Deeyah Khan, artist and champion of women’s rights

Deeyah Khan has a human rights award from the University of Oslo.

Deeyah Khan has shed an important light on women’s rights and freedom of speech. Her own story serves as a powerful example. As a young Norwegian-Pakistani musician in Norway she experienced being threatened to silence by conservative forces in the Pakistani environment and had to leave Norway at the age of 17.

– Giving Deeyah Khan this award will shed light on the situation of women and women’s rights, but also on a highly acute situation concerning young Muslims’ affiliation with radical Islam and extremism, says Inga Bostad, head of the award committee.

In 2012, Khan received the prestigious Emmy award for best documentary for her film Banaz – a love story about the British-Kurdish woman Banaz who was killed by her own family in a honor killing. Khan has recently released the documentary, Jihad: a story about the others, about young British Muslim men who join violent and extreme jihadism. In this film, Khan sets out to find out why the jihadi message has such an alluring hold on these young Westerners.

In January this year, she organized the World Woman conference, which focused on women, art and freedom of expression. Among the participants were Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. In 2007, Khan contributed in founding the Sisterhood institution, which assists young Muslim women in finding their own creative and artistic language.

– There is a distinct feminist trace in Khans work on freedom of expression. She has taken the initiative to found a number of organizations and institutions that aim to create awareness about women’s situation and their rights, says Bostad.

Khan is currently living and working in London.

The award ceremony is on Tuesday, 17 November 2015, at 1800 in the Old Festive Hall in Karl Johans gate, with subsequent reception for the Laureate.

Congratulations Deeyah!


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