Islam and homosexuality may strike many Muslims and even non-Muslims as an oxymoron, an impossible identity. How can one reconcile the Islamic faith with an orientation that continues to be viewed by the majority of Muslims today as a “disease” from the West, a form of cultural imperialism and the epitome of decadence and immorality? “A Jihad for Love,” a 2007 documentary by Parvez Sharma and the fifth film in the Queer Arab Film Festival, tackles this highly controversial, taboo, and thorny topic.
This film portrays the personal, social, and spiritual challenges that Muslim gays and lesbians face when trying to reconcile their faith with their sexuality. It also tells the story of the first openly gay Imam in the world, Muhsin Hendricks from South Africa, who struggled for many years to accept his homosexuality and see it as compatible with his religious and spiritual calling. His moving story shows us that the biggest struggle of all is the struggle within the self to be the best person possible, true to one’s religion and to one’s sexuality. Through this documentary, one learns that it is indeed quite possible to be both gay and still remain a devout Muslim.
– Professor Sahar Amer
Chair, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Sydney
This is the second video in a series promoting the Queer Arab Film Festival at the University of Sydney, curated by Professor Sahar Amer and supported by The Project A Continuing Spring: Arab and Australian views on social justice, equal economic development and cultures of freedom. The Project A Continuing Spring is sponsored by the Council for Australian Arab Relations.
Watch an interview with Parvez Sharma here.