Speed Date a Muslim / Comedy Festival at the Coopers Malthouse

20 April 2018


Looking for love in all the wrong places? Hoping to find that special someone to make your heart flutter? Well, Speed Date a Muslim is probably not for you…

But if you want to learn more about Muslim faith, ask questions in a judgement free environment or just enjoy connecting with people from a different perspective, this event may be right up your alley.

We sat down with human-rights activist, restaurateur and founder of Speed Date a Muslim, Hanna Assafiri, to learn a bit more about what attendees can expect.

What inspired you to start SDAM?

The backdrop was increased hostility, increased incidents of violence and aggression towards Muslim women. So verbal abuse and attacks on the street.

And it was us taking responsibility beyond… being the apologist ‘oh it’s only the peaceful religion,’ and/or blaming everything on the West. This reactionary politic doesn’t serve anybody and doesn’t make for change.

The vision was simply naïve; to bring people together and kind of say ‘hey, whatever’s unsettling you, let’s engage with it and here’s an opportunity to ask any questions.’ Nothing is off topic, nothing is ridiculous.

What is the aim of the project?

To engage a community and to offer platforms where we can go beyond whipping up fear and hostility of one another and those who we were once curious about. And what I mean specifically is about Islamophobia. 

So we wanted to invite the community to engage with our humanity essentially and our connectedness as people. No matter whether you wear a thing on your head or if you’re butt-naked, essentially we’re trying to get through life, and I think when you humanise the very things people are made afraid of, they will almost always connect.

Why do you focus on sharing the stories and experiences of women?

We have these spaces and places inside Islam that are uniquely women’s spaces, where we find empowerment as well as democracy, humanity, human rights etc.

So the departure from those principles is had by misogyny, in the way it plays itself out across the globe. Whether it be Isis or whatever dude is running Iran or whatever, these aren’t reflections of Australia, these are reflections of male systems which subjugate women.

What has been the response to SDAM?

It’s taken off like wildfire! People are ultimately, I find, wired for good, and when you offer those places and spaces, they take them up. When you’re only offering up fear and hostility then we don’t even give one another the opportunity to do better.

Not only is Hanna a passionate activist, she also somehow manages to find the time to run the hugely popular Moroccan Soup Bar. This year The Coopers Malthouse has been lucky enough to host this incredible institution which has ensured that none of our guests have been laughing on an empty stomach.

If you’re interested in getting in on a round of speed dating or just want to try some of the delicious food and see a show, come along The Malthouse and finish your comedy festival with a bang!

All are welcome, but to guarantee your spot please RSVP at comedy@malthousetheatre.com.au.

WHAT / Speed Date a Muslim
WHEN / 4pm, Saturday 21 April
WHERE / The Coopers Malthouse Courtyard