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A Jihad for Love
In a time when Islam is under tremendous attack from within and without, A JIHAD FOR LOVE is a daring documentary filmed in twelve countries and nine languages. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma has gone where the silence is loudest, filming with great risk in nations where government permission to make this film was not an option.
A JIHAD FOR LOVE is the world's first feature documentary to explore the complex global intersections between Islam and homosexuality. Parvez enters the many worlds of Islam by illuminating multiple stories as diverse as Islam itself. The film travels a wide geographic arc presenting us lives from India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa and France. Always filming in secret and as a Muslim, Parvez makes the film from within the faith, depicting Islam with the same respect that the film's characters show for it.
||Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen|
||Arabic, English, French, Farsi, Urdu, Hindi, Turkish|
|Number of Discs:
||FIRST RUN FEATURES|
|DVD Release Date:
||April 21, 2009|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 7 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
( 7 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 found the following review helpful:
A Struggle For LoveApr 26, 2009
By James Morris
Director Parvez Sharma spent more than five years traveling throughout the Muslim world and interviewing lesbians and gay men about their life, their faith and their fears as followers of Islam. The results are enlightening, heart rendering and, at times, shocking. Like the documentary about gay people in the Orthodox Jewish world, Trembling Before G-D, A Jihad For Love restricts itself to the paradox of religious followers of a faith that seemingly rejects their existence. Of course, the penalty for homosexuality is far more severe in countries ruled by Sharia law, but it is amazing to see and learn how the faithful deal with what must seem like overwhelming obstacles in simple things that gay people in the Western world take for granted.
I learned quite a bit from this film that I was previously unaware of, such as the fact that Turkey, although overwhelmingly Muslim, has no laws forbidding homosexuality, and attitudes there concerning homosexuality have always been more relaxed than other parts of the Muslim world. I also was under the false impression, as many Westerners are, that jihad means "Holy war". It actually means "struggle". Thus the film's title is quite apt, and because the film's creator / director is himself a member of the Muslim faith, the film exudes an aura of self-assured confidence, familiarity and respect for its subject matter that many documentaries cannot hope to achieve. In modern Pakistan, of all places, the Sufi sect celebrates the love of a 16th century poet and Sufi saint, Shah Hussain, for a Brahmin boy named Madho Lal. Each year on his urs (death anniversary) their love is celebrated through ritual dances held in the shrine near the tomb of the two lovers. The scenes of Muslims dancing and celebrating this love are jarring, and totally at odds with what many in the West have come to expect from the Muslim world.
One of the most striking things about this documentary is how Mr. Sharma managed to get the men and women interviewed in the film to openly talk about themselves, although most of their faces are not shown. Even though a gay Muslim himself, it must have been very difficult to gain their trust. More striking still is the devotion to their religion that these people still have, and one contrast with Western culture is how close they still are to their parents, and how accepting their fundamentalist parents seem to be, despite the cultural and religious taboos against same-sex love. That is to say, many of the gay people profiled in the film are still close to their families, whereas in Fundamentalist Christian families, many gay children are rejected by their parents completely. There is even a wonderful segment where a Turkish lesbian brings her partner to meet her mother.
There is also a scene where a South African Muslim confronts an Imam, and tells him that the verse in the Qur'an which condemns homosexuality (there is only one, outside of the story of Sodom & Gomorrah) is open to interpretation. The Imam responds that the only portion of Muslim law about homosexuality that is open to interpretation is the severity of the punishment to be inflicted. Such complete close-mindedness will not surprise anyone who has ever tried to argue gay rights with a Christian fundamentalist. It has long been my understanding that one of the most severe problems with homosexuality and Islam is that the Muslim religion has no central leadership, in that almost anyone who is a member of Islam can study to be an Imam and so become a spiritual leader and recognized as an authority on the Muslim religion and what it teaches. As such, many of the leaders of the Islam faith are those who are most fundamental in their interpretation, although the term Imam itself differs completely depending on whether one is a Sunni or a Shiite, the two largest sects in Islam. This documentary is extremely eye-opening, shedding light on what heretofore has only been a shadowy world of isolation and self-hate. It is sure to engender discussion among Westerners, and may even result in some dialogue within the Muslim world. And at least that's a start. Highly recommended.
