Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi has called on comedians to advocate freedom of religion.
Mandvi hosted the Stand Up for Religious Freedom comedy night in Manhattan on Monday alongside fellow comics John Oliver and Rory Albanese.
He told PopEater that he is concerned with a perceived increase in Islamaphobia in the US in recent months.
"We're all so hysterical about Islam right now in this country and there is so much Islamaphobia going on," he said. "It is worse than after 9/11 with all the fear mongering."
Mandvi revealed that he was inspired to hold the event in the wake of the recent media controversy surrounding an Islamic Centre that may be built near Ground Zero in New York City.
He explained: "I thought if I could get a bunch of comedians together to donate money to Pakistani flood relief then it would be a quick and easy way to make a statement. We wanted to do something that was about creating community.
"The impetus for the show came from all the fear-mongering especially around the Ground Zero mosque issue. We felt like we had to say something and do something in response to that." (More)