Second Annual Conference on Honor Violence & Forced Marriage

The AHA Foundation, founded by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is proud to host its second annual symposium on honor violence and forced marriage on October 4th, 2012, in New York City.

The Conference will bring together leading criminal justice professionals, first responders and domestic violence shelter staff members to focus on the emerging problems of honor violence and forced marriage in the United States.  Conference speakers will provide information on how to identify cases, best practices for investigating and prosecuting cases of honor violence and honor killings, as well as guidance on how to protect potential victims. In addition, there will be a discussion on the recent criminalization of forced marriage in the United Kingdom.

The need for this Conference is illustrated by a recent incident in the United States.  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 2011, Faleh became the first person convicted of murder in the United States by a prosecutor using an honor violence theory.

Last year, the AHA Foundation Conference on Honor Violence and Forced Marriage was groundbreaking as the first of its kind in the United States. Building upon last year’s success, the 2012 Conference features an impressive lineup of speakers including:

  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali, award-winning humanitarian and leading activist in women’s rights
  • Nazir Afzal OBE, Crown Prosecution Service Director, London
  • Detective Chris Boughey, lead investigator in the Noor Almaleki honor killing
  • Heather Heiman, Senior Public Policy Attorney at the Tahirih Justice Center

Also at this year’s conference, Ric Curtis, Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will present the latest study findings highlighting the incidence of honor violence and forced marriage. The study, commissioned by the AHA Foundation, seeks to quantify the occurrence of honor violence in the United States and forced marriage in New York City, as no government agency currently tracks these statistics. Armed with the results of this study, the Foundation will be in a much stronger position to persuade government leaders to direct attention and resources to these issues.

About the AHA Foundation:

In response to ongoing abuses of women’s rights in the name of religion and culture, activist and academic Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her supporters established the AHA Foundation in 2007 as a charitable organization to help protect and defend the rights of women in the United States from oppression justified by religion and culture. The AHA Foundation is the only organization in the United States dedicated to understanding the scope and impact of honor violence, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM), and organizing effective intervention, support, enforcement, legislation, public awareness, and diplomatic initiatives to protect the victims of these crimes.

The AHA Foundation works to protect and reinforce the basic rights and freedoms of women and girls, including security and control of their own bodies, access to an education, the ability to work outside the home and control their own income, freedom of expression and association, and the myriad other basic civil rights defined under the laws of Western democracies and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Foundation is opposed to the adoption of dual legal systems to adjudicate family disputes in religious families and supports the separation of all religions and the State.