LD: Nazareth, Middle Eastern people back home and here in the States,as well as mainstream America are reading my site. I think they'd like to see an example of a Middle Eastern American who is successful.
So, tell me, how do you define yourself?
Naz: First, I'm an American, but I'm also a Middle Eastern American.
LD: Where are you originally from?
Naz: I was born in the Holy Land, and grew up in Kuwait. Dad had a construction company there. Most of my family are engineers.
LD: Why did you emigrate to the USA?
Naz: I came to the United States to attend college, in Toledo.
LD: How did you meet your wife? And is it true that you two are doubly blessed?
Naz: I went to Gaza on family business for my Dad. While there I met the sister of my cousin's fiancee. We realized that we're both born again Christians.
After 5 days of getting to know her, I asked my wife to marry me. I claim it was an arranged marriage because she arranged for the flowers and the cake. Ha! Ha! We married in Gaza in a Greek Orthodox church. Later in the US, my pastor conducted a second American ceremony in my home church.
LD: How did you get into Christian comedy?
Naz: I was a comedian before I became a Christian. In class I wasn't considered the class clown, but I always encouraged class clowns to do better. Ha!
I have a humorous outlook on the USA; I comment on life, with a moral filter.
I am the only conservative, evangelical, Middle Eastern comedian in the US.
LD: What is the purpose of your comedy, considering the fact that you refer to your heritage throughout the act?
Naz: Currently, I'm promoting my tour "Proud 2B American". http://www.thinkbigusa.net/
I aim to honor our military and their families--whether you agree with the situation or not, these are our kids overseas.
This is a Middle Eastern comedian saying THANK YOU to troops and families for their sacrifice.
From a Christian viewpoint, I also want to tell high school boys and girls to practice abstinence, and live moral lives.
Women should be treated well. A girl should be able to look forward to being the bride in a white gown one day. Our media is failing us here--it is demoralizing women.
Where's the knight in shining armor? I'd like to tell women that a man should be able to give his life to her in front of both God and man.
Part of me is comedy, but I also choose to moralize; I want to change people's lives.
LD: How do today's audiences receive you?
Naz: Very well--When I go to conservative areas like Mississippi, Kentucky, and Indiana, I explain that I'm a believer. 75% of my audience is church-going; I usually overcome their stereotypes of Middle Eastern people.
LD: What would you like the West to know about Middle Eastern Americans?
Naz: We are a diverse group. We don't all think or feel the same way. Middle Eastern people are conservative Republicans, liberal Muslims, Christians, secularists, ect.. We cannot be stereotyped into a mold, but need to be differentiated between and treated as individuals. Build your own opinions afterward.
LD: For fun, what is your favorite Middle Eastern dish and who makes it for you?
Naz: Tabbouli--my sister-in-law, chops the parsley by hand, and takes her time.
LD: That's a popular salad; it seems to be well known now.
LD: Nazareth, how are you involved with the Gaza Baptist Mission?
Naz: Previously, I told you about how and where I met my wife--in Gaza.
LD: Yes, I remember.
Naz: Dr. Hanna Masaad was my wife's pastor from the Gaza Baptist Church. My future wife told me that he was in the United States as a student. She sent me on a mission to locate him.
Not an easy job! So, I sent out an email to another Middle Eastern pastor, and within a day or so, found Dr. Masaad. At the time he was a student at Fuller Theological Seminary. We connected, and Dr. Masaad came to visit. From there we built a friendship.
After six years abroad as a student, Dr. Masaad returned to the pastor position at Gaza Baptist Church. Originally, along with other prominent Christian men, I came to be President of the board which oversaw the allocation of the funds collected for the mission in Gaza. Today, I am still involved as the board Secretary.
Recently, a new six story building was opened for the mission which includes a public library and a free women's clinic.
Ninety percent of the money raised for this project came from donations by Christians in Colorado.
Dr. Joyce Meyer donated the mammography machine.
There is also a mission run bookstore in downtown Gaza which offers computer training.
Our goal is to meet the physical and spiritual needs of all people.
For example, when school supplies are handed out, they are given to anyone who needs them.
It is a rough situation in Gaza today. You can see this from the news. Gaza is the most densely populated place on earth. There are approximately 1.6 million people living there. But, Dr. Masaad and his family have prevailed there for six years.
As Christians, we must love justice, mercy, and peace.
LD: Thank you Nazareth for your time.
To watch Nazareth on YouTube, press this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42PihbYETfg
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