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A Jihad for Love (2009)

- , Parvez Sharma  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: -
  • Directors: Parvez Sharma
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Arabic, English, French, Farsi, Urdu, Hindi, Turkish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: April 21, 2009
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001P9G3B0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,830 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Jihad for Love" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Director Interview
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Never Before Seen Footage and More

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In a time when Islam is under tremendous attack from within and without, A JIHAD FOR LOVE is a daring documentary filmed in twelve countries and nine languages. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma has gone where the silence is loudest, filming with great risk in nations where government permission to make this film was not an option.

A JIHAD FOR LOVE is the world's first feature documentary to explore the complex global intersections between Islam and homosexuality. Parvez enters the many worlds of Islam by illuminating multiple stories as diverse as Islam itself. The film travels a wide geographic arc presenting us lives from India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa and France. Always filming in secret and as a Muslim, Parvez makes the film from within the faith, depicting Islam with the same respect that the film's characters show for it.


Revealing and moving...notable for its depiction of the tenacity with which its subjects hold on to their faith despite the wall of bigotry, often homicidal, that confronts them. --Wall Street Journal

Lifts the veil of secrecy... frankly brave. --NPR, Talk of the Nation

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Struggle For Love April 26, 2009
Director Parvez Sharma spent more than five years traveling throughout the Muslim world and interviewing lesbians and gay men about their life, their faith and their fears as followers of Islam. The results are enlightening, heart rendering and, at times, shocking. Like the documentary about gay people in the Orthodox Jewish world, Trembling Before G-D, A Jihad For Love restricts itself to the paradox of religious followers of a faith that seemingly rejects their existence. Of course, the penalty for homosexuality is far more severe in countries ruled by Sharia law, but it is amazing to see and learn how the faithful deal with what must seem like overwhelming obstacles in simple things that gay people in the Western world take for granted.

I learned quite a bit from this film that I was previously unaware of, such as the fact that Turkey, although overwhelmingly Muslim, has no laws forbidding homosexuality, and attitudes there concerning homosexuality have always been more relaxed than other parts of the Muslim world. I also was under the false impression, as many Westerners are, that jihad means "Holy war". It actually means "struggle". Thus the film's title is quite apt, and because the film's creator / director is himself a member of the Muslim faith, the film exudes an aura of self-assured confidence, familiarity and respect for its subject matter that many documentaries cannot hope to achieve. In modern Pakistan, of all places, the Sufi sect celebrates the love of a 16th century poet and Sufi saint, Shah Hussain, for a Brahmin boy named Madho Lal. Each year on his urs (death anniversary) their love is celebrated through ritual dances held in the shrine near the tomb of the two lovers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh!! The Things You'll Learn! April 26, 2009
This is (Not Without My Daughter..another good film..) so marvelously splendid..The absolute beauty of Iran and Egypt by night.The raw and powerful,emotional and moving stories of Mazem,Ferda,Amir,their punishments.The glorious and rare glimpse of Sufi church services,facts about Muslims in the countries of France,Egypt,India,(a turn on..) Bangladesh,Pakistan..The moving story of the celebration of the love between Shah Husain and Madho Lal.Makes al-Suhaq look pretty good if you ask me.Let's all use Ijtihad (independent reasoning) to go on a Jihad ul-Nafs: A struggle with the self.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Jihad for Love showcases the plight and suffering of the gay and lesbian community in countries where Islam is practiced; the laws of Islam dictate that homosexuality is illegal, immoral and sick and that gay people should (or at least could) even be stoned to death for their "sins!" The film is an excellent documentary that lets us meet several gay and lesbian people, some in relationships and others not, who must struggle to reconcile their Islamic faith with their being gay or lesbian. Some of them are expatriates and others still live in Islamic countries and chose to hide their faces for fear of retribution from the local police and other legal authorities. I truly felt that I knew these people by the time the film ended and the bonus features helped me even more to understand their struggle and the situation for gay and lesbian Muslims, even in our country. In addition, the cinematography is excellent and the film moves along at a good pace; it moves neither too slowly nor too quickly and the interviews with these gay and lesbian people make them stand out as human beings with rights and that's terrific.

The film essentially consists of interviews with gay and lesbian Muslims; they all bravely and honestly tell their stories in such a way that it's impossible not to empathize with them and their struggle. One interesting situation is that of a lesbian couple who live apart in separate countries, getting together from time to time yet, at least for one of them, unable to accept that being Muslim and being homosexual can go together. We also see how one man received one hundred lashes for being gay. Another brave soul, who was married and has visitation rights with his children, explores his children's feelings about homosexuality and the results are powerful and moving at once.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A looking behind stonewall September 19, 2010
It was interesting to see how gays and lesbians in prominently Muslim countries view themselves and their religion. A Jihad For Love does not just focus on gay men as many studies, reports and documentaries but also gives us a view into what life is like for lesbian Muslims. However, I have two problems with the film. The first being the lack of depth for the people in the film. We see people in the park but very little information about who they are, where they comes from and the react from friends and family. Also the camera work at times was out of focus and very shaky. It will be interesting to see where the subjects are and if they have found inner peace in a few years.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think this is the film.. April 7, 2009
that I helped fund with my measly 200 buck donation to the Hartley Film foundation.I'm kind of proud of that so I'm bragging.SO anyways..since it's a groundbreaking film,it's a must see.Gender is neutral (Sufism is pretty neat..)in Allah:Not a he or a she.Pretty cool.I like Not Without My Daughter as a movie. Dangerous Living - Coming Out in the Developing World is also about this kind of thing."There is no he,there is no she" a Sufi once said that I think..
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