Deeyah has produced and directed a documentary film about the “honour” killing of Banaz Mahmod in South London in 2006. Deeyah talks to A Safe World for Women.
If you worry about offending the Muslim, Sikh, Hindu or any other community by criticising honour killings, then you are complicit in perpetuating it. Our silence provides the fertile soil and circumstances for this oppression and violence to continue. It’s not Islamophobic or racist to protest against honour killings. We have a duty to stand up for individual human rights for all people, not just men and not just for groups. Let’s not sacrifice the lives of ethnic minority women for the sake of so called political correctness.
Exactly. Not just men, and not just groups; if people within the groups are subject to oppression and violence, then we have to try to do something about it.
It is not OK to shy away from abuses happening against women in some communities, for fears of being labelled racist or insensitive – the very notion of turning a blind eye or walking on egg shells and avoiding to protect basic human rights of some women because they are of a certain ethnic background is not only fatal, but that is actually racist in itself.
We also need community awareness, responsibility and action. We don’t want the reactionary, rigid and orthodox religious leaders. But ones who care for our own communities, based on love, respect, dignity and equality. We don’t need community or religious leaders who will only protect and fight for the rights of the men and completely ignore the needs and struggles of women.