Eid Mubarak to all of you.
Simply put-I have been overwhelmed since after Toronto and many amazing things are happening around the film.
The press coverage has overall been extremely positive and reactions to the film itself (and its very existence) are pouring in from across the world.
I have been very successful so far, in setting the agenda for positive discussions and having a blog here and being invited to write for The Huffington Post, have been remarkable opportunities.
Through all of the noise, a picture of clarity also seems to be emerging. It is clear that through these initial festival screenings in Toronto and then Brazil-we are at the beginning of a movement that will shape and inform millions of lives for years to come.
I am committed to responding to all of you individually and in the meantime urge you all to visit some of the links below and post your own comments.
We need to increase traffic to this blog and to our FaceBook Profile, so please visit, join and circulate widely.
Forthcoming updates will include the festival schedule and details on The Muslim Dialogue Project. (regular updates are available at this page, always).
What is important at this point is that the latest article about the film- on Al-Arabiya posted two days ago has been imploding with many negative comments (and recently positive ones as well). We need to go to that website and counter the homophobia (and rush to judgement) by posting our own comments on this film (for those of you who have seen it) and on how we perceive the rights of individuals in the context of Islam and homosexuality. At the end of this post I include recent press breaks around the film and just some of the comments (translated from the original Arabic) that have appeared on the Al-Arabiya website.
Eid Mubarak once again and Salams
(The interview is also on YouTube at http://youtube.com/watch?v
The Hour with George Stromboulopoulos
The Huffington Post
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NPR: Talk of the Nation
And all of the Updates, Comments and Press are just a mouse click away here on our Blog.
Comments on the Al-Arabiya Website
"The Toronto film festival…well Toronto is known for its large Jewish community."
"The Arab World is full of them but they are afraid to speak out."
"A Muslim is someone who obeys the laws of Islam, someone who obeys god. Are gays Muslims? No, they are following the devil who directs them as he pleases. Real Muslims do not accept or deal with or acknowledge these homosexuals."
"May God disappoint you unclean people. Islam and homosexuality do not go together. Homosexuals must be executed now because they are scum."
"What's clear is that this movie is not a documentary, it's a bunch of people acting for the director who seeks to please the western audience; an audience that applauds anything that sheds a bad light on Islam and shows corruption as normal. Many of them defend homosexuality and try affect youth with their ideas; the movie did win an award after all."
"Why are we surprised? This kind of asylum is available in Europe for gays who are said to be oppressed in their countries. There are Muslims from all around the Arab and Muslim world who use this excuse, even if it's a lie, to obtain asylum."
"Homosexuality is not a choice, rather a calamity from god. The person who has this kind of affliction has to try and fight it by mentioning God's name and praying and fasting and staying away from those people who encourage him to do what maddens god. God will be the savior. This news that Arabiya publishes is real and it is presented to the readers for discussion and not for the site to be attacked by people using foul language."
"There will come a day in the Arab world when gays will be respected. It's enough to know that they exist in great numbers in countries that consider themselves conservative like the gulf and Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco , Libya and others."
"I personally consider homosexuality disgusting but at the same time I can't sentence every homosexual to death. That would be cruel. I do not think that god has authorized anyone to kill humans because they are gay. I am sure there is a natural or psychological remedy to this ailment."
"It's clear from the comments here that we are a nation that has lost its way. Everyone has appointed himself a judge, executioner and ruler and started giving out fatwas, from those who demand killing homosexuals, to those who demand imprisoning them. These people speak as if they live in communities of angels. Homosexuality has existed since god created the earth and humans and is not a transient issue, and is not part of a conspiracy as some uneducated people here think. When will we start leaving others alone? Homosexuals and other humans and like us regardless of how different their lifestyles are. God created us all and he is the judge, not humans. Enough bloodshed and closed mindedness. God will judge them and their actions and he is merciful and forgiving."