On the evening of June 10, MALA co-hosted a special Capitol Hill screening of The Price of Honor, an award-winning documentary about the murders of Amina and Sarah Said, teenage sisters from Texas who were killed in a premeditated “honor killing” in 2008. The film chronicles the lives of the sisters and the path to their eventual murders by their own father, Yaser Said, who fled the crime scene and remains at large.
The event, focusing on honor-based violence in the United States, was hosted by Congressional Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) along with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in the Orientation Theater in the Capitol Building.
The event also featured several individuals who have contributed their stories to MALA’s “Muslim American Journeys” program with NPR’s StoryCorps. A highlight presenter on the discussion panel following the film’s abridged screening was Naila Amin, a young women from Queens who is a forced child marriage survivor. (Explore Naila’s story here.)
Naila spoke about her experience in heartbreaking detail, while also demonstrating her resolve to be part of a positive solution to domestic honor crimes. Her testimony highlighted the fact that the United States is not immune from human rights violations like forced marriage. Along with the story of the Said sisters depicted in the film, Naila’s presentation brought home the immediacy of the challenge.
The panel discussion included several human rights experts, including MALA’s President, Zainab Zeb Khan. In addition, the film editor for “The Price of Honor” documentary – Pooyan Manoochehry – contributed his own narrative to the “Muslim American Journeys” program. His personal story describes coming to the U.S. from Iran and trying to leverage film as a powerful asset in the struggle for basic human rights.
The advocates and congressional leaders present pledged to do more to elevate the public policy discussion on honor crimes and advance practical efforts to help end this human rights challenge.