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N.Y. Screen: The Muslim Closet

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Making a documentary about gay and lesbian Muslims in twelve countries was not easy. “A white boy from Chelsea could not have made this film,” explains Parvez Sharma, the New York–based director of A Jihad for Love, opening May 21. “Being gay and Muslim myself, I knew that this film had to be about us all coming out— as Muslims. It’s about claiming the Islam that has been denied to us.” As such, Sharma says his ideal audience is faithful Muslims—and not just “gay white men or activists.” To reach them, he’s “smuggled tapes into Iran and Pakistan,” leafleted mosques, blanketed MySpace, and “hosted a screening at a home in Astoria for fifteen key progressive Muslim leaders.” There’s more to do: “Over the last six years, some of the most amazing conversations I’ve had about this film have been with taxi drivers, but I’m stumped about how to reach them again.”


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