AHA Foundation to Host First-of-its-Kind Conference in the U.S.

The AHA Foundation is proud to host a symposium on honor violence and forced marriage on June 6, 2011 at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City: This conference is the first of its kind in the United States.
Unfortunately, the need for this conference is not purely academic. Recent incidents from around the country highlight the necessity to focus on these crimes. In May of 2011, 20-year-old Jessica Moktad was murdered by her stepfather because he believed she was “not adhering to Muslim customs.” In October 2009, Faleh Almaleki murdered his 20-year-old daughter, Noor, by running her down with his vehicle because he believed that she had shamed the family by becoming too Western and refusing to marry a man he had selected for her in Iraq. In January 2008, 17 and 18-year-old sisters Sarah and Amina Said were shot and killed by their father in Texas because he disapproved of their Western ways. These are classic examples of honor killings that occurred right here in the United States. And these incidences are the tip of the iceberg. Our conversations with criminal justice professionals indicate that this problem is more widespread than most realize.

The AHA Foundation Honor Violence Symposium features an impressive lineup of speakers including Ayaan Hirsi Ali, award-winning humanitarian and leading activist in women’s rights, Laura Reckert, lead prosecutor in Arizona v. Almaleki, the first case in the United States where an honor violence theory was successfully used to obtain a conviction for a father who murdered his daughter, and Nazir Afzal OBE, Crown Prosecution Service Director, London. Mr. Afzal is the foremost criminal justice practitioner in the field of honor violence in the United Kingdom.

The goal of the symposium is to discuss with criminal justice professionals, first responders and domestic violence shelters the emerging problems of honor violence and forced marriage in the United States. Speakers will provide information on how to identify cases, best practices for investigating and prosecuting cases of honor violence and honor killings, and guidance on how to protect potential victims.