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Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Jihad for Love - Documentary on LGBT Muslims Opens Nationwide in the United States SOON!!

A Jihad for Loves Opens in NYC May 21.

A Jihad for Love is the world's first feature documentary to explore the complex global intersections between Islam and homosexuality. 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. Parvez enters the many worlds of Islam by illuminating multiple stories as diverse as Islam itself. Filmed in twelve countries and nine languages, 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.

Watch a sneak preview and trailer of the powerful documentary at

Keep up-to-date by reading Parvez Sharma's blog at

Check out the film's websites: and

Upcoming Dates:

Philadelphia, PA

Equality Forum May 2, 2008

Miami, FL

Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival May 3, 2008

Great Barrington, MA

Berkshire Film Festival May 15 - 17, 2008

Boston, MA

Boston Gay & Lesbian Film Festival May 18, 2008

Pleasantville, NY

Jacob Burns Film Center May 20 & 23, 2008

New York, NY

IFC Film Center May 21 - June 4, 2008

Norfolk, VA

Naro Cinema June 18 - 22, 2008

Houston, TX

Angelika Houston June 20 - 26, 2008

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Sunrise Cinemas Gateway June 27 - July 3, 2008

Brookline, MA

Coolidge Corner Theatre June 27 - July 3, 2008
San Francisco, CA Frameline Film Festival June 28, 2008
Los Angeles, CA Outfest July 10 - 21, 2008
Columbus, OH Wexner Center for the Arts July 25 & 26, 2008
Los Angeles, CA Laemmle Sunset 5 August 1 - 7, 2008
Palm Springs, CA Camelot Theaters August 1 - 7, 2008
Denver, CO Starz Denver August 1 - 7, 2008

San Diego, CA

Landmark Ken August 8 - 14, 2008

San Francisco, CA

Landmark Lumiere August 22 - 28, 2008

Berkeley, CA

Landmark Shattuck August 22 - 28, 2008

Washington DC

Landmark E Street September 5 - 11, 2008
Berkeley, CA JCC of the East Bay September 18, 2008

Please support this documentary and the upcoming Muslim outreach project - which aims to reach mainstream Muslims across the United States and around the world.  Donations can be made here -

Arranged Marriage Gets High-Tech Twist


   Story Highlights:

   * Technology is transforming the way marriages are arranged
   * Web sites allow parents to create profiles for their children
   * Technology helps couples assert independence while keeping parents involved
   * The rise of cell phones has made long-distance courtships easier


Sabiha Ansari and her husband Faisal Masood, shown here at a friend's wedding, were married just five days after meeting.


Sabiha Ansari and her husband Faisal Masood celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary in 2006 with a vacation in Puerto Rico.

By Jocelyn Voo

(LifeWire) -- When it was time for Sabiha Ansari to get married, her parents flew her to India. She met her husband-to-be for less than 20 minutes, with family, then was asked whether she liked him.

"That was really hard for me," she says. "I kind of wanted to have some time alone with him to talk to him, or even on the phone."

But she said yes, and they were married five days later. That was in 1991.

Things were different for Sabiha's younger sister, Huma Ansari, in 2005.

"Sometimes it feels weird for me to even call it an arranged marriage because I feel like I got to know my husband pretty well," says the 27-year-old Richmond, Virginia, optometrist.

She and her husband, Saud Rahman, 29, a medical resident, were introduced through family friends at a casual dinner, then e-mailed and called each other for several months. They married a year later.

Nowadays, classically arranged marriages for immigrant families in America are much less common, and rejecting the potential partners is an increasingly easy option. The changes have been dramatic in the past decade or two, says Stephanie Coontz, professor of family studies at the Evergreen State College and author of books on the history of marriage. One of the major factors in the transformation: technology.

Can I call you?

The rise of cell phones has made long-distance courtships easier. A small 2006 study from a University of Washington researcher found that young Indians living in Bangalore used cell phones to get to know partners introduced to them by their parents.

The Internet also has made an impact, not only through e-mail but also through sites like ("shaadi" means "wedding" in Hindi) and There, parents can create a profile for their child (the site usually indicates who posted the profile).

Tali Kapadia's mother surfed for Gujarati Hindu men in the New York area, creating a profile for Tali, 28, who is pursuing a master's degree at Columbia University, and fielding responses from prospective suitors -- all without telling Tali. Only when she'd found a guy she liked did she fill Tali in on her online search.

"I think they're pretty popular," says Tali's sister, Kavita, a graduate student at Michigan State University. "If your parents are really pressuring you to marry someone who's the same background as you and it's important to you, if you can't find them in the community, you might just look online." offers video profiles, and provides marriage loans in which banks compete to finance the couple's expenses.

In some ways, technology has helped couples assert independence while keeping parents involved.

"We chatted for months and decided to go ahead before his parents spoke to my father," said one woman who gave a testimonial on "By then we felt like we've known each other for ages."

For better and worse

While technology has helped transform arranged marriages, some things haven't changed. The definition of an arranged marriage has always been fluid. Some are akin to "forced marriages," where the bride and groom have no choice and don't meet before the wedding. Some have courtships that last mere days. Others look more modern. Arranged marriages are most common among families from India, the Middle East and Japan.

Although some may argue that such marriages are destined for disaster, there are upsides.

"Arranged marriages have going for them the fact that the in-laws have an active interest in the marriage lasting," Coontz says. A strong parent-child support system will benefit children even if they have flown the family coop.

And in close families, parents are likely to find someone who is compatible.

"Your parents know you very well, and they will not do anything for you that will be detrimental," says Sabiha, 37, a North Brunswick, New Jersey, life coach who is married to Faisal Masood, 41, a vice president of management at JP Morgan Chase.

But if parents don't know their child well, they are unlikely to find a good match. And participants in arranged marriages tend to be younger, Coontz says.

"One thing we know for sure is that the older the age of the couple at first marriage, the more likely their marriage is going to last," she says.

Traditional role

But if young adults are now more financially stable, spend more time independent of their parents and can find their own suitors, why do they still accept arranged marriages?

With or without the help of technology, "I think most of it is the weight of cultural tradition," Coontz says.

But Huma appreciated her parents doing the tough work of screening potential suitors.

"[My parents] always told me, 'If you find someone, let us know,'" says Huma, who was in graduate school when she met her husband. "But, honestly, I didn't find anyone. I was like, 'I'll take all the help I can get!'"

Valentine's Day Across the Muslim World (2012)