A Jihad For Love; film, faith, and the freedom to love.

A Jihad For Love; film, faith, and the freedom to love.


A Jihad For Love; film, faith, and the freedom to love.

A Jihad For Love; film, faith, and the freedom to love.


A Jihad For Love; film, faith, and the freedom to love.
By Sherry

A Jihad for Love is a very emotional documentary about homosexuals and faith in Islam. Everyone with a different background, ethnicity, or religion would enjoy the movie, as it shows how gay and lesbian individuals/partners live in Islamic countries (such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, etc). The documentary shared stories not only of gay and lesbian couples but also a gay man who is married to a woman and has kids. The stories were all commonly about conflicts of religious belief and the way live as a lesbian or gay, seeking advice from religious leaders and Islamic scholars. My understanding of Jihad is a war/struggle of believers.The struggle to have a decent living and equal right and fairness for employment and food. There is poverty in some countries like Haiti, Zimbabwe and also Afghanistan. These were my understanding of Jihad, a war/struggle of believers. Internationally Jihad is stigmatised as a war associated with Islam and Muslims involving weapons and bombs, with the intention to cause disruptions in peace. But Islam defines Jihad as striving and struggling for improvement as well as fighting back to defend one’s self, honor, assets, and homeland. Also, Jihad is interpreted as the struggle against evil, internal or external of a person or a society. Linking it to the film, I thought it would be stories of how they fight for their love towards the same sex partner. Emotionally and psychically struggling to keep their love going against the odds of religion and the perspectives of their family members and society. However the purpose and message of the film is to explore complex global intersections of Islam and homosexuality. There were stories of different backgrounds, but I was fond of the stories of the 3 gay men. Muhsin is married and have kids, however he was aware of his sexuality when his 16. Amir shared his story of being slashed in prison. Lastly, Payam who took refuge in Turkey finally got asylum.

Muhsin’s story is uncommon among gay men, as his struggle includes the fact that he is a dad, and when he confessed to his wife of his sexuality his wife disallowed him to see his children. Despite being a gay dad, his children gave him moral support. My view on his sexuality was that it’s not a phase of life as he tried to change by learning more of Islam. His story had made a change that being a gay, it didn’t restrict him to perform his requirement as a Muslim. He prayed and fasted 80 days beside Ramadan. Not only did he showed a good role as a father but also to the other Muslim gay men. His background can be use as inspiration and courage.

Due to being a country that takes LGBT individuals and acts seriously, the fear of being caught and stoned to death shadows them. Those who are caught were lashed, and it made me feel their laws and punishment for the gay men is inhumane. This is a wrong practice and should not be continued as such physical punishment should not be imposed for a person’s innate sexual orientation. With that he not only he suffered the pain, but his mum as well. Seeing how she cried when Amir showed her the scar, he heartbreakingly had to leave town so that her mum won’t have to see his pain and the suffering he had to go through.

It’s fascinating as the documentary portrayed the positive image of homosexual individuals, and the negative practices and law of the countries. The reason why it’s positive is simply because they were little censorship; it was a genuine. They shared their stories and how some managed to overcome the challenges by seeking asylum, though some were less fortunate they were still optimistic. In overall it could have been better if the documentary had share more insight of Islamic scholars views and their opinion on homosexuals. I was hoping to know if there is people who had seek assistance, finally place religion before sexuality or vice versa? The negatives bits were how the law relies on religion and used lashes to punish those who were caught and arrested. It does no good or change a person’s sexuality but instead cause the person to fall apart from his family members by fleeing off to other country that doesn’t practice such horrific laws. Lastly I feel that the film had touched many hearts as it was an inevitable struggle they face. Not allowing the struggles pull them down but instead made them a stronger homosexual Muslim. If it was me, I would surrender my fate to the hands of law and religious leader, as I felt that I’m already trapped and destine to face the punishment in earth which is not as worse as the punishment in after world.

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Vanessa Ho

Executive Director | [email protected]

Executive Director
[email protected]

Vanessa has been full-time with Project X since 2011, and as a result, has had many opportunities to meet and connect with sex workers in Singapore and around the world. Under her leadership, the organisation has grown from a small group of volunteers to one where there are three paid staff and a team of over 60 volunteers. Correspondingly, she has increased the annual operating budget of the organization five times, and is now recognized as the leading organization that empowers and assists women in the sex industry.

Vanessa has written and spoken extensively about sex work, human trafficking, rape culture, and LGBTQ rights in Singapore. She believes that if people can speak about sex, gender and sexuality in open and in non-judgmental ways, society will become a safer place for everyone.

Vanessa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Warwick, and a Masters Degree in Gender, Society and Representation from University College London.