Why we fled Iran

Khorsandi backs refugee benefit

Comedian Shappi Khorsandi has spoken of how her family was forced out of Iran because her father criticised the Ayatollah.

And she says she gets angry when she sees how other refugees coming to Britain are treated.

She said: "My family was forced out of Iran after my father, a satirist, wrote humorous poems and articles criticising the Ayatollah causing the Hezbollah to demand his execution.

"We were given sanctuary in Britain. I get very angry about attitudes towards refugees today and how they are treated. I wish people would realise that you only leave your homeland, your family, and your language for another country when you're absolutely desperate."

Or, as she says in her act, "We didn't come here for the bloody weather."

Khorsandi's comments came to promote a comedy night in aid of the Refugee Council at London's Comedy Store on May 20, at which she will be performing.

She said: "Until you lose your freedom of expression you never truly value it. I cherish the fact that I can go on stage and express my views on the world and poke fun in any way I want."

The line-up at the benefit also includes fellow Iranian comic Omid Djalili, Muslim comedienne Shazia Mirza, plus Adam Bloom, Paul Thorne and MC Jeff Innocent

Last year, the event raised more than £5,000 for he Refugee Council.

Spokesman Fazil Kawani said: "Refugees are not a problem but an asset ­ as we can see from the performers on stage tonight including two very funny comedians both forced out of Iran.

"The audience will benefit from their comic talent and the money raised will benefit other refugees persecuted out of their homelands and trying to re-build their lives here."

For tickets to the No Laughing Matter gig, priced £15, call the Refugee Council on 020 7820 3034.

Published: 30 Apr 2002

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