A Jihad for Love
|A Jihad for Love|
First Run Features poster for A Jihad for Love (US)
|Directed by||Parvez Shama|
|Produced by||Sandi Simcha DuBowski,
Ioannis Mookas, assistant
|Music by||Sussan Deyhim
|Editing by||Juliet Weber|
|Distributed by||First Run Features (U.S.)|
|Running time||81 minutes|
|Language||English, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, French, Turkish, etc.|
A Jihad for Love (also known by the working title In the Name of Allah) is a 2007 documentary film on the coexistence of Islam and homosexuality. The film is directed by Parvez, and produced by Shama and Trembling Before G-d director Sandi DuBowski.
The documentary was filmed in 12 different countries and in nine languages. Shama conducted interviews throughout North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Countries included Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Turkey, France, India, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom. He found many of his interviewees online, and received thousands of emails.
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2007, and has been screened to great acclaim at several film festivals around the world. It was the Opening film for the prestigious Panorama Dokumente section of the Berlin Film Festival in February, 2008. The U.S. theatrical release was May 21, 2008 at the IFC Center in New York City. The film screened at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco on June 28, 2008, and the Tokyo International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival on July 13, 2008.
Significance of the title
The title A Jihad for Love refers to the Islamic concept of jihad, as a religious struggle. The film seeks to reclaim this concept of personal struggle, as it is used in the media almost exclusively to mean "holy war" and to refer to violent acts perpetrated by extremist Muslims.
The film has gone by several titles, beginning with the official working title, In the Name of Allah.
Among Muslims, the phrase (bismillah in Arabic) may be used before beginning actions, speech, or writing. Its most notable use in Al-Fatiha, the opening passage of the Qur'an, which begins Bismillahi r-Rahmani r-Rahim. All surahs of the Qur'an begin with "Bismillahi r-Rahmani r-Rahim," with the exception of the ninth.
Producer DuBowski's previous film, Trembling Before G-d, on Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, also included the name of God, written with a hyphen as in Jewish tradition. Allah is the name of God in Islam and Arabic, and it is often used among Muslims residing in Muslim countries and monotheists in Arabic speaking countries.
Controversy and problems
Shama's making of the film has not been without criticism.
|“||About every two weeks I get an e-mail that berates me, condemns me to hell and, if they are nice, asks me to still seek forgiveness while there is still time.||”|
Shama refuses to associate homosexuality with shame, but recognizes the need to protect the safety and privacy of his sources, by filming them in silhouette or with their faces blurred. In one case, the family of an Afghan woman he interviewed "would undoubtedly kill her" if they found out she was lesbian. In another example, one of the associate producers, an Egyptian gay man, chose not to be listed in the credits for fear of possible consequences.
The film was banned from screening at the 2008 Singapore International Film Festival "in view of the sensitive nature of the subject that features Muslim homosexuals in various countries and their struggle to reconcile religion and their lifestyle," Amy Chua, Singapore Board of Film Censors chairwoman was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.
As of May 25, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 90 percent of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 10 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 55 out of 100, based on six reviews — indicating mixed or average reviews.
- Islam and homosexuality
- Homosexuality and religion
- Gay Muslims (2006), a Channel 4 TV documentary about gay and lesbian Muslims in Britain
- Trembling Before G-d (2001), a documentary film directed Jihad for Love producer Sandi Simcha DuBowski, about Orthodox Jews who are gay or lesbian
- Fremde Haut (2005), a film about an Iranian lesbian in Germany
- Love Jihad
- 2007 in film
- "A Jihad for Love: Excerpts From A Work-In-Progress". Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved June 13, 2007.
- "A Jihad for Love". ajihadforlove.com. Retrieved June 13, 2007.
- "A Jihad for Love". Hartley Film Foundation. 2007. Retrieved February 18, 2007.
- Hays, Matthew (November 2, 2004). "Act of Faith: A Film on Gays and Islam". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2007.
- "In the Name of Allah". tremblingbeforeg-d.com. Retrieved June 13, 2007.
- Associated Press. "Singapore censors ban films on terrorism, homosexual, fetish". The China Post. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
- "Jihad for Love Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on May 26, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2008.
- "Jihad for Love, A (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on May 20, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2008.
- Official website
- A Jihad for Love at the Internet Movie Database
- A Jihad for Love at Rotten Tomatoes
- A Jihad for Love at Metacritic
- A Jihad for Love at AllMovie
- CineSource Article on A Jihad For Love
- Director of Film on Muslim Homosexuals Frets over His Subjects' Safety
- Film of Muslim gays stirs up sentiments
- A Jihad for Love, Hartley Film Foundation
- Hearts and Minds, article in The Guardian