Comedy, the Sacred and Islamophobia

In what way does comedy dismantle power?

Programme editor
Programme editor
In cooperation with
Maryam Namazie

Stand-up comedian, writer and columnist Shabana Rehman is known for her Mullah-Lifting. By lifting Mullah Krekar she wants to show the world that a person who can be lifted is not dangerous and does not need to be feared. Together with her, Armin Nabavi and Ali Rizvi discuss the role of satire and accusations of Islamophobia to silence blasphemy.

In what way does comedy dismantle power? Some say that one should not be making fun of what is deemed a minority religion in the West. Always punch up, but never down. Or is mocking someone in jokes and conversations an act of inclusion, by assuming a fair level playing field?


Shabana Rehman is a Pakistani born Norwegian stand-up comedian, writer and columnist. She is known for her Mullah-Lifting. She received enormous publicity after lifting Mullah Krekar. Her own reason for doing this stunt was: A person that can be lifted is not that dangerous. She also flashed her naked bottom saying “I want to show that in Norway, you can do such things without being lynched or arrested.”

Ali Rizvi is a Pakistani-born Canadian ex-Muslim writer and podcaster who explores the challenges of Muslims who leave their faith. Rizvi is the author of The Atheist Muslim: A Journey From Religion to Reason published in 2016. It is a combination of personal biography and analysis of arguments in favour of rejecting Islam.

Armin Navabi is a former Muslim and the founder of the Atheist Republic, a non-profit organisation with over one million fans and followers worldwide. Armin started as a dedicated Muslim, and even attempted suicide when he was 12 because this would get him into a heaven. But after searching for God for many years, Armin’s journey led him to leave Islam and to become an atheist. Armin is the author of the bestselling book “Why There Is No God: Simple Responses to 20 Common Arguments for the Existence of God”.


Sherin SeydaModerator


Shabana Rehman
Ali Rizvi
Armin Navabi