A documentary about a gay Muslim will no longer be shown at a film festival after a Kyrgyzstan court decision.
The film, ‘I am Gay and Muslim’, was due to be shown at the Bir Duino (One World) Human Rights film festival in the country’s capital Bishkek, today (28 September).
Mufti Rakhmatilla Egemberdiev, Kyrgyzstan chief cleric, said the film presented Islam ‘in a bad form, by using examples of people who have nothing to do with the religion.’
The State Committee on Religious Affairs decided the film contained signs of incitement of religious hatred and humiliation of Muslims.
I Am Gay And Muslim, shot last year in Morocco where being gay is illegal, was directed by 32-year-old Chris Belloni from the Netherlands.
On the his website Belloni says the film follows the stories of young gay men in Morocco exploring their sexual and religious identity.
He says: ‘I am gay and Muslim aims to raise awareness and break the taboo surrounding homosexuality while exposing a broad spectrum of dilemmas that the men struggle with or have overcome in the past.’
Kyrgyzstan authorities also banned controversial film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ earlier in September after it caused uproar throughout the Muslin world for being allegedly anti-Muslim.
Although Kyrgyzstan is seen as one of the more progressive gay equality countries in Central Asia because it legalized same sex relations in 1998, mixing sexuality and religion is a controversial topic.
This week’s HomoLAB podcast included a report from the Kyrgyzstan about gay rights in the country.
The report heard from LBGT charity Labyrs, a Bishkek organization dedicated to promoting gay equality in the country.
A Labrys spokesperson said one of the biggest problems facing the gay community was their ‘sense of self worth’ and it was hard to convince a gay or lesbian person to look after their health.
Watch the trailer for the film below: