We spoke to the Muslim comedian who had a flight with Eric Trump. Here's what he learned.

Like most comedians, Mo Amer has included jokes about Donald Trump in his act for months.

The Muslim American stand-up comedian, whose family fled Kuwait during the Gulf War, has built a career in comedy by offering his unique comic perspective on the American experience.

Comedian Mo Amer. Photo courtesy of Mohammed Amer.


During his recent global comedy tour, Amer has referred to Donald Trump as "the world's most successful publicity stunt" and has even expressed a desire to catch a little bit of that fame and notoriety for himself.

"I just wanted a little bit of the juice!" Amer explains over Skype.

In a surprising turn of events, Amer got a lot more than that — a whole gallon of it.

While boarding a plane to Scotland, Amer was seated next to none other than Eric Trump, The Donald's second son.

"Sometimes God just sends you the material," Mohammed wrote in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.

Hey guys heading to Scotland to start the U.K. Tour and I am "randomly" chosen to sit next to non other than Eric Trump....

Posted by Mohammed Amer on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What could've been several hours of awkward silence turned into a relatively honest and open conversation, Amer says. And the conversation began with a hot-button issue too.

At the very least, Amer explained, he felt a responsibility as a comedian and as an Arab American Muslim to talk to Trump. "I just took a moment and sat down and introduced myself," Amer says.

The first thing they discussed was Donald Trump's infamous "Muslim registry" program, which would require Muslim Americans to register in a database. Not only is the plan openly racist, but it's uncomfortably reminiscent of Nazi-era registration programs imposed on Jewish people during WWII.

Donald Trump with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who said Trump's administration is working on a Muslim registry. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

"That registry thing? We're not doing that s**t," Amer says he told Eric Trump, bluntly. Trump had a laugh and, according to Amer, responded, "Don't believe everything you read."

While President-elect Donald Trump has never exactly used the words "Muslim registry," he has said that he would absolutely require Muslims to register and that, "There should be a lot of systems. Beyond databases. I mean, we should have a lot of systems."

To be clear, however, the calls for a Muslim registry have been publicly supported by a key member of the Trump transition team as well as a Trump surrogate who, on live TV, cited Japanese internment camps as precedent for the program.

All in all, it's not an invalid concern for Muslim Americans like Amer to have about what their lives might look like under a Trump administration.

Amer says he and Trump discovered they had more in common than they thought.

Trump was en route to his golf course in Scotland. "I used to love golf," Amer explains. "I was massively addicted at one point."

They also talked comedy. "He talked about stand-up; he loves stand-up," Amer says. "He found out I was touring with Chappelle and he was mentioning some of the Chappelle sketches that he liked."

Mo Amer (right) with comedian Dave Chappelle (center.) Photo courtesy of Mo Amer.

Overall, Amer says, it was a comfortable experience. "He slept comfortably the whole time," says Amer. "We only talked for like 30-40 minutes before the plane took off."

Amer walked away from the experience with a new appreciation for the value of a good conversation.

"I think people are undervaluing how important the interaction is," Amer says, explaining that because the conversation was focused on things they have in common, it never got tense.

While Eric Trump and Mohammed Amer no doubt have different views and vastly different life experiences, for a half-hour, they were able to honestly connect and develop tentatively mutual respect for one another.

"Having a really good conversation with someone you potentially have fear for… It’s really really important," Amer says. "Sometimes it helps a lot. Take opportunities to be thoughtful."

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

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