Sunday, 6 April 2008

A Jihad for Love

A documentary on gay, lesbian, and transgender Muslims across the Muslim and Western worlds has received its London premiere at the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

Plot summary by the Director, Parvez Sharma:

In a time, when Islam is under tremendous attack-from within and without, 'A Jihadfor Love' is a daring documentary, filmed in twelve countries and nine languages.

Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma has gone where the silence is strongest, filming with great risk in nations where government permission to make this film was not an option.

A Jihad for Love is the first-ever feature-length documentary to explore the complex global intersections of Islam and homosexuality. With unprecedented access and depth, Sharma brings to light the hidden lives of gay and lesbian Muslims from countries like Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, France, India, and South Africa.

The majority of gay and lesbian Muslims must travel a lonely and often dangerous road. In many nations with a Muslim majority, laws based on Quranic interpretations are enforced by authorities to monitor, entrap, imprison, torture and even execute homosexuals. Even for those who migrate to Europe or North America and adopt Western personae of "gay," the relative freedoms of new homelands are mitigated by persistent racial profiling and intensified state surveillance after the terrorist attacks in New York, London and Madrid.

As a result, many gay and lesbian Muslims end up renouncing their religion. But the real-life characters of A Jihad for Love aren't willing to abandon a faith they cherish despite its flaws. Instead, they struggle to reconcile their ardent belief with the innate reality of their being.

The international chorus of gay and lesbian Muslims brought together by A Jihad for Love doesn't seek to vilify or reject Islam, but rather negotiate a new relationship to it. In doing so, the film's extraordinary characters point the way for all Muslims to move beyond the hostile, war-torn present, toward a more hopeful future.

As one can imagine, it was a difficult decision for the subjects to participate in the film due to the violence they could face. However, those who have come forward to tell their stories feel this film is too important for 1.4 billion Muslims and non-Muslims around the world for them to say no. They are willing to take the risk in their quest to lay equal claim to their profoundly held faith.

"A Jihad for Love' is produced by Sandi DuBowski (Director of Trembling Before G-d) in association with ZZDF-Arte Channel 4, and LOGO.

  • Director's blog, where he writes

    London Kills Me ; )
    With its warmth and affection for this work...
    800 people in two packed, sold out screenings. Many Muslims, all engaged and the impact of the film here at the BFI has clearly been huge. Now onwards to Copehagen, Stockholm, Istanbul, San Sebastian and Turin.

  • A Jihad for Love Website


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