A Sinner in Mecca: Film Screening and Q&A with Director

March 30, 2016

Parvez Sharma

Wednesday, March 30, 5:30PM, Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St.

Doors open at 5:00 PM. The event is FREE and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by SFU Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, SFU Department of Humanities, SFU J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities, SFU Vancity Office of Community Engagement, SFU The Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures (CCSMSC), SFU School for International Studies, and Salaam Vancouver

The documentary, A Sinner in Mecca has been awarded numerous awards including: The New York Times Critic’s Pick, Grand Jury Award for Best Doc in the LA Movie Festival and sold-out in Detroit and Dearborn, Michigan (home to the largest per-capita Arab population in the United States). But perhaps most importantly the Urdu, Arabic and Farsi social media sphere has engaged in intense debate regarding the issues of the film.

The Vancouver premier on March 30, 2016 promises to have the same kinds of engagement here: about the power of story and documentary film to open up conversations about culture, religion, purposeful provocation, Orientalism. Colonialism, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and the policing of controversy from within and ourside.

Professor Adel Iskander from SFU's School of Communication will be moderating an open discussion with director Parvez Sharma after the film.


When he embarked on the most challenging journey of his life, openly gay and Muslim filmmaker Parvez Sharma was a marked man—publicly labeled an infidel for making the blasphemous argument that Islam and homosexuality could co-exist. Following the release of his 2008 film, A Jihad for Love, a fatwa (religious opinion) condemned him for the sin of apostasy. Reacting to the fatwa and the film, a commentator on a Saudi website posted, “If I could kill him with my own hands, I would. I am sure Allah will take care of that.”

Parvez’s remarkable journey in his new film, A Sinner in Mecca, takes him from his home in New York, the mecca of freedom, to a Mecca that is anything but home, and subsequently back to his birthplace in India. It was the tenth anniversary of September 11th when Parvez reached Saudi Arabia, an oil-rich nation 


Parvez Sharma (Director/Producer) is an award-winning filmmaker and writer. He directed and produced the multiple award winning A Jihad for Love, which premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival and opened the prestigious Panorama Dokumente section of the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival. The film went on to screen for over eight million people in 51 nations and was theatrically distributed in the US and Canada. He was named one of “50 Visionaries who are Changing your World,” in a list headed by the Dalai Lama. His writings on Islamic, racial and political issues have frequently appeared on The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast and The Guardian, to name a few. He has become a prominent speaker on Muslim issues speaking at hundreds of live events around the world and conducting workshops with the US State Department and Department of Homeland Security