Love Jihadi, Parvez Sharma Blogs Here

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Parvez Sharma also blogs at The Huffington Post,

Parvez writes for The Guardian

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11.10.08

The Best Little High School in the World


From the students:
Email 1
Hey Mr. Parvez!!
I just wanted to inform you that your visit to Senn was amazing! I'm glad that I got the opportunity to see your documentary because it informed me of an issue that I consider important. I admire your courage to stand up for what you believe and fight for what you think is right. I found A Jihad for Love a touching documentary that opened my eyes to the struggle of homosexual Muslims. I just wanted you to know that I respect you and that I believe that your film will spread courage to those who are still hidden and who think that they can “cure” themselves with prayer. I believe that your film has not only reached homosexual Muslims but also other people that don't accept themselves for who they are. I believe that in the end we are all humans, no matter what religion, ethnicity, or sexuality. Thank you for making such an inspiring movie.

Andrea
Email 2

Hello Mr. Sharma.I was one of the students there at the film screening and I have to say that, as a film, it was incredibly engaging.As a documentary, the themes and issues it presented are mind boggling. I've never liked Islam because there are things in it that seem beyond demanding. I just find it intriguing, some of its rituals are fascinating, or the symbology is. However, I respect those who do believe in it.
It makes me wonder if these homosexual people will ever find a middle ground to their struggle. In the film one of the women said that she couldn't be like that because it is evil but then she still loves that other woman. So it makes me think if they will continue their lives like that, always aware that what they are is a sin, how will they reconcile themselves with their religion?
I am glad I got the chance to see this movie because that kind of dilemma happens in every religion just because every religion considers homosexuality a sin. I imagine that is a fine line not just muslim people have to walk.
Thank you for taking the opportunity and time to come to my school.

Email 3
That was quite an experience that I will never forget. It really did open my eyes to so many other things that are going on in this crazy world of ours. I understand that the whole idea of homosexuality is forbidden in any religion, but what is really complex for my mind to wrap around is the teachings of loving one another. I mean, isn't that what most religions teach to the thousands of years of generations? Why isn't that those who have created the written words think twice on not making such a contradiction with the message being told?Perhaps they weren't trying to find a contradiction and many scholars throughout the centuries have MADE it difficult for anyone to get a grasp and to fully understand what is being taught.Eh, I probably didn't make a lot of sense with my babbling but it was something I wanted to bring about.Once again, thank you so much for coming to Senn and showing us this remarkable film.
Paolina G.

From a teacher, after yesterdays event and talk:

Parvez, thank you...for visiting our High School, for making such an important film, and for sharing with us your insights on its creation and, more importantly, on its themes. This was an educational experience my students and I will not soon forget.
I cannot believe you were nervous to speak in front of high school students; there are many veteran teachers who are less engaging than you were yesterday. These students are used to 45-minute classes filled with a variety of instructional techniques; but after sitting silently through an 81-minute film, they remained engaged for nearly another hourwhile you responded to their questions - and not a single paper airplane adorned the skies :) You're a natural.
It is unrealistic, I think, to expect that our Muslim (and non-Muslim) students will all come to accept the reconciliation of homosexuality and Islam (or any religious orthodoxy), though some may do so. I am confident that all of the students, however, learned the more powerful lessons that we can disagree while still engaging in civil discourse, and that we must not fail to acknowledge the human consequences that accompany our beliefs. We saw those lessons applied in the respectful and engaging discussion that followed the screening.

12 comments:

Sandra said...

Hello Mr. Sharma.
I'm assuming that note from the teacher is from my own teacher at Senn High School. It sounds like him, anyway.
I was one of the students there at the film screening and I have to say that, as a film, it was incredibly engaging.
As a documentary, the themes and issues it presented are mind boggling.
I've never liked Islam because there are things in it that seem beyond demanding. I just find it intriguing, some of its rituals are fascinating, or the symbology is. However, I respect those who do believe in it.
It makes me wonder if these homosexual people will ever find a middle ground to their struggle. In the film one of the women said that she couldn't be like that because it is evil but then she still loves that other woman. So it makes me think if they will continue their lives like that, always aware that what they are is a sin, how will they reconcile themselves with their religion?

I am glad I got the chance to see this movie because that kind of dilemma happens in every religion just because every religion considers homosexuality a sin. I imagine that is a fine line not just muslim people have to walk.

Thank you for taking the opportunity and time to come to my school.

Mujahid said...

Thank you.

weldone

Paolina said...

That was quite an experience that I will never forget. It really did open my eyes to so many other things that are going on in this crazy world of ours.

I understand that the whole idea of homosexuality is forbidden in any religion, but what is really complex for my mind to wrap around is the teachings of loving one another. I mean, isn't that what most religions teach to the thousands of years of generations? Why isn't that those who have created the written words think twice on not making such a contradiction with the message being told?

Perhaps they weren't trying to find a contradiction and many scholars throughout the centuries have MADE it difficult for anyone to get a grasp and to fully understand what is being taught.

Eh, I probably didn't make a lot of sense with my babbling but it was something I wanted to bring about.

One again, thank you so much for coming to Senn and showing us this remarkable film.

