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Fund This: Bring A Sinner in Mecca Screening to You

Fund This: A Sinner in Mecca Screenings

Fund This: A Sinner in Mecca Screenings

The documentary by Parvez Sharma, a gay Muslim, follows his controversial hajj to show you the Saudi Arabia they don't want you to see.

Many fundamentalist Muslims already revile documentary filmmaker Parvez Sharma, a proud gay man whose 2007 film, A Jihad for Love, questioned Islam’s treatment of LGBT people. Homosexuality is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, so he decided to go back in the closet — both as gay and as a filmmaker — to get the visa and permissions to make the hajj. A Sinner in Mecca has screened in the U.K., Canada and U.S. — awarded Outfest's Best Documentary Feature earlier this summer — and has required extra airport-style security.

“Groups of conservative Muslims, are organizing themselves and coming with only one purpose in mind to publicly attack and shame the film,” Sharma told Out. “At a U.K. screening, it was a group of Saudi women who condemned the film in public. I tried to defend it, I have years of experience — I have experienced hostility face to face — but this time was different. I crumbled. They followed me out of the theater. It was an awful experience.”

A Sinner in Mecca opens in New York on September 4 and Los Angeles on September 11, before expanding to additional markets and VOD. But Sharma wants to make sure others get a chance to see the film since, as he explains: "People are reacting very strongly. But most are reacting to a film they haven’t even seen.”

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