New documentary features gay Muslim experience

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

A number of movies set in the Middle East have been shown during this week’s Toronto International Film Festival, but only one of them focuses on gay Muslims.

That film, A Jihad For Love, is a documentary Indian filmmaker Parvez Sharma drafted in the six years following the September 11th 2001 attacks in New York.

In that time, Sharma followed the experiences of gay Muslims in 12 countries, including India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa and France.

“We are presenting Islam’s most unlikely storytellers,” Sharma told the Hollywood Reporter.

A Jihad For Love faces some stiff competition at the 10-day-long Toronto event, during which 300-400 films are shown at approximately 23 screens in downtown venues.

More than a handful of those hundreds of films focus on the Middle East this year, including Nick Broomfield’s Battle for Haditha, Brian DePalma’s Redacted and Paul Haggis’ In The Valley of Elah.

Not that Sharma is worried. “Hollywood and the mainstream film industry are jumping on the Muslim bandwagon and making films around Islam because of the U.S.. involvement in Iraq,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.

“But I feel that a lot of films that are made about Muslims are mediated through Western eyes.”

Sharma’s film, on the other hand, aims to empower “a community that has been silenced, allowing them to tell the story about Islam.”

Chrys Hudson © 2007; All Rights Reserved.