Paolina G.
=^.^=

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Parvez!!
I just wanted to inform you that your visit to Senn was amazing! I'm glad that I got the opportunity to see your documentary because it informed me of an issue that I consider important. I admire your courage to stand up for what you believe and fight for what you think is right. I found A Jihad for Love a touching documentary that opened my eyes to the struggle of homosexual Muslims. I just wanted you to know that I respect you and that I believe that your film will spread courage to those who are still hidden and who think that they can “cure” themselves with prayer. I believe that your film has not only reached homosexual Muslims but also other people that don't accept themselves for who they are. I believe that in the end we are all humans, no matter what religion, ethnicity, or sexuality. Thank you for making such an inspiring movie.

Andrea

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr.Sharma i was one of the sutdents watching your film and wanted to say that before having an opportunity to see your documentary film i didnt really pay attention to the issue of homosexuality.That film is really inspiering and it showed me that people have to face that issue and see how todays world is "set up". Even though most of the religions are against it and say that it is a sin.But is it really a sin?Did God told us that love is a sin?..We love whoever we choose to love and it comes with our nature.I am really glad that i had the opportunity to see this movie and to understant the Muslim religion facing an isssue of sexulity.Thank you very much for coming to our high school and talk about the film.
Natalia.

Anonymous said...

I want to begin by saying thank you for coming to our school and for creating such an inspiring film. You did an amazing job!

Being a Muslim myself, I’m aware of the controversies revolving the idea of homosexuality and the phobia that exists. However, I didn’t know about it being mentioned in the Quran and people using that to condemn it.

There’s a saying in Islam that I heard multiple times that says homosexual relationships shake the throne of god. I think that is quite ironic because if that is true, why would god create people that way? I personally believe that homosexuality is something you’re born with, which questions the validity of it being a sin. Well I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t really know whether homosexuality is a sin or not, but I know that at the end, it’s the person and their god and I have no right to judge that person.

Again, I’d like to thank you for coming to Senn and sharing your ideas. You’re a true inspiration because you stood up for what you believed in despite the opposing viewpoints and controversies that might have created for you. Great job!

-Maab

Maliha said...

Dear Mr. Sharma,

I would like to congratulate you on making such an outstanding documentary and I would like to thank you for presenting your years of hard work to Senn High School.

I was astonished when you stated that you were nervous to talk a room full of students because I thought you did a wonderful job and you did not look nervous at all. I was very much interested in the topic of your documentary and the thoughts the people had on homosexuality.
Ever since I was little, I was taught not to judge a person under any circumstances whether it is a persons skin color, race, gender etc. I feel that this documentary will help people not judge others. God has created everyone differently for a reason and I think that no one should question nor judge another person.

I hope the message that you are trying to deliver spreads throughout the world and creates a positive change. I wish you all the best with your documentary and I hope to see another work of yours in the upcoming years.

William said...

Hello Mr. Sharma!

Congratulations on putting together this documentary. From the way I see the rules of Islam, it really takes a courageous person like you to make this documentary. From my perspective, ideas communicated throughout that film screening are somewhat challenging. I asked a question about the Quran's approval of homosexuality: if there is a text in the Quran that disapproves of homosexuality. If I did understand very well, you said it all depends on your interpretation and the context in which the question is explored. So, my question is, "to what extent does the Quran repudiates homosexuality?" If the Quran strongly go against homosexuality, then I am guessing that you are not defined by the principles of Islam. And if the Quran approves of it, then the question would be, "why are a lot of muslim communities against homosexuality?" Once again, congratulations on putting this documentary together. Thank you.

Jean said...

I wanted to thank you for making this film possible. It's something different that you would not see everyday. Personally, I am amazed at how you were able to be a homosexual and yet be a Muslim. That is something I am still getting used to since Muslims seem to be really strict about their religion and being a homosexual is considered a vice. I hope the best for you and thank you for your efforts.

Erick said...

Hello Mr. Sharma,
I want to begin this message by stating that your years of hard work on this film have been a definite success.
The film has hit every topic and issue well. This new perspective of Islam and the issue of religion on sexuality is definitely an eye opener for people around the world. Furthermore, I would like to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to view the film and have a discussion about it. This experience is very enriching and allows us to see a different part of the world and how these issues also effect them.
This topic, I would admit, is definitely one that people should be aware about and your film is one of the first steps into discussing these things.
I would also like to extend even more thanks for being one of the first to talk that grand step. I hope that this issue is one that others can definitely learn about and find, at least, an understanding with each other.
I look forward to the effects of this film.

lan said...

Hi Mr. Sharma. I would like to thank you for presenting your ideas and your film at Senn. I know many people are not comfortable talking about homosexuality, but I'm glad that you were so open about it, especially when you were willing to answer any question. This is the first time I've heard someone speak seriously about this topic. The film is very informing; it tells of a world issue that people today are not aware of. I never knew that homosexuals were treated so brutally, especially by the most religious people.

But thank you again for educating us.

Rimbus said...

Hello Mr. Sharma
I would like to thank you for coming to Senn High School on Oct-10, Sorry I am doing a late Post, and also i am sorry i couldn't attend to see your Flim, I had a performance for Nepali Dashain Party. I didn't come to school that day. But me and my family would love to buy the movie or rent it and watch it. I told my dad about it and he watched the trailer and he sad he rent it we will watch it. But i don't know where to rent it from. Can you tell me how to get it. Please! Once again I would love to meet you and ask you some questions. Please Do let me know when you come back to Chicago and doing some functions, I would love to come and visit you.
Thank You Sir,
Rimbus Shrestha:002:Senn H.S

Followers

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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