Honor Diaries is an award-winning documentary film which, according to the website, "is more than a movie, it is a movement to save women and girls from human rights abuses – around the world and here in America..."
'Honor Diaries' - Islamophobia in the Name of Women's Rights?
By Shireen Ahmed, Global Correspondent for Safe World
I heard about this film from a colleague. She is a qualified, recognized social worker, advocate and a local shero who is disinterested in being a women’s rights media vixen.
She dedicated her career to advocating for Muslim women. She was so concerned about it after watching a trailer and she shared those legitimate concerns with me.
I waited to see it.
I am not a social worker. I am not a clinical counselor.
I have worked front lines in settlement, immigration and with cases involving VAW [violence against women] and mental health issues. I refer to the specialists. I attend conferences and listen. I learn and I support when and where I can. I will speak to my experience not for any women or their children.
I routinely defer to women in the trenches and to the survivors, whose terrifying stories I have heard.
I only have three short points to make about “Honor Diaries”.
Firstly, it has been critiqued for further marginalizing abused women from their communities. It targets Islam as a problem and automatically infers that Muslim women are instant subjects of oppression. It misrepresents so many of their experiences.
Honour based violence is not only a problem in Muslim communities. Like all kinds of violence, it is in every community and culture.
To critique this point is NOT a denial that it exists in our own homes and families.
But instead of pointing fingers at the women and how they are humiliated and ridiculed, there are much better ways to go about this.
How many Muslim women survivors were featured? Too few. Odd considering it was focused on the patriarchy and perils of Islam.
Secondly, to not look at the funders, producers and organizations associated with this film is not only naive, it is dangerous.
Clarion foundation is well-known for its Islamophobic rhetoric.
To stand up and applaud oneself for speaking up while standing on a platform provided by an agency devoted to being anti-Muslim is absurd.
It is not brave.
As an example, to shout about atrocities against Palestinians while being on a platform provided by IDF is a bit oxymoron-ish, no?
This point can not be ignored.
Lastly, the online abuses against certain participants is abhorrent.
Bullying women and challenging their Imaan [faith] is totally unacceptable.
But challenging their participation with a group so terribly committed to belittling and humiliating the very group this film speaks for, is very necessary.
I don’t see much honour in this project.
Shireen Ahmed is a frontline worker in Social Services, writer and footballer living in Toronto. Her passions include #VAW advocacy, her amazing family, football, coffee and her two cats. She contributes to various magazines and writes about her experiences in football and sport in her blog “Tales of a Hijabi Footballer”
Blogspot: Tales from a Hijabi Footballer
Also by Shireen:
- FIFA and Head Coverings: "Football is for all of us"
- World Said 'Walk', Destined to Run
- Open Letter to Daphne Bramham on Women’s Soccer… and Burqas
- Veils, Sport and the Value of Dialogue
- Douchebag Sports Journalism and the Balotelli Girlfriend Sex Non-scandal
- Boston Marathon Tragedy through the Eyes of a Hijabi Footballer and Wannabe-Runner
- Iraqi Football: Re-Establishing Sport, Rebuilding Pride and Denouncing Denominationalism
- Gaza Marathon Cancelled After Women Are Banned From Participating
- A Dangerous Game for Women: Football and Corrective Rape
- Skateistan- bringing a whole new level of radical to Afghan Girls