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Oct. 15: University of Michigan Students Tackle Honor Violence with Film, Discussion

Students Vow to Hold Event Despite Past Intimidation Campaigns

Oct. 1, 2015, Ann Arbor, Mich. – UM-Ann Arbor will host a screening and panel discussion on Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. of the groundbreaking documentary Honor Diaries, which breaks the silence on “honor” violence against girls and women in Muslim-majority societies around the world. The event will take place in the Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union, 530 S. State St.

The screening and discussion, hosted by the campus’ Young Americans for Freedom, aims to educate students, faculty and others about honor-based violence explored in Honor Diaries, such as honor killings, female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. The event is also receiving financial sponsorship by the University of Michigan Central Student Government.

In the U.S., more than 500,000 girls and women are at risk of FGM; that figure is more than 3 million worldwide. Michigan is among 26 states lacking laws against FGM. An estimated 25 to 28 honor killings reportedly take place in the United States annually and more than 20,000 worldwide.

The panel discussion will showcase Raheel Raza, a progressive Muslim human rights activist and president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow. Raheel is featured prominently in Honor Diaries in which nine women who are Muslim or have roots in Muslim cultures delve into honor violence issues in a salon-style setting (see trailer).

In the past, screenings of the award-winning film organized at UM-Dearborn and other universities have been canceled following criticism and intimidation campaigns. Hosts of the upcoming event have vowed not to give in to such tactics.

“This event will raise awareness and encourage action against oppression and violence against women throughout the world,” said UM-Ann Arbor sophomore Grant Strobl, chairman of Young Americans for Freedom. "It is our responsibility as Americans to promote freedom and equality in societies that currently treat women as second-class citizens.”

Said Paula Kweskin, producer and writer of Honor Diaries and a human rights attorney, “It’s time to put an end to gender-based persecution, and we stand with the UM students courageously educating their peers and the community about these ongoing abuses.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information or to interview Grant Strobl, Paula Kweskin or Raheel Raza, contact YAFFreedom@umich.edu or (734) 823-7813.

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