By Ciar Byrne for the Independent:
Western documentary makers should think twice about making films about Islam because they do not understand the issues as well as their Muslim counterparts, a leading Muslim film-maker has said.
Now why didn’t somebody explain this to me back in 2004 and save me all that trouble?
Parvez Sharma, whose documentary about what it means to be gay and Muslim had its European premiere at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival last night, said Western non-Muslim film makers were jumping on the “Islamic bandwagon”.
Sharma added: “Post 11 September, [Islam] is suddenly very hot”, and he cited the “plane-loads” of documentary makers who flew from New York to Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Didn’t make that flight. Read the Quran, Bukhari’s hadiths, and the Sira instead. Most illuminating. Would recommend it. And more convenient than trekking to Kabul. Less shrapnel.
“For many documentary film-makers there’s very little understanding of the complexities. Everyone has been jumping on the Islamic bandwagon. Very few of those films do justice [to Islam]. They suffer from a lack of comprehension. There’s this need to cash in on the Islamic theme.”
Not too familiar with that “cash in” part, but I do agree that there is little understanding. Take that silly Empire of Faith, for instance, or Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet. Worst comedies I’ve seen in years. Islam: What the West Needs to Know, on the other hand: HILARIOUS.
Sharma, whose documentary, A Jihad For Love includes emotional interviews with gay Muslims from around the world, torn between their homosexuality and their faith, said there was a “paucity” of Muslim film-makers and called on Islamic documentary producers to make their own voices heard to combat Islamaphobia. His Jihad, filmed over six years, reveals the often shocking treatment meted out to homosexuals in Islamic states such as Iran, where one of the men featured was flogged for attending a gay party, and in Egypt, where another interviewee was thrown into prison, where he was raped, then fled to France.
Now — just thinking aloud here — but maybe the guy who was flogged and the rape victim could be excused for indulging in a little “Islamaphobia?”