Author's blog: 2007

28 October 2007: Distorting desire (2)

Interesting to see a favourable review of Joseph Massad's "Desiring Arabs" in the Jordan Times. The book's publishers, Chicago University Press, are obviously delighted.

As you will see from the review, the book is "basically a modern Arab intellectual history" which talks about "heritage, women’s status, health issues and how state policy has dealt with 'deviance'. Somehow, the 700-word review manages to completely avoid using the word "homosexuality".

29 August 2007: A Jihad for Love

The long-awaited film, A Jihad for Love, will have its world premiere in Toronto next month. The following email was received from producer Sandi DuBowski:

After 12 countries, nine languages, and five-and-a-half years, producer Sandi DuBowski and director Parvez Sharma are proud to announce the World Premiere of our film, A Jihad for Love, at The Toronto International Film Festival, September 6-16, 2007. The film is the first feature documentary to explore the complex global intersections between Islam and homosexuality.

We are thrilled for such a prestigious global launch of this challenging work.

I am extremely proud of the the hard work that went into this film by Parvez and our team over the years to make the film visually stunning, emotionally moving, daring and challenging.

We are living now in challenging times and both of us believe A Jihad for Love has to do justice to the lives of the subjects who so courageously came forward to tell their stories despite enormous risks. We have always intended that the film has profound impact in the world.

So please join us in Toronto! If you will attend the Festival, please forward your contact info.

The dates and venues of our screenings in Toronto are as follows:

Public, September 9th, 8.30 PM, Cumberland 3
Public, September 11th, 1.15 PM, Royal Ontario Museum
Public, September 15th, 11.59 PM, Varsity 7
Press & Industry, September 10th, 1:30 PM, Cumberland 3
Press & Industry, September 12, 11.30 AM, Varsity VIP 3

Visit  for information.

26 August 2007: Gay travellers

I must confess that I was a bit apprehensive when Michael Luongo sent me a copy of his new book, Gay Travels in the Muslim World. From the title, it sounded like a guide to a rather foolhardy kind of sex tourism. But fear not: it's a serious book and a good one, too, consisting of first-hand accounts from 18 different writers (including Luongo himself in Afghanistan). Taken together, these give a varied, subtle and thought-provoking picture. Highly recommended.

Michael Luongo will be giving talks in the US about the book, as well as his recent trip to Iraq, during September (details here) and is due to give a talk in London at Gays the Word bookshop in October.

Reviews: New York Post; Gay City News; Edge (Boston); New York Blade

15 August 2007: Rose of Cairo

For anyone who is interested and reads Arabic, the Egyptian magazine, Rose al-Youssef, has a two-part article about the Arabic edition of Unspeakable Love. Scanned copies of the pages are here: Part One (21 July 2007); Part Two (28 July 2007).

13 August 2007: Distorting desire

I haven't come across any reviews yet of Joseph Massad's new book, 'Desiring Arabs', so I have written one. It is here.

Postscript: A review by John Bradley appeared in the Financial Times on August 25.

23 July 2007: Pink planet

To mark 40 years since the legalisation of male homosexuality in Britain, the New Statesman magazine has a special issue on "the new global gay politics". I wrote a piece for it looking at developments around the world.

5 May 2007: Statement by Muslims

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the apparent reluctance of British Muslims to engage in debate about homosexuality. Well, there are a few signs that it's changing.

On Monday - a day after the new equality law came into force in the UK - the Muslim Council of Britain issued a statement opposing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. This may seem like a fairly small step but, as I noted in an article for the Guardian's Comment Is Free website, it's also important.

In the discussion thread beneath the article some readers were sceptical and suggested it was merely window-dressing or a PR stunt. From what I know of the background, it was not. Those in the MCB who were pressing a statement had quite a struggle to get this far. The statement also prompted some angry reactions from several other British Muslim groups.

One reader of my article pointed out that in 2005 the Muslim Canadian Congress went much further and endorsed same-sex marriage legislation in Canada. However, there is a big difference between the Canadian MCC and the British MCB. The MCC is a relatively small organisation which takes a "progressive" view of Islam; the MCB seeks to act as an umbrella organisation for British Muslims and reflects more mainstream (ie conservative or traditional) Muslim opinions.

1 May 2007: Cape of Good Hope

I have an article about gay Muslims in the May issue of GT magazine which includes interviews with Muhsin Hendricks, the South African gay imam, and Parvez Sharma, maker of the forthcoming documentary film, A Jihad for Love.

The article is not on GT's website so, with their agreement, I have posted it here.