Security is being added for Parvez Sharma, 41, the gay Muslim director of A Sinner in Mecca, following online threats ahead of his film’s world premiere at Hot Docs Wednesday.
“It’s (being done) out of an abundance of caution,” said Hot Docs executive director Brett Hendrie. “It’s obviously a film that is provocative and high interest, and so we have somebody who will be with Parvez.”
“I am a little worried. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” said the filmmaker as he left his New York home for Toronto, adding Hot Docs was arranging “a security detail of some sort” in response to his concerns about online hate mail and death threats.
“I expected backlash, but I did not expect it so early,” said Sharma, who said he was denounced and had a fatwa imposed on him by “a minor religious figure in South Africa” following the release of his 2007 film A Jihad for Love, which looked at the lives of gay, lesbian and transgender Muslims.
Hendrie said it is “quite rare” to add security at the festival, but it has happened in the past.
Maybe Hot Docs should have gone with an inoffensive Mormon exposé instead. ;)The threats, which don’t mention Toronto or Hot Docs, have come in via the film’s website and on message boards, which “have completely lit up where people are denouncing the film and me,” said Sharma. Iranian state media have denounced A Sinner in Mecca as part of a “Western conspiracy” to legitimize the “despicable sin of homosexuality.”...