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In the Name of the Family
Honor Killings in North America
A Film by Shelley Saywell
Canada, 2010, 60 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W111044
Schoolgirl Aqsa Parvez, sisters Amina and Sarah Said, and college student Fauzia Muhammad were all North American teenagers—and victims of premeditated, murderous attacks by male family members. Only Muhammad survived. Emmy® winner Shelley Saywell examines each case in depth in this riveting investigation of "honor killings" of girls in Muslim immigrant families. Not sanctioned by Islam, the brutalization and violence against young women for defying male authority derives from ancient tribal notions of honor and family shame.

As friends and relatives trace escalating tensions leading to the crimes, IN THE NAME OF THE FAMILY explores community reactions to the tragic events. The film also delves into the dual, precarious existence of other young Muslim women struggling to bridge two worlds, along with Muslim women’s efforts to help girls at special risk. With consummate documentary skills and a passion for human rights, Saywell puts a much needed human face on a subject that is all too often silenced or sensationalized in post-9/11 North America.


  • International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)
  • Hot Docs International Film Festival, Best Canadian Feature
  • Cleveland International Film Festival
  • One World Film Festival, Prague
  • Toronto Human Rights Watch Festival

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    "A haunting documentary … a tender but fierce expose."
    POV Magazine

    "Riveting …director, Shelley Saywell, is a gifted filmmaker whose work has been acclaimed around the world. Her specialty is venturing into places where others fear to tread—and she found this particular place right here in Canada ."
    The Globe and Mail

    "Highly Recommended"
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    “[W]hile problems in assimilation by immigrant communities is hardly not unusual, the level of hostility presented in this film gives the impression that too many Islamic families who come to this continent are stuck in a vicious, medieval time warp.”
    Film Threat

    "***1/2...As an eye-opening examination of an important human rights issue, this is highly recommended.”
    Video Librarian

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    In the Name of the Family is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us