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A Jihad for Love

ON DVD

Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival, 2007
Official Selection, Berlin International Film Festival, 2008
Winner, Best Documentary, Mix Brasil
Winner, Best Documentary, Image+Nation, Montreal

The story of Islam is told by its most unlikely storytellers...
Filmed in twelve different countries and in nine languages, 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, the film brings to light the hidden lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Muslims and goes where the silence has been loudest, to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, as well as to Turkey, France, India, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom.

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 the Western personae of "gay," the filmmaker says that 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 are not willing to abandon a faith they cherish. Instead, they struggle to reconcile their belief with the innate reality of their being. The international chorus of gay, lesbian and transgender Muslims brought together by A Jihad for Love does not seek to vilify or reject Islam, but rather to negotiate a new relationship to it.

It was a difficult decision for the subjects under threat of violence to participate in the film. According to the filmmaker, Parvez Sharma, those who came forward to tell their stories felt that Islam is at a tipping point and thus they were willing to take the risk. The documentary creates a new language of affirmation, breaks down walls of silence and re-addresses the role of religious fundamentalism in daily life.

Producer Sandi DuBowski was director/producer of the award-winning and groundbreaking film Trembling Before G_d. A Jihad for Love was co-produced by five major international broadcasters, Channel 4 (UK), ZDF/ARTE (France/Germany), SBS (Australia) and LOGO (USA).