Banaz: A Love Story

2012 ,    »  -   31 Comments
Ratings: 9.29/10 from 163 users.
Banaz: A Love Story

Banaz Mahmod was executed for the crime of love. Strangled to death at 20 years of age and stuffed in a suitcase, Mahmod was the subject of an "honor killing". This classification of murder is committed by members of the victim's own family in response to an act of perceived shame of dishonor. The feature-length documentary Banaz: A Love Story tells the harrowing story of her short life and brutal murder at the hands of those who should have cared for her the most.

At the age of ten, Mahmod moved with her family from northern Iraq to Britain. Seven years later, she wed a significantly older man in an arranged marriage. When that relationship turned threatening and violent, she took steps to end the marriage, and fell in love with a man of her own choosing in the process. Given the restrictive nature of her heritage, particularly as it pertains to even the most basic of women's rights, these acts were looked upon by several members of her family as severe offenses worthy of the ultimate punishment.

The film paints a horrific, yet deeply sensitive and human portrait of a woman full of promise, but long victimized by a culture designed to oppress her. The most devastating insights come from an older sister who testified against her own family during the trial. Insisting upon remaining nameless, living in hiding, and masked behind a burka out of fear for her own life, she recounts a stunningly beautiful woman whose greatest sin was a desire to transcend the limitations set upon her.

These limitations were inflicted early upon Mahmod, the sister recounts, as she and each of her female siblings were forced to suffer genital mutilation at the hands of their own family from an early age. She continued to suffer indifference from those who should have protected her in the weeks prior to her demise, as she sought counsel from the police on five different occasions and was only met with skepticism and inaction each time.

The winner of multiple prestigious awards, Banaz: A Love Story is justifiably difficult to watch at times, but i'’s a personal portrait that demands attention and empathy from all.

Directed by: Deeyah Khan

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31 Comments / User Reviews

  1. TomazZzz

    Poor woman :( after all that she has been through and all that she told the police - they had no will, brains and moral obligation to help her??? AND then they feel like they are above middle eastern mentality? While letting things like this happen???
    Shame on You, decaying western civilisation! U R pale in comparison to even chimpanzees and their social structure. Yuck!

  2. oQ

    Why wasn't the mother put in jail?

  3. Heather

    This is what a Patriarchal system in the extreme does to women who are seen as nothing more than property of the men. It's what will come to other parts of the world as it spreads it's cancer via archaic and brutal religions which are bent on dominating the world.

  4. DylanMajor

    yes more should get charged

  5. Alliyah

    @heather This has nothing to do with religion. This is culture.

  6. Anne T

    Banaz hoped that by going to the police someone would help her. I can only imagine how disappointed she must have been to have finally gotten the courage to go to the police and make her statement and then being brushed off like she was. The details she revealed were so personal; it must be sad to tell the world the details of how you have no value to your family. Its sad that she found love in Rahmat and that she had to keep it a secret. What makes it saddest of all is that its still happening. There are still people who stupidly are convinced to become a part of the problem in these deaths because its politically incorrect to say the truth about another religion or race. Its good this video was made but its not enough. She was a person who only wanted a chance to be loved and happy; if there is a life after death hopefully she will find the pace and love there that she did not find in life. Her sister was very brave to have testified in her defense - at least Banaz had one family member who loved her enough to tell the truth. Lets only she doesn't meet the same sorry end.

  7. Tyson

    I would loose my mind if someone hurt my children.
    I hope that the law finds a new way to protect these women in the near future if not now!

  8. Francisco

    Just the begining...

  9. Goodie

    Too bad if she wasn't a slut she'd probably still be alive she shulda followed her cultures rules. Sad.

  10. dan

    You cannot blame one culture's indifference to another's. Blame the people that allow this.

    The police don't get involved because there are no witnesses and when there is the same witness either recants or another family member denies the event even happened.

    Again blame the people (culture) not the police. And remember there is an expense that goes into all of this and the police only have x amount of recourses so do the math.

