's new book, a largely autobiographical work that tries to put his life and beliefs into perspective and give an alternative look at a man constantly embroiled in accusations of terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.

Rehman, who was born in Karachi but raised in Norway since infancy, is controversial in her own right, constantly creating a stir with comedy material touching on immigration, integration, Muslim conflicts and traditions, feminism and sexual repression.

Rehman tends not to discuss her personal relationship to Islam, calling herself a "spiritual seeker" rather than religious.

On Tuesday night as the debate was winding to a close, Rehman came on stage and said she wanted to carry out a "satiric test" to find out if Mullah Krekar was as strongly fundamentalist as some of his critics believe. When he approached her, she grabbed him and lifted him up in the air.

Krekar, who said that Rehman picked him up by reaching under his buttocks, became furious, grabbed the microphone and began speaking in Norwegian for the first time that evening.

"I do not have the right to carry her like that, she has no right to carry or touch me. She displays contempt for me. I cannot accept this," Krekar said, and promised to lodge a complaint via his lawyer. He demanded that all photographs of the incident be destroyed.

Rehman, who insists she lifted him by gripping him around the legs ("the only way for a woman 163 centimeters (5'4") to pick up a man that high"), told newspaper VG she also wanted to show that if she could lift him, he could hardly be a danger to national security.

The woman gathered in the audience laughed at the stunt but panel member Lar Gule, secretary general of Norway's Humanist Ethic League protested.

"The audience does not understand what an insult Krekar has been exposed to. This is very, very serious for Krekar, and Rehman especially should understand this," Gule said.

Rehman said she wanted to see if Krekar was as tolerant and relaxed as he claims to be, and admitted that she found his reaction confusing.

Rehman said that his willingness to appear in a public debate and bring female family members along showed liberal views. Krekar's furious reaction hinted at fundamentalism but his desire to seek legal action rather than a fatwa was the behavior of a civilized person in Norway.

This chick is seriously funny. She is the Hirsi Ali of comedy.