Fear is the strongest of emotions. Cersei Lannister of ‘Game of Thrones’ and Donald Trump of the United States and Daesh of Syria and Iraq know it.
Parvez Sharma grew up in a small town in India, just twenty minutes from the Islamic seminary that gave birth to the Taliban. Now he makes fearless, multiple award winning films about faith, identity, religious extremism and social justice. Two of the best known are A Jihad for Love (8 million viewers) and A Sinner in Mecca (a NY Times Critics' Pick). In the latter, shot mostly with an iPhone, guerrilla-style, Parvez travels to Mecca to reveal a side of Islam that’s never been seen before. “We emerge from the film more enlightened,” writes The New York Times. He has been hailed as a “gifted filmmaker,” (The Wall Street Journal) “frankly brave,” (NPR) “provocative” (San Francisco Chronicle) and as carrying out “an attack on Islam” by Ayatollah Khamenei’s regime in Iran. From the UN to the DHS to Harvard to the EU Parliament to the Dar-ul-Uloom Sunni Muslim seminary in north-India, Parvez has spoken at more than 200 events worldwide about how to solve the "problem" with Islam. "A Jihad for Love", "A Sinner in Mecca" (film) and his first book, A Sinner in Mecca (A Gay Muslim's Hajj of Defiance) complete what is known as Sharma's "The Islam Trilogy." He was named one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” in a list headed by the Dalai Lama. A Sinner in Mecca is his first book.
Every Muslim is supposed to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, but Parvez Sharma discovered the hard way that this dirty, noisy, and nearly lethal trek was more hell than heaven.
A Sundance-winning filmmaker. A teenage rapper fleeing a forced marriage. Because of their nationalities and religion, Trump doesn’t want them in America.
Like the other two monotheisms that precede it, Islam has blood on its hands.
Gay men across Iraq are being rounded up, tortured, and killed by the country’s militias, including the feared Mahdi Army—while the government stands by. The Daily Beast’s Parvez Sharma gets an early look at a report documenting the brutality.
In his second online chat with Tehran photojournalist NS, Parvez Sharma witnesses Iran media breaking news on the release of former Iran President Rafsanjani’s daughter. NS details another brutal attack on a loved one during a protest—a male photographer attacked with large Ghameh knife, a weapon traditionally used during the Shia mourning ritual of Muharram. NS also finds a video with the title “Basiji beats 7 year old boy Tehran Iran” but can’t watch it—her access to YouTube is blocked.
Arash Aryan has not been silent or quiet. He has been on the streets and with a power and poignancy that is now becoming familiar. Parvez Sharma presents his latest report from Tehran, today on the day everything might have changed.
As violence flares in Tehran, The Daily Beast's Parvez Sharma spoke over Yahoo! Chat with a young Iranian journalist and Mousavi supporter who says she was arrested at the protests today and released. She describes the fresh violence--including a family member who was beaten, and shares extremely graphic video of a young women who was shot. Below is the unedited transcript of their instant message conversation, which took place at 9:36 p.m. in Tehran (1:06 p.m. EST). Her full name has been omitted from the transcript to protect her safety – we are identifying her only as “NS”. CAUTION: The video link included in this is extremely graphic and disturbing.
As demonstrations challenge Iranian authority, Parvez Sharma sends a new on-the-ground dispatch via a friend enmeshed in the Tehran protests: Some are fearful, but there’s a sense in the crowd that victory is within reach.
As Iranians dispute the results of Friday's election, Parvez Sharma sends The Daily Beast an on-the-ground dispatch written by a friend enmeshed in the Tehran protests.