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(The Globe did not publish my response so here it is for all to read)
Response to: We can end honour killings, but not with films by anti-Muslim zealots by Sheema Khan, Special to The Globe and Mail, Published Wednesday, Apr. 16 2014,
Ms. Khan has vaguely alluded to human rights in her article about Honor Diaries, but has tried to turn this human rights disaster into an international fiasco rather than address it for what it really is – a problem within Muslim majority societies. To know this, one must look at some of the facts:
· According to the International based violence awareness network, there are 1000 honor killings in Pakistan each year – these are only the reported ones.
· In 2010, 35,000 child marriages were conducted in Morocco (http://bit.ly/1iW2w3q)
· 90% of Egyptian girls are subject to female genital mutilation FGM http://uni.cf/1olKygr
There’s much more but to make a point – since many of these atrocities are taking place in Muslim majority countries, why the denial and knee-jerk reaction? We can only start to resolve a problem by first exposing it and this is what Honor Diaries does, if Ms. Khan has taken the time to see the full documentary. Ms. Khan’s sentence “Western civilization good. Muslims kill for honour. Muslims bad.” is definitely her own paranoia.
How long will we sweep these problems facing Muslim women, under the rug? We live in a time when hide and seek is an obsolete game. Facts are staring us in our face. If Iran and Saudi Arabia have a police force to measure the dress of women, we obviously have a problem of individual freedoms, not to mention the inability to drive or move around independently for many women.
Ms. Khan enjoys the freedoms of Western democracy, but how can she as a Muslim woman close her eyes to the atrocities being committed upon our sisters? Ms. Khan seems to be more interested in the lives and background of the film makers. Seriously? Was she unable to find anything specific in the film to critique?
In her article Ms. Khan mentions Aruna Papp, who is a champion for women’s rights. For her information Ms. Papp was a VIP guest at our Toronto screening of Honor Diaries and expressed great admiration for the film.
Ms. Khan comments “There is widespread doubt that the filmmakers actually care about the lives of women at risk.” I would say that they obviously care more than the “caring” Muslim Organizations who have had never exposed any of the ills we speak about in the film. If there is any doubt in anyone’s mind about Muslim organizations endorsing FGM, they just need to read about US Muslim Jurists sanctioning this horrific practice.