5 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Oh!! The Things You'll Learn!Apr 26, 2009
This is (Not Without My Daughter..another good film..) so marvelously splendid..The absolute beauty of Iran and Egypt by night.The raw and powerful,emotional and moving stories of Mazem,Ferda,Amir,their punishments.The glorious and rare glimpse of Sufi church services,facts about Muslims in the countries of France,Egypt,India,(a turn on..) Bangladesh,Pakistan..The moving story of the celebration of the love between Shah Husain and Madho Lal.Makes al-Suhaq look pretty good if you ask me.Let's all use Ijtihad (independent reasoning) to go on a Jihad ul-Nafs: A struggle with the self.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
A looking behind stonewallSep 19, 2010
It was interesting to see how gays and lesbians in prominently Muslim countries view themselves and their religion. A Jihad For Love does not just focus on gay men as many studies, reports and documentaries but also gives us a view into what life is like for lesbian Muslims. However, I have two problems with the film. The first being the lack of depth for the people in the film. We see people in the park but very little information about who they are, where they comes from and the react from friends and family. Also the camera work at times was out of focus and very shaky. It will be interesting to see where the subjects are and if they have found inner peace in a few years.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
"Why does the sky have to be the same color for everyone?"Jun 17, 2010
By Matthew G. Sherwin
A Jihad for Love showcases the plight and suffering of the gay and lesbian community in countries where Islam is practiced; the laws of Islam dictate that homosexuality is illegal, immoral and sick and that gay people should (or at least could) even be stoned to death for their "sins!" The film is an excellent documentary that lets us meet several gay and lesbian people, some in relationships and others not, who must struggle to reconcile their Islamic faith with their being gay or lesbian. Some of them are expatriates and others still live in Islamic countries and chose to hide their faces for fear of retribution from the local police and other legal authorities. I truly felt that I knew these people by the time the film ended and the bonus features helped me even more to understand their struggle and the situation for gay and lesbian Muslims, even in our country. In addition, the cinematography is excellent and the film moves along at a good pace; it moves neither too slowly nor too quickly and the interviews with these gay and lesbian people make them stand out as human beings with rights and that's terrific.
The film essentially consists of interviews with gay and lesbian Muslims; they all bravely and honestly tell their stories in such a way that it's impossible not to empathize with them and their struggle. One interesting situation is that of a lesbian couple who live apart in separate countries, getting together from time to time yet, at least for one of them, unable to accept that being Muslim and being homosexual can go together. We also see how one man received one hundred lashes for being gay. Another brave soul, who was married and has visitation rights with his children, explores his children's feelings about homosexuality and the results are powerful and moving at once. We also see (in one of the bonus features) a relatively new organization of gay and lesbian Muslims in the United States where they are respected more and are able to organize more openly than in other countries.
Overall, I highly recommend this film for anyone studying gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender issues. It does fall somewhat short of discussing transgender issues but it's still a good film; at least we do see how one man dresses up as a woman to essentially belly dance in a Parisian restaurant. This is also an enlightening film for anyone who wants to understand the religion of Islam as it relates to homosexuality and its other religious laws in general.
3 of 4 found the following review helpful:
I think this is the film..Apr 07, 2009
By Original Serpent Goddess Ua Zit
that I helped fund with my measly 200 buck donation to the Hartley Film foundation.I'm kind of proud of that so I'm bragging.SO anyways..since it's a groundbreaking film,it's a must see.Gender is neutral (Sufism is pretty neat..)in Allah:Not a he or a she.Pretty cool.I like Not Without My Daughter as a movie. Dangerous Living - Coming Out in the Developing World is also about this kind of thing."There is no he,there is no she" a Sufi once said that I think..
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