250+ Attend MPAC’s ‘Afternoon with Bassem Youssef’ in LA

June 26, 2012

This past Saturday afternoon, the Muslim Public Affairs Council hosted more than 250 people at the IMAN Cultural Center to meet Bassem Youssef, "the Egyptian Jon Stewart," and take part in a taping of his upcoming Ramadan series -- “America in Arabic.” Joining Youssef on stage was Mike Batayeh, comedian and actor who can currently be seen on “Breaking Bad,” Oud virtuoso Naser Musa and other local American Muslim talent.

Youssef held a candid and funny conversation with the audience about the future of Egypt and the current political landscape. He sarcastically made the case that Egypt was left with two of the best possible candidates, the military backed Ahmed Shafik and Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, and he comically attempted to explain why Egypt had a bright future ahead with either of them at the helm.

On a more serious note, he addressed the Arab and American Muslim struggle with Islamophobia and drew parallels between their struggles and those of other historically disenfranchised American communities, including the Jewish and African American communities. At different points in American history, he suggested that American Muslims should learn from how other communities came together, organized and became strong political and cultural forces.

SEE: Photo Album of “Afternoon with Bassem Youssef” (Facebook)

“We are so honored to host Dr. Youssef during this historic time in Egypt,” said Deana Nassar, MPAC’s Hollywood Liaison. “We know the power that comedy and political satire can have on shaping public opinion and we are delighted that Bassem Youssef’s voice will be present to challenge the political discourse and act as a sounding board for the Egyptian populace. It is a critical element in this transition towards real democratic change.”

MPAC would like to give a special thanks to our community partners and cosponsors, including Dr. Mohamed Hassanin of Premier Clinical Research, the Levantine Cultural Center, the Egyptian American Organization, the Young Egyptian American Professionals and the IMAN Cultural Center for hosting the event at their facility.

Youssef, a cardiothoracic surgeon who assisted the wounded during the Tahrir Square uprising, became known throughout the Middle East for his humor, intelligence and wit. In March 2011, he launched a satirical show, “The B+ Show,” in Egypt in response to the revolution and the Syrian uprising. The show has received more than 50 million views on YouTube.



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