The hate mail is enormous and growing. And we intend to continue documenting it. Its surprising because the haters have not watched what they detest yet. This is a still unreleased film! However there are amazing messages of love and support pouring in as well. Here are a few.
Yousuf (not his real name) writes:
“Dear Mr. Parvez Sharma, I hope this message finds you well, it is long overdue. After watching your film several years ago “A Jihad for Love” it moved me very much to the point of coming out. I am a gay Muslim born in Iraq but raised in Canada, and coming out to my very conservative family was a difficult chapter. At the time I was 18 years old, following months and months of fighting and shaming I was forced to move out and drop out of university. My mother and siblings completely ostracized me for being a homosexual. With Allah’s blessing however, my family realized what many do not; that I am the same person, the same son and brother I had always been, and that they still loved me. They apologized eventually and asked me to return home with open arms of acceptance – something I am eternally grateful for. I am especially blessed to have them accept my boyfriend lovingly the way they have, another very rare circumstance for a gay Muslim.
I have long felt an absence of dialogue on the subject matter of homosexuality within Islam and the Muslim community, having had much difficulty discussing the matter with my family, I find it such a joy and breath of fresh air to see a gentleman like you continue to have faith in Allah despite a strong resentment from other Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The discussions that took place regarding the mentioning of homosexuality in Islam in your film were some of the same that I’ve had in my own home many times. The context is very difficult to discuss with an Imam or Sheikh despite living in Canada, and I felt similar resistance as was described in the film. The concept of independent interpretation and rational reasoning “Ijtihad” is one that should be encouraged more in the Muslim community I believe. I have come to understand that my personal relationship with Allah is all that matters, and that I will not allow another negative thinking person (Muslim or non-Muslim) have an influence on that. I truly believe that Allah loves all people, including, if not especially gay men and women, for their resilience and belief in Him.
Your recent mention in the article on The Daily Beast caught my attention and I must applaud you on your incredible bravery and noble efforts. You’re a brave man for making the pilgrimage to Mecca despite the huge risk on your safety. I have had a strong fear of making the pilgrimage myself, and look forward to watching your new film to absorb a more recent and relatable context to the matter with my family.
Simply put, I offer you my deepest thanks, gratitude and thoughts for being a leader to millions of gay Muslims who live in fear their whole lives because of the prejudice they might face. Your efforts are gallant, and you have inspired a great deal of reassurance in my beliefs. I hope that the future generations of young Muslims share the same understandings of unequivocal love, peace, and desire to live harmoniously among one another as you do.
I send you and your husband my warmest regards,”
“Asalaamu Alaikum Mr. Sharma,
I just read about your film on the Daily Beast and thought I would write you a quick note. I know the coming months will be challenging for you and want to wish you good luck. As a Muslim woman who performed Hajj in 2011 as well, I am happy you were able to complete the Hajj and return home safely to your husband, Dan. I truly believe that in the end, Allah will judge us by how we treated his creations, especially our fellow man. I pray that you and Dan are treated respectfully, even by those who have trouble understanding your life choices.
Takecare and I hope you and yours are in the best of health and Iman!”
Mahmood (not his real name) writes:
I was saddened to read in the Daily Beast article that no Muslims have come forth and expressed their support for your plight.
I am changing that. Thank you for what you are doing.
I am a gay Muslim. Having recently come out and dealt with what to me feel like huge issues, I cannot tell you how inspiring it is that there are people like you out there willing to put themselves in a vulnerable position to help others.
I am wondering whether I have it in me to do the same. I have written a piece about my own coming out story and still hover over the submit button. Based on your experience, would you say it’s worth it? It could cause no change or it could change my life forever. I’m undecided, but I have this deep down urge to do something and help other gay Muslims who are struggling with their sexuality.
I look forward to hearing from you and thank you again,”
“Since he’s taking his life into his hands by coming out as gay, it might be appropriate to treat his beliefs with a bit more respect. Few have the courage of their convictions.“