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Banaz A Love Story - Produced & Directed by Deeyah

"We need to work tirelessly, passionately, day in, day out and be available for what we are asked to do.

These victims are martyrs for love. They must not be wiped away, forgotten...

We can not continue allowing this slaughter of women in the name of culture, in the name of religion, in the name of tradition and in the name of political correctness.Deeyah.

“…. a completely shocking, revealing, and timely insight into the scourge of ‘honour killing’. … quite literally a horror movie tracking the brutal and agonising life, love, and death of Banaz Mahmod who is terrorised and ultimately put to death by the very people who should have loved her most – her family.”

Jon Snow, Channel 4 News

UK Premier 29th September, 2012 at the Raindance Film Festival

Banaz Mahmod was brutally murdered by her own family, in an honour killing. This film tells Banaz’s story, in her own words, for the first time – and tells the story of the extraordinary police team who refused to give up, and finally brought her killers to justice.

Produced and directed by Deeyah, this documentary chronicles an act of overwhelming horror – the brutal honour killing of Banaz Mahmod, a young British woman in suburban London in 2006, killed and “disappeared” by her own family, with the agreement and help of a large section of the Kurdish community, because she tried to choose a life for herself.

It was a case which shocked the entire world and received enormous international press coverage; but until now, the voice of Banaz herself has never been heard.

As the result of four painstaking years gaining the trust and co-operation of the extraordinary police officers who solved the case, the film contains heart-breaking footage of Banaz herself, detailing the horrors she was facing and accurately predicting her own brutal murder. The footage, which has never before been seen and has been obtained by the filmmakers for the first time, displays the warmth, beauty and courage of Banaz.

Despite the horror, what emerges is a story of love…


Deeyah Speaks Out

Deeyah-photoDeeyah is a critically acclaimed music artist, producer/composer and filmmaker from Norway and is a prize winning human rights activist. She was launched into stardom as a young child and later hailed as an artist and activist internationally. Deeyah - who is of Pakistani/Afghan heritage - has herself faced honour-based threats of violence.

Deeyah talked to Safeworld about her passion for making the film:

"We need to work tirelessly, passionately, day in, day out and be available for what we are asked to do.

These victims are martyrs for love. They must not be wiped away, forgotten.

It's very difficult. But we need to be very, very honest. There must be no compromise on the truth. But humility and respect is needed - not sensationalism.

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.

I'd rather hurt feelings than have women die because of our fear, apathy and silence. We need to stand in solidarity with each other. In order to create change we need to first care. We need authorities, decision makers and politicians to provide the same protections and robust actions for women of ethnic minority communities affected by honour based violence and oppression, as they would for any other crimes in any other part of society. 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.

I would like to be very clear and point out that 'honour based violence is a tribal pre-Islamic custom that has remained in our cultures through time - which happens, for example, in Hindu, Sikh and Christian communities as well.

It happens in very strict patriarchal cultures. This is why it's so hard to stamp out.

We can not continue allowing this slaughter of women in the name of culture, in the name of religion, in the name of tradition and in the name of political correctness. If we allow this to continue, we are betraying not only Banaz but thousands of Banaz' out there. This is an ongoing genocide and an argument about whether murdering girls and women is justified - and many people think it is! Although in the story of Banaz, justice eventually did prevail, giving us all hope and direction, still there are thousands of women and young people at risk from the various forms of honour based violence.

We can not continue to wash our hands of this, the simple fact is Banaz is still in the suitcase, thousands more are in the suitcase and thousands more are heading for the suitcase. Surely we should fearlessly do what we can to protect all individuals in our societies regardless of skin colour, cultural heritage or gender...?"


 "A powerful and deeply touching film that stirs a vast range of emotions and leaves you speechless.

The film shows the despicable depths that people can sink to as a result of peer pressure. It also shows the incredible courage and determination that human beings are capable of, when faced with atrocities and injustice.

Importantly, the film highlights the true horror of 'honour killings' - and that the very principle behind such a murder is futile. The intention of such a brutal act is to wipe out any trace of the person's existence. But this film ensures that Banaz's name and story is known far and wide. Banaz Mahmod will never be forgotten."

Chris Crowstaff, founder, Safe World for Women