Act of Faith: A Film on Gays and Islam
By MATTHEW HAYS
Documentary filmmakers have long wrestled with the need to obscure the identities of gays and lesbians in their work, to avoid unpleasant consequences like job loss or a falling out with family. Parvez Sharma, a New York-based director, has been worried that much worse could await the Muslim homosexuals profiled in his upcoming "In the Name of Allah," if ever they were identified.
For some, imprisonment or torture is a possibility, Mr. Sharma said. Indeed, one of Mr. Sharma's associate producers, a gay Egyptian man, will not be listed in the credits at his own request because of the perceived risk.
And threats to the director have become routine. "About every two weeks I get an e-mail that berates me, condemns me to hell and, if they are nice, asks me to still seek forgiveness while there is still time," Mr. Sharma said, speaking here about his as yet unfinished film, which he is preparing to take on the festival circuit in faraway 2006.
That such pressure is building around a project still more than a year from completion is the best measure of a perhaps widening gulf that separates an increasingly open attitude toward gay and lesbian life in many Western countries from that of predominantly Muslim ones.
US extends soldiers' Iraq duties
The US Defense Department has said that 6,500 US troops have had their tours of duty in Iraq extended by two months.
The move is being made in order to boost troop numbers and capabilities ahead of Iraqi elections in January.
A car bomb outside the education ministry in Baghdad has killed at least five people, reports say.
West of Baghdad, US artillery and jets have been striking what US military officials believe are insurgent targets in Falluja and Ramadi.