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22.9.08

Two Telling Emails

This one from AMINA GHAFOOR (who I dont think has seen this film) and it is helpfully titled "gay/leso "muslims" '

That's discusting and false terminology. There is no such thing as gay and lesbeian 'Muslims' because a Muslim is one who submits to God, and God orders humans not to engage in sodomy. So if someone engages in sodomy, then they are NOT muslims hence cannot be called Muslim gay/les.
Secondly, I feel sorry for you parvez, I wonder what made you lead such a lifestyle. I hope you see the error in what you are doing and repent before it's too late. The people of Lut who were homosexuals were punished like the way a nation was never punished before, 3 folds of torment overtook them, their nation was turned upside down, the wind stopped blowing and furthermore stones from hell with their names on it were pelted at them. I think there is a lesson in that for us. I don't mean to scare you with punishment, rather to enlighten you about the gravity of your crime, yes it is a crime in Islam.
It's the month of Ramadan, can't you show some respect for it? And do turn to God, may He guide you before you misguide any more people.
And regarding the 'imam' Muhsin, dude, what have you got to say about all this? Are a fake imam or something? Be a man and stand up and speak out against this. If it is done in the name of Islam (i.e. Muslim gay/les) then we shall speak out against it, if you don't want us to speak out against it, then do your dirty thing in another name, don't try and seek popularity and fame in the name of Islam. I also fear for your safety.
Hope you see the sincerity in this email

This one below from CLEO in Atlanta who just saw the film there:
Parvez -
Just caught your movie here in Atlanta. I was deeply moved and found this incredibly enlightening. I have been following the problems of gays and lesbians in the middle east for some time, especially since problems in Iraq and Iran. Especially as the US has stepped into Iraq and turned a blind eye to this suffering. I even edited a poetry anthology of poets in the US writing on the subject "Outside the Green Zone", we even had fundraisers for some of the human rights groups to help with the safe houses and raise awareness. It's a very frustrating thing to see how easy it is for people to look away from this problem.
You may ask "why does any one from Atlanta - care so much about this" as I said in the forward of my book, I grew up in a very fundamentalist baptist household and conserative culture in rural North Carolilna. Home of Jessie Helms the very right-wing congressman. People (especially gays) in this country forget we are not so far from this situation ourselves. I grew up with the KKK, the Klu Klux Klan, they were a self-appointed cultural enforcement group that wore hoods to hide their true identities. But they charged themselves to enforce "cultural laws" that were becoming increasingly attacked by a liberalizing society in the 50s and 60s. They were often lawyers and judges, policeman, and politicians, they would drag anyone they felt threatened our society out of their home and lynch them or burn them alive, often leaving their bodies out as warnings. This included, particularly blacks, foreigners, gays, jews, and anyone that seemed to help or aid these groups. the first warning you would get would be a burning cross in your yard, a warning of the coming "wrath of god." When i was twelve I was actually taken to a KKK rally, this was seen as something any teenage boy in our area was expected to do. My parents looked the other way while my older friends took me, but they all knew what was going on. The whole rally was just pure hate, vitriol against all the people that were threatening society, and were not following god's word, all the misfits and deviants , made less than human - needing to be killed and made examples of.
So you can see, when I hear what is going on in the middle east under Islamic extremism I'm reminded of that rally with the burning crosses, and dozens of hooded men, meeting in secret deep in the woods, around a bonfire.
It's a battle we all face in religious communities. How do we fit in? And each commuinty must learn from each of these challenges. We suffer in the South from some of the same problems as seen in your film, Biblical literalist that pick and choose and interpret verses to reinforce their own prejudices.
But about your movie - I found the representation of all the different facets of Islam very interesting. That it's not one monolithic religion. Much as we here in the states have traditional Christianity, but we have fundamentalists, baptists, presbyterians, catholics, etc., etc. all reading from the same book, but comging away with different readings. Some taking each verse literally and looking for what makes people sinners, what punishement they should be given - then some looking for the underlying love of a compassionate loving power.
Some of the most promising words I heard were the older woman in the group discussion on homosexuality and Islam. That each person was challenged to grow and learn from birth, to always question, to always think for themselves - we need much more of that.
So many of the people featured in your movie are such brave heroes. Such unbelieveably brave and heroic figures. I fear sometimes that gays and lesbians here in the U.S. have it too easy. It's always a struggle, but compared to what so many of these characters of going through, we only suffer a small splinter, a small discomfort. I hope that Ameican audiences will realize when they see your film, that in this country, where our community is so blessed we owe it to our brothers and sisters everywhere in the world where they are oppressed to raise our voices and do what we can.
Thanks so much for you wonderful film. I will do what I can here in Atlanta to talk it up and insist my friends see it.
- CLEO

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This JIHAD IS ON FIRE

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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