Every year millions of Muslims from around the world travel to Saudi Arabia to complete the Hajj in Mecca, a pligrimage seen as a religious duty which every follower of Islam should complete at least once (if they are capable). However, what if you are gay and wish to go on the Hajj, even though the fact homosexuality is illegal in Saudi, and many Muslims believe being gay is one of the worst sins there is?
It’s something Parvez Sharma had to face, and he decided to film his journey, something made far more difficult not just because you can still be executed for homosexuality in Saudi Arabia, but also because filming in Mecca is banned. While he filmed on iPhones and other small cameras to try to go under the radar, he still had equipment seized and footage deleted, although thankfully the fact he was gay did manage to slip by the authorities.
The documentary he made, A Sinner in Mecca, premiered last week as the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto, and a trailer for the film has been released too.
The Indian-born director told CBS News, “The Hajj is the highest calling for any Muslim. For years I felt I really needed to go, so this film is about me coming out as a Muslim. I’m done coming out as a gay man.”
A Sinner In Mecca has already met with condemnation in some places, including Iranian state media denouncing the documentary as a ‘Western conspiracy’, which is designed to legitimise the ‘despicable sin of homosexuality’.
Take a look at the trailer below.