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Stop the suffering and Free Palestine: SNL host Ramy Youssef | The Express Tribune

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With both Ramazan and Easter coinciding this weekend, the brand new Saturday Night Live host Ramy Youssef focused his debut message on this week’s show on the war in Palestine with an emotional plea to “stop the suffering” and “stop the violence”, reported Entertainment Weekly. 

“This is an incredibly spiritual weekend,” began the Ramy creator and Poor Things actor as he hosted the show for the first time on March 30. “We’re in the holy month of Ramadan. Tomorrow is Easter. And yesterday, Beyoncé released a new album. There’s just so many religions celebrating all at once.” 

Turning to the power of prayer, Youssef spoke about his own faith as he went on to tell the audience, “In my friend group, I’m one of the only guys who prays. I’m friends with a lot of sinners — like, just disgusting people. And they call me when they’re in trouble because they want me to pray for them.”

According to the publication, Youssef then joked about a friend in the middle of a custody battle over his dog, before detailing a call from another friend, Ahmed, who asked Youssef to pray for his family in Gaza. A vocal advocate for peace in Palestine, Youssef said, “I’m like, ‘Dude, I got you.’ So that night, I go to pray, and my prayers are…complicated. I’ve got a lot to fit in. I’m like, ‘God, please, please help Ahmed’s family. Please stop the suffering. Stop the violence. Please free the people of Palestine, please.’”

Amidst the cheers of the live audience, Youssef added, “’And please free the hostages, all the hostages, please.’” Jokingly, he added, “‘And while you’re at it, you know, free Mr. Bojangles. He’s a beautiful dog. I’m praying for that dog.’”

Youssef was one of many attendees who wore an Artists for Ceasefire pin to the Academy Awards in March. “We’re calling for immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza,” he had told Variety on the red carpet at the time. 

“We’re calling for peace and lasting justice for the people of Palestine. It’s a universal message of, ‘Let’s stop killing kids. Let’s not be part of more war.’ No one has ever looked back at war and thought a bombing campaign was a good idea. To be surrounded by so many artists who are willing to lend their voices… the list is growing. A lot of people are going to be wearing these pins tonight. There’s a lot of talking heads on the news. This is a space of talking hearts. We’re trying to have this big beam to humanity,” he continued. 

Born in New York to Egyptian parents who emigrated to the United States, Youssef’s television series Ramy, which he both created and starred in as the title character, debuted in 2019. Mirroring his own life, the show tells the story of a first–generation millennial American born to immigrant parents in the United States. Youssef received a Golden Globe in January 2020 for the role. 

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