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Different faiths come together for 'Laugh in Peace' comedy show

A Christian, a Jew and a Muslim together sounds like the start of a punch line, but members of these three faiths are coming together on campus to combat stereotypes though humor.

At 8 p.m. Tuesday night in the Student Union, people of all faiths will be brought together for “Laugh in Peace,” an event that aims to facilitate dialogue and tolerance.

The show is an interfaith event co-sponsored by UNC Hillel, the Muslim Students Association, Presbyterian Campus Ministries, J-Street, RELIC and the Episcopal Campus ministries.

The event will be the first of its kind held on campus.

Muslim comic Mo Amer, Rabbi Bob Alper and UNC alumna Reverend Susan Sparks will perform and there will be a discussion after the event, which is open to all students.

UNC Hillel’s Interfaith Co-chairs said they hope the event sparks discussion.

Emily Kukura, one of the co-chairs and a co-organizer of “Laugh in Peace,” said she hopes the event will promote conversations and encourage people to ask questions they may have previously been hesitant to ask — or questions they hadn’t even thought of.

“Religion shouldn’t be a boundary for friendship and, in a broader sense, for peace,” Kukura said.

Dina Shehata, co-outreach chairwoman of the Muslim Students Association, said humor is an effective way to facilitate dialogue.

“It allows religions to come together through laughter, a simple joy in life,” she said. “When people of different faiths learn more about each other’s faith, it opens the door for more acceptance and love.”

Another organizer with Hillel, Shayna Purcell, said collaborators chose this unique approach of framing controversial topics through a comedy act to ultimately make things less intimidating.

“Humor creates a gateway through which people feel more comfortable talking about topics that are hard to discuss,” she said.

“I want the audience to understand that it’s okay to talk about these things — that they aren’t scary or bad. Hopefully this will be the initial start for people to open up and start discussing more in-depth topics.”

These religions, though different, can all learn from one another, Purcell said.

“The main thing I hope this event will produce is a sense of understanding on UNC’s campus.”

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