Despite what organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations say, the film "Honor Diaries" is about the abuses that women face around the world.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, human rights attorney Paula Kweskin, a writer and producer for the film, said it was clear CAIR had not seen the actual film and was trying to silence debate.
“I mean, one of the most engaging parts about this film is that it centers on a salon of women engaging and talking candidly,” Kweskin said. “And they don’t all agree with one another, but they respect one another and they’re talking about issues that are close to their hearts.
“And so I think this film is all about shattering silence and giving voice to women and so I think that a debate is encouraged, but certainly folks should be able to see the film and be able to examine the issues for themselves."
“Women were really at the front lines of a lot of the protests,” she said. “It was an exciting moment — to see that perhaps some of the issues connected with women’s rights in particular really might change and maybe some actual tangible progress made.”
And these issues aren't exclusive to the Middle East - or to the Islamic faith. Kweskin was quick to note that "Honor Diaries" makes this point “incredibly clear.”
“[W]hen you zoom out a little bit, the issues that women face in these countries are also issues that women face in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Australia -- and so this general concept of honor' doesn't only affect women in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, it's also affecting women all over the world,” Kweskin said.
Though Islam “does not condone any of the crimes,” Kweskin said, Muslim-majority countries tend to have serious problems with violence against women. “[I]n fact, [female genital mutilation] is something that’s pre-Islamic,” Kweskin said. “It’s been adopted by many communities who practice Islam but it is not an Islamic practice in and of itself.”
The film also discusses the fact that crimes against women occur in some Sikh and Hindu communities.
“The film does not take a position on whether it’s culture or religion that’s at play,” Kweskin said. “We say that culture is no excuse for abuse. We make it clear that culture or religion should never be an excuse to abuse women.”
For those who want to see the film for themselves, it will be aired on DirectTV’s Audience Network on Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT. It can also be downloaded on iTunes and the film’s producers encourage interested parties to host a screening in their community.