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Bringing the 'Jihad of the camera' to Toronto

Islam has the fundamental concept of the greater "Jihad", an "inner struggle" - one often ignored in the narrow interpretation of the word as "holy war", beamed into your home daily-courtesy the friendly folk at Fox and friends.

As the gay and Muslim director/producer of a A Jihad for Love I am faced with the choice that all Muslims must make today. Are we going to allow our own communities' volatile bigots (definitely a minority) define our religion for us? Or are we going to really embrace the Islam that our Prophet had revealed to him a little more than fourteen centuries ago? That was an Islam that held a promise of women's rights which had not been seen before; an Islam that empowered sexuality and took it out of the bounds of procreation; an Islam that was able to unite first a few warring tribes in the desert and then entire nations and civilizations.

All Muslims also face the profound choice of either allowing themselves to become apologists for their faith (easy enough to do in the West) or speak with conviction about their very own Islam's-with all of their diversity and centuries of independent reasoning (Ijtihad). I know the Islam I have chosen, which is pretty much the same Islam the subjects of A Jihad for Love bring to Canada this autumn.

As a Muslim filmmaker, mine is the "Jihad" of the camera. I humbly suggest that filmmakers like myself follow in the footsteps of scholars through centuries who had chosen "the Jihad of the pen". In making this film it has been profound to realize that I am called upon to be a defender of my faith. I can think of no place better than Toronto to begin a discussion that is as vital to continuing discussions and debate within Islam, as the many others that surround us today.

It's time that we reclaimed Jihad and it's about time that all those voices within Islam that have been silenced for too long - and believe me there are many- speak out. I certainly have the humility to realize I am not the only to start speaking out loud and out proud. As gays and lesbians we are now ready to lay equal claim to our profoundly held faith and no one can stop us.

Let's make this Jihad digital and take it into the twenty first century with the tools that our ancestors did not have. You all are invited to join us to witness for what is a hopeful beginning on September 9th, 11th and 15th.

You will meet some of the subjects of the film. I am told the 'buzz' around the film is getting louder and indeed this is excellent news.

Our website and my own blog with all of the information for the screening has now gone live at

1 comment:

Zahir said...

glad to see your blog is up and running.

blog on, my friend...=)



September 2007 is when I started (with a finished film, my first) and now some 49 countries and 8 million people later, the whole world is talking. The movement around this work has begun worldwide. We will be screening next year around the world and yes in Muslim countries as well.

For more updates email me at parvezsharmaATgmailDOTcom and post your comments here as well.

Imam Muhsin Hendricks and his website for the Inner Circle

Director/Producer Parvez Sharma

Director/Producer Parvez Sharma
All the Breaking News around 'A Jihad for Love' is at this blog address. You can email Parvez directly at parvezsharmaATgmailDOTcom

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