I was the girl who did everybody's homework, but I was also, like, student council president and yearbook editor and, like, all-around overachiever. Like, I'm disabled, but I can do anything.
I think that social media has really empowered bullies because you get to do it from the comfort of your own home, completely anonymously, with no ramifications.
My friend and I founded the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival to counter the negative images of Arabs in media. And we always made sure that the comedy came first. So we weren't a bunch of Arabs trying to be funny. We were a bunch of comedians who just happened to be of Arab heritage.
I think there's a backlash against minorities in this country and that part of what caused that was the fact that a black man became president. And a certain portion of the privileged population think their privilege is at stake, and they want it back.
I think religion is very personal. I definitely identify as Muslim. I consider myself practicing, but I don't think people who observe me from the outside would think of me as devout, and that doesn't bother me because one of the beauties of Islam is the fact that it is personal: you read the Koran, and what you believe is what you believe.
The Palestine I know is a place where Christians and Muslims are equal. My mother, a Muslim village girl, attended a Catholic girls' school in Ramallah, and my refugee husband spent the Second Intifada side by side with his Christian brothers from Bethlehem.
From fear to bonding with the audience to getting more open - that's what standup is. It humanises you.
I am a hardcore foodie, which means I love to eat. I was also born with cerebral palsy, which means I shake all the time - so cooking is not my thing, as I am banned from being around knives and fire. Those who cannot cook, watch, and I am obsessed with cooking shows.
March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Don't feel bad if you did not know that. I didn't, either, until someone recently slapped a picture of a green ribbon and a message wishing me a 'Happy CP Awareness Month' on my Facebook page. I always thought March was Women's History Month.
I was able to walk at 5. I had to be able to walk in order to be mainstreamed into public school. And my father worked day and night to teach me how to walk. And I think what's so amazing about this is the fact that he was told that I would never walk. And he decided that he was going to try.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me state that I hate Hamas. They embody everything that I, as a human being, am fighting against: oppression, religious rule, and patriarchy. They empower Israel while dividing the Palestinians.
The most obvious thing I do is I don't wear a burqa, and I'm definitely not oppressed. Plus, I'm quite obviously an independent thinker, which means as soon as I walk on stage, I dispel a lot of those stereotypes.
When I ask people what they think of when they hear the term 'cerebral palsy,' I usually get one of two responses. They either think of a smiling, crumpled child in a wheelchair on a poster or commercials on late night TV with lawyers enticing parents of CP kids to sue the pants off their obstetrician.
I think we need a Muslim 'Bachelor' or 'Bachelorette.' I think that's what would be the great equalizer, and that would change everything.
I am not naive, and I do realize that racism is alive and well in the United States of America. I am also fully aware that when segregation ended, we didn't all live happily ever after. No one can convince me, however, that life in America would be better if blacks and whites had stayed separate and unequal.
The people that I grew up with had no problem with my faith. They did, however, seem very concerned that I would starve to death during Ramadan. I would explain to them that I have enough fat to live off of for three whole months, so fasting from sunrise to sunset is a piece of cake.
It became very obvious to me that in the United States of America, a fluffy ethnic disabled chick was never going to get a job unless she did stand-up.
In 2006, I hung out with The Carter Center as they monitored the Palestinian elections. Nobody thought Hamas would win. Hamas did not think Hamas could win. The lion's share of folks I spoke to who were voting for them were not actually voting for Hamas but against Fatah.
We have been sold a Muslim boogeyman. We are buying into it, and we are terrified, and that terror is causing people to lash out at comedians like myself or women wearing hijabs, or anyone who seems to defend equality for Muslims worldwide.
I'm not trying to represent all Muslim women. I'm trying to give voice to the silent majority. Unfortunately, I'm a bit loony.