“Honor Diaries – Launch of International Screening Campaign”

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“Honor Diaries – Launch of International Screening Campaign”

April 3, 2014 – The Award-winning documentary, Honor Diaries (www.honordiaries.com), featuring nine brave activists fighting for gender equality and human rights in Muslim-majority societies, has made headlines for exposing some of the most horrific abuses women face, including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage and honor violence.

Efforts by detractors to silence the real issues: Over the past week, some US-based Muslim advocacy groups have been trying to prevent Honor Diaries screenings on several campuses, using campaigns of intimidation and by preventing student’s freedom of speech. They have also used twitter to harass women from the film and detract from the film’s real message.

“Instead of protesting the mass-scale abuse of women, American Muslim groups are protesting the film that brings voice to these issues, and provides a platform for female activists to speak out,” said Raheel Raza, one of the featured women in Honor Diaries. “The voices of the women in this film should be actively promoted, not stifled,” Raza said.

It’s completely dangerous and shows their mode of operation: bullying, scapegoating, censoring, avoiding issues” said Zainab Khan, who also features in the film.

These groups have succeeded in postponing a screening at the University of Michigan – Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses, and the University of Illinois – Chicago. We call on these campuses to immediately reschedule the screenings and allow for an open conversation on campus.

“I am disappointed, because what I can see by the reactions is that the people who are condemning the film have not seen it,” said Heidi Basch-Harod, a human rights activist and one of the film’s producers. “They are self-censoring, even. They aren’t giving themselves, or others, the chance to engage in dialogue and meaningful conversations about issues that are important.”

Our response: Nearly 50 campuses have already screened Honor Diaries and we are now proudly launching an international screening tour – which will reach even more campuses, schools and communities. See: www.honordiaries.com/host-a-screening/

Why we made Honor Diaries: Gender inequality and abuse in Muslim majority societies is one of the world’s most under recognized human rights concerns. Honor Diaries raises awareness of this issue, which also exists in North America and Europe. The film also calls for action to stop violence against women, and provides a platform for victims who are unable to speak out freely in many parts of the world.

The film has three executive producers of different faiths: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Chris Dewey, and Raphael Shore. “The film is both fair and responsible, and the filmmakers took great care to be very sensitive to the Islamic faith,” Raza added. “This is why more than half a million were able to see this film for months without any uproar. The uproar should come from the abuse that women regularly face.”

Our Calls to Action

The filmmakers are promoting a petition for US lawmakers to end FGM; a text-line to aid the growing number of women and girls at risk of forced marriage and honor violence in the United States; and the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). IVAWA legislative sponsor Rep. Jan Schachowsky (D-IL) presented at an Honor Diaries press conference in Washington D.C.

We encourage more human rights groups of all faiths to join in this critical effort.

More Facts

Honor Diaries is presented by five organizations: Women’s Voices Now, the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Karma Nirvana, the AHA Foundation, and the Clarion Project, with each group advising on the project. The film has a coalition of more than 35 partner organizations, including Muslim advocacy groups, human and women’s rights groups, and domestic violence centers. Honor Diaries has a multi-faith advisory council comprising of academics, business leaders, and activists.

Honor Diaries is told exclusively through the voices of women with ties to Muslim-majority societies, many of whom are victims of honor violence and subjugation. The women have often had to cope with intimidation and threats against speaking out.

  • To date, more than 500,000 people have seen the award-winning documentary on DirecTV’s Audience Network. Honor Diaries has been screened publicly in over 100 locations including nearly 50 college campuses.
  • The film has screened at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, at the UN Committee on the Status of Women in New York, in London’s House of Commons, the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance, and at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. A Chicago screening was co-hosted by the YWCA and the Anti-Defamation League.
  • The film has been an official selection in over half a dozen film festivals including the prestigious Chicago International Film Festival, and won the Best Documentary award in the interfaith category at the St. Louis International Film Festival.
  • Some Muslim groups have argued that the film should not focus on abuses taking place in Islamic societies, when violence against women is a global problem. Yet, according to the World Economic Forum, 9 out of 10 countries with the worst women’s rights records are Muslim-majority nations.

While violence against women is indeed a global problem, and that is made quite clear in the film, Honor Diaries enables women from within Muslim societies to speak openly about very real problems within our own communities – something which most women are unable to do,” said Raza, who is also president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow.

