Arab Today, arab today a sinner in mecca documents gay muslim pilgrimage
Last Updated : GMT 23:45:04
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

'A Sinner in Mecca' documents gay Muslim pilgrimage

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today 'A Sinner in Mecca' documents gay Muslim pilgrimage

Muslim pilgrims arriving for the evening prayer at Mecca's Grand Mosque
New York - AFP

The confession of a Pakistani murderer. Overzealous religious police. An Arab angered after his pregnant wife was molested in the holiest site known to Islam.

A new film made by a gay Muslim pilgrim offers a English-speaking Western audience a warts-and-all view of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in a documentary that has attracted death threats and an online hate campaign.

It is a rebuke of Saudi Arabia and its strict Wahhabi form of Islam, but it is also deeply personal -- a man trying to reconcile his faith with his sexuality.

From that perspective which includes footage of his wedding to his American husband in New York, millions of Muslims will likely find "A Sinner in Mecca" provocative if not offensive.

But director and pilgrim, Indian-born New Yorker Parvez Sharma, sees it as a wake-up call for a faith followed by nearly a quarter of humanity which he believes has been hijacked by a violent minority.

"Islam is imploding upon itself right now and there's a huge crisis," Sharma told AFP.

"It (a reformation) is happening, but it is happening too slowly and we're running out of time."

"The change needs to happen with Wahhabi Islam -- that is the root of all the problems," he said.

Sharma associates with the Sufi branch of Islam common in his homeland India, which unlike Wahhabism embraces music and a more mystical -- and less dogmatic -- approach to faith.

- Wrong end of the stick -

He performed hajj in 2011, four months after Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed and seven months after the Arab Spring began. He says the timing was deliberate.

"I felt that it would be the most interesting time to go with all this churning going on in the Muslim world."

Most striking is his footage, filmed on a mobile phone and two tiny cameras without permission from Saudi authorities, then smuggled out of the country.

"Early on," he explains, "my iPhone was taken away by the religious police and they deleted initial early footage," he said.

"These guys walk around with sticks and hit you if you're doing something they consider un-Islamic, and I was on the wrong end of the stick several times."

He captures the crush encircling the Kaaba, the sacred site in whose direction Muslims pray, the giant shopping mall next door where you can get a Starbucks coffee and the discomfort of standing on a bus an entire night to go to Mount Arafat.

"There is nothing kind about this process," Sharma says in the film.

He calls his first experience at the Kaaba "probably the most violent night of my entire life." He says he strung his iPhone around his neck and just let the camera roll.

 

- Threats -

 

Most of the film focuses on him. But he also includes two of more than 50 interviews he said he conducted.

An Arab man in the film complains that his wife was touched by other men, and a man from Lahore, a city in eastern Pakistan, confesses to seeking atonement for taking part in a so-called "honor" killing.

It has been shown at film festivals in Britain and North America, and goes on cinema release in New York on Friday before being aired on European television and Netflix in coming months.

"Sharma's constant filming of his own face and his reactions to what he's seeing give the film a sometimes annoying 'selfie' perspective," wrote reviewer, David Savage, in Cut Print Film.

But he called it "an important and rare film" given "the threats of violence and death that have suppressed many of his fellow Muslim gays into hiding."

Sharma says much of the response has been positive. But he has received a torrent of hate mail and online death threats coming from servers in countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

He says the Iranian government has denounced it. He tells of being accosted by yelling Saudi women at a festival in Britain.

"I hope that Muslims will eventually react positively," he told AFP.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today a sinner in mecca documents gay muslim pilgrimage Arab Today, arab today a sinner in mecca documents gay muslim pilgrimage

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Mohamed Bahari prepares new collection for spring 2017

GMT 06:15 2017 Monday ,27 February

Mohamed Bahari prepares new collection for spring 2017
Arab Today, arab today 17.4 million tourists visit UAE in 2016

GMT 00:47 2017 Monday ,27 February

17.4 million tourists visit UAE in 2016
Arab Today, arab today Sheds light on major steps in 12-year career

GMT 06:07 2017 Monday ,27 February

Sheds light on major steps in 12-year career
Arab Today, arab today UN envoy sets out framework

GMT 07:25 2017 Monday ,27 February

UN envoy sets out framework
Arab Today, arab today Ayat Abaza says state TV presented major stars

GMT 03:52 2017 Sunday ,26 February

Ayat Abaza says state TV presented major stars

GMT 09:37 2017 Monday ,13 February

'Lego Batman' beats 'Fifty Shades Darker'

GMT 09:46 2017 Monday ,30 January

Shyamalan's 'Split' rules N. America box office

GMT 06:37 2017 Monday ,23 January

Egypt revolution thriller premieres at Sundance

GMT 00:32 2017 Wednesday ,11 January

'Rogue One' shot down at box office by 'Hidden Figures'

GMT 03:28 2017 Sunday ,08 January

Rumi film to challenge Muslim stereotypes
View News in Arabic - Culture: أفلام عربية
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Penguins in the age of dinos

GMT 11:44 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Penguins in the age of dinos
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today 'Constructive' Vauxhall talk with union

GMT 08:54 2017 Saturday ,25 February

'Constructive' Vauxhall talk with union
Arab Today, arab today Tesla back into red but revenue grows

GMT 07:27 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Tesla back into red but revenue grows
Arab Today, arab today Reasons for the delay 'On the Stairs of Servants'

GMT 06:42 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Reasons for the delay 'On the Stairs of Servants'
Arab Today, arab today Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 12:16 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 07:23 2017 Friday ,24 February

Ola Ghanem hopes to work with M.Ramadan

GMT 05:14 2017 Thursday ,23 February

UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years

GMT 18:23 2017 Friday ,24 February

Fadi explains secrets of  Nancy Ajram's newlook

GMT 10:28 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 10:51 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Pigs with edited genes show resistance

GMT 14:04 2017 Friday ,24 February

Messi visit will contribute in tourism

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 22:42 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Nasima Gamei revives heritage in jewelries
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday