A Sinner in Mecca
Out gay Muslim filmmaker Parvez Sharma has followed his award-winning documentary "A Jihad For Love" with an even more daring look at what it takes to renew his faith when he goes to Mecca for his sacred pilgrimage called a Hajj.
Every Muslim is expected to do this at least once in their lifetime, as it is their way of being forgiven for all their sins by Allah. The trouble is that it takes place in the fiercely conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia where homosexuality is not only forbidden, but it is a crime that is still punishable by beheading. To make his first visit there even more dangerous, Sharma planed to film the whole thing on his cellphone even though any type of recording in the places he was visiting was very strictly forbidden.
This is a very personal journey of a man who is constantly questioning his own faith, and whether he is a good Muslim. What he shows in this totally fascinating film is how centuries of religious traditions struggle to survive in a contemporary society that compels its members to comply with the rather brutal rigorous ceremonies that their forefathers have been doing for years, even though that is now in the shadows of one of the world's biggest shopping malls that adjoins the world's oldest mosque. It is difficult to comprehend the depths of such devotion, but comforting to appreciate that Sharma found his own peace by the end.