Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Jihad for Love

This documentary, co-produced by the director of Trembling before G–d, explores the struggles intrinsic to being a gay or lesbian Muslim, with interviews in 12 countries and 7 languages (all subtitled in English, of course). One of the interviewees was on the "Queen Boat" in Cairo when it was raided by police, sending 52 men to prison for terms up to several years. Another, a lesbian now living in Paris, is still struggling with the belief that her own sexuality is forbidden by God, with the hope that He will somehow cure her. Yet another, an openly gay imam in South Africa, faces excommunication for speaking out against the hard-line interpretation of Shari'a law, although he explains that only two verses in the entire Quran make oblique references to "the cities of the plain" (Sodom and Gomorrah), whose sins were of rape and robbery, not anything remotely similar to a consensual homosexual relationship. Another interview focuses on a young woman in Egypt who takes her girlfriend to meet her mother, a happy 80-year-old lesbian with a lesbian pet parrot.

Unfortunately, I found it a trifle jumpy, skipping from one interview to another and back around again. Still, the insight into a dark corner of Islam is invaluable, coming from a perspective that Islam and homosexuality can be reconciled. Recommended.

A Jihad for Love, dir. Parvez Sharma, 2007 USA/Germany/UK/Australia, 81 min. video

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