“Honor Diaries,” a documentary on the tradition of “honour” killings as a tool for resolving inter-family conflicts, touches a sensitive topic, which is often ignored or downplayed by the media. Though it is practiced by different cultures, in many places it is condemned and punished; the reason of its notoriety is its place in Islam. In many Muslim countries it is seen as an odd way to restore family honour, damaged by a person (usually woman), who has done something unforgivable. The troubling part is that in those societies that type of murder is not punished strongly enough and often is even encouraged.
The documentary is an ambitious initiative to bring attention to that dark side of fanaticism. Several Muslim women gather to talk about the honour killings, revealing chilling and disturbing facts and telling stories of victims. The fact that the documentary features women, who are part of that culture, makes its impact much more powerful than if it were narrated by impartial researchers.
The Canadian Patriotic Society organized a screening of the movie in Toronto on October 9, 2014. It attracted over 30 people, including students. Sharon Isac from CPS was the MC for the event.
CPS also invited three speakers with intimate knowledge of the issues raised in the documentary. After the screening they made short presentations and then participated in a discussion panel.
Sayeh Hassan, an Iranian-Canadian criminal lawyer and human rights activist, talked about the bleak existence of Muslim women under sharia law. That is an acute problem in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia, where women are treated as second-class citizens and face profound discrimination in society.
Another participant in the panel was Athar Khan, a political commentator and activist and former Salafist. Drawing on his own personal experience with fanaticism, he emphasized the need to reform Islam. Without profound changes, it will be impossible for its followers to adapt to the modern society.
Lt.-Col. (Ret. IDF) Jonathan Halevi is a journalist and researcher, with deep interest in the issues of Islamic radicalism and terrorism. He speaks several Middle Eastern languages, which gives him the opportunity to follow the Islamic press and broadcasting. Not surprisingly, clerics and “scholars” are much more open about their anti-Western goals when they communicate in their own languages. In his presentation, through books and pictures, he demonstrated how deeply entrenched Muslim radicalism in Canada has become.
During the panel discussion the participants answered many questions from the audience. Unfortunately, it had to be cut short, because the time wasn’t enough to cover every issue of interest.
In the videos below you can see two of the presentations and the panel discussion.
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