Parvez Sharma

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Parvez Sharma
Parvez Sharma at a showing of A Jihad for Love in Washington, DC, USA, 2008-09-07
Parvez Sharma at a showing of A Jihad for Love in Washington, D.C. on 7 September 2008
Born India
Residence New York
Alma mater University of Calcutta
Jamia Millia Islamia University
Cardiff University
American University
Occupation Filmmaker and writer
Religion Islam

Parvez Sharma is a New York-based Indian writer and documentary filmmaker. Sharma is best known for the 2007 film A Jihad for Love which documented the lives of gay and lesbian Muslims, and for which he received the 2009 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary.[1] In 2009, Sharma was named as one of "50 Visionaries changing your world" by the UTNE Reader.[2] His new documentary film, A Sinner in Mecca, premiered at the 2015 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival to great critical acclaim.[3]

Early life[edit]

Sharma grew up in India, where he studied English Literature at Presidency College of the University of Calcutta. He received his master's degrees in Mass Communication (Film and Television) from Jamia Millia Islamia University, Broadcast Journalism from the University of Wales, Cardiff, and Video from American University's School of Communication.


Parvez Sharma worked as television journalist in India and the United Kingdom, including for India's 24-hour news television network NDTV. A journalist, Sharma has worked in radio,[4] print, and broadcast.He also worked with the Democracy Now! movement in New York as a producer; and as a print journalist in India and the US. He has taught as an adjunct professor at American University, developing and teaching that university's first curriculum on Bollywood and other Indian cinemas. As a commentator on Islamic, racial and political issues, Sharma's writings appear on The Huffington Post The Daily Beast and his own blog site.

The US based OUT Magazine named Sharma, one of the OUT 100 for 2008- "one of the 100 gay men and women who have helped shape our culture during the year".

He has worked on programming for BBC World Television (India), the Discovery Channel (United States), and the World Bank (United States).

A Jihad for Love[edit]

Main article: A Jihad for Love

Sharma is best known for directing the film A Jihad for Love, a documentary that seeks to refute the belief that LGBT Muslims do not exist.[5] The film has also been known by the working title In the Name of Allah.[6]

Sharma, director and cinematographer of the film, came up with the idea after listening to the stories of gay Muslims when he attended American University. He decided to give a voice "to a community that really needed to be heard, and that until now hadn’t been. It was about going where the silence was strongest." [7]

The film premiered in early 2007. It was produced by Sandi Simcha DuBowski in association with Channel 4 Television (UK), ZDF (Germany), Arte (France), MTV-Logo (US) and SBS (Australia). While the film reveals homophobia and persecution in the Muslim world, Sharma has stated that the purpose of the film is not to vilify Islam. He said:

Work on Islam and homosexuality[edit]

The film is not Sharma's first work dealing with Islam and homosexuality. His piece "Emerging from the Shadows" for The Telegraph in India was the country's first major newspaper article to discuss the life of Indian lesbians.[7]

He was involved in the organization of the first organized LGBT effort in the state of West Bengal and has spoken internationally on LGBT issues, Human rights violations across the world and the crisis in 21st century Islam.

Personal life[edit]

Sharma lives in New York with his American husband, who is a classical pianist. Sharma identifies as gay and as a Muslim.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Jihad for Love Wins at GLAAD Media Awards". March 30, 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Staff (November–December 2009). "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World". UTNE Reader. 
  3. ^ Hot Docs Retrieved 7 May 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "The Democracy Now! Staff Talks About the Blackout of 2003". Democracy Now!. 2003-08-15. Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  5. ^ "In the Name of Allah". Retrieved 2006-08-28. 
  6. ^ A Jihad for Love
  7. ^ a b Rajan, Sujeet (10 March 2006). "Film of Muslim gays stirs up sentiments". Indian Express. Archived from the original on 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  8. ^ Dettman, Katie (19 October 2006). "Benefit held for gay Islam film". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2007-02-05. 

External links[edit]