Honor Diaries is next screening on DirecTV’s Audience Network on Saturday April 5, at 4pm EDT, and is available for download on iTunes

Screening of the film “HONOR DIARIES” at the University of Michigan, Dearborn campus

From:  Raheel Raza, on behalf of Honor Diaries
Date: April 3
Contact info: 416-505-6052 / raheel@raheelraza.com

I, the undersigned, am one of the women whose voice is heard in the free speech / women’s rights film “HONOR DIARIES.”

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, the scheduled screening of HONOR DIARIES was canceled on the University of Michigan, Dearborn campus.

HONOR DIARIES is a film by, for and about women who value free speech.  When HONOR DIARIES was canceled on the University of Michigan, Dearborn campus – women’s voices were silenced.

In the name of free speech and women’s rights, I, the undersigned, on behalf of the HONOR DIARIES women, request that the film be immediately re-scheduled and publicly screened on the University of Michigan Dearborn campus – within the next two weeks.

Free speech delayed is free speech denied.

I respectfully request that the University of Michigan, Dearborn honor its commitment to screen HONOR DIARIES without further delay.


Raheel Raza
President, Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow






PS:  HONOR DIAIRIES was screened at the United Nations in New York on International Women’s Day (March 13, 2014), and at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHR) in Geneva, Switzerland on March 17th – without delay and without incident.  I ask that the University of Michigan follow the precedent set by the United Nations, and screen the film HONOR DIARIES without further delay.


Early Praise For “HONOR DIARIES”

“Make no mistake: The work of the nine activists featured in [Honor Diaries] is extremely important
as they fight for women’s rights.”
October, 7, 2013

“A film about gender inequality and the long history of oppression of women in countries around the
October, 15, 2013

“One of the thing(s) that’s important to remember is that no major world religion, be it Islam, Judaism,
Christianity… Not one condones violence against women. Or violence, for that matter!”

– NPR World View (WBEZ),
Alexandra Soloman, October 14, 2013

Women who have seen Honor Diaries – in their own words

“Such an important film.”
“A film like honor diaries brings the conversation home”

– K Sujata, President of Chicago Foundation for Women

“It’s so important that more people see this. Men and women.”
– Maisha Wynn from “Live to Wynn

DirecTV Documentary Series “Something to Talk About” Launches Women’s Rights Film: “Honor Diaries”

Film Sparks Movement to Stop “Honor Violence” Against Women and Girls

New York City – The powerful and inspiring new documentary film HONOR DIARIES – premiering on December 5th on DirecTV – is the first film to break the silence on ‘honor violence’ against women and girls.

WHAT: DirecTV documentary series “Something to Talk About” premiere of “Honor Diaries”
WHEN: Thursday, December 5, 2013 (time: TBA)
WHERE: Channel TBA (Clips available now at HonorDiaries.com)

Premiering alongside the Sean Penn-featured documentary “Haiti Untold” and “JFK: A President Betrayed,”
Honor Diaries features a cast of women’s rights activists, including New York Times Bestselling author Ayaan Hirsi Ali. “In male-dominated cultures, like Saudi Arabia, women and girls are treated like property, forced into marriage, and suffer female genital mutilation,” said Ayaan Hirsi Ali. “In Honor Diaries, I am proud to join these courageous women to speak the truth; that culture is no excuse for abuse.”

Honor Diaries is the first film to break the silence on ‘honor violence’ against women and girls,” said Paula Kweskin, Honor Diaries producer and international human rights lawyer. “More than a movie, Honor Diaries is a movement to save women and girls around the world, and here in America, from human rights abuses.”

Honor Diaries brings together a diverse coalition of human rights groups to champion this important cause, including: Women’s Voices Now, the AHA Foundation, All Afghan Women’s Union, Alliance of Iranian Women, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Congress of Racial Equality, Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Girls’ Globe, Tehrik-e-Niswan (The Women’s Movement of Pakistan) and more.

“When women suffer in silence, they suffer alone, and their suffering grows,” said Raheel Raza, President of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow and co-star of Honor Diaries. “Only when women come together and break the silence can this suffering end. On DirecTV on December 5th (time: TBA), Honor Diaries will break the silence on behalf of all women and girls.”

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For more information: www.HonorDiaries.com