  11. Kat

    Very sad...again women are not being valued

  12. Terri Sider

    Goodie, what a st*pid disgusting comment you made!

  13. Leigh Atkins

    Islam is not even good for Muslims - what good is it at ALL then? Coz it's certainly no good for anyone else on the planet...

  14. Starlina Jackson

    This was one of the saddest documentaries I've seen in a while. Her murder should have been prevented if people would have listened to her. This so called "honor killing" is the most insane medieval act in a culture that needs to be banished forever and ever. Her life meant something but nobody thought enough to help her when her husband was beating and raping her on a daily basis. It seems to be more shame in leaving an abusive marriage than honoring a family name.

  15. Anon

    Disgusting religion. Disgusting people. How can you do that to your own family.

  16. qani

    @anon dont be quick to insult the religion of 2 billion people. this has nothing to do with islam. its tradition. i myself am muslim and never heard anything even close to this happened in our society.

  17. Michel Polnicky

    No I won't be cool
    I have the right to speech and here is a piece of my mind on this
    She went to the police how manmy times five ? and they didn't believe her Scotland Yard wake the **** up, beaten and rape at 17 years old on multiple occasion she even warn you ****** that if something was to happen to her it would be ''them'' the women in Irak have no voice so this adds insult to injury because in the UK one is supposed to have a voice but you didn't listen and because of that this young woman died at the hands of her own family and a terrible death at that, Shame on them and Shame on the autorities who in this documentary take no part of responsibility for her death, well in my eyes you have her blood on your hands the bunch of you, to the Muslim women who want out make sure that you have a circle of friends that you can trust, Banaz didn't have one she even ask the police what can you do for me...turns out they acted after her death.
    To her sister I have no words to tell you how sorry I am for your lost, please acc ept the expression od my deepest sympathies.
    To her ''father & Uncles'' may you burn in hell for all times I would be happy to stroke the fire, die slowly and in agony !

  18. Michel Polnicky

    qani it's 2016 wake the hell up annd stop lying this has everything to do with Islam
    Think it's not illegal !

  19. Rasha

    This has nothing to do with religion. Those cowards were criminals.

  20. TY

    The cops were completely incompetent to not help her after she contacted the first time let alone after the fifth time. You can easily see the severity of her situation from the video taped interview, she even asks "what can you do for me?" the answer was absolutely nothing, and it resulted in a devastating tragedy that could have been avoided. Also barbaric religious practices have no place in modern society, honour killings are huge issue and made all the more tragic because these girls are being abused and murdered by the people who should be protecting them, their own families.

  21. Brock

    This has absolutely nothing to do with religion, it's culture. And this is coming from someone who detests religion.

  22. Narayana

    This documentary has ripped a hole in my heart.

    I feel so angry at the police for failing to protect this girl and act on her multiple and candid statements. I think these police should loose their jobs and do time, they are responsible in part for the harm the befell Banaz.

    May god bless her forever.

  23. Michel

    I'm a single father
    And what happened here bottles my mind, I do not care for religion or acts in the name of it, what I saw here...if I can find the words, is ''humanity'' at it's worst. How can a ''father'' kill is own little girl (in a father heart is girl is alway's little) The "man'' immigrated to the UK for a better life, and that's exactly what she was building for herself, he killed her for traditions and his place in the community well I'm Canadian and as I said before I don't care for religion tradition's.
    This monster shouldbe drop in the middle of the tundra (Nothern Québec) with nothing but a knife and some fishing line, if he makes it out I would give him life in jailed if not. Oh well.....

  24. Ken

    Let's hope police learned to take things more seriously. Also: kids brought up in that toxic belief system have to do all they can to break free. If Banaz had spoken with me, I would have taken her far away from her murderous family and kept her safe. She would still be alive, but her mind would still be partially polluted by the putrid belief system she was brought up in. Whether she (and her sisters & brothers) can get clear-headed is debatable. Ask any North Korean or Arab: it's hard to get clear from harmful and sick brainwashing.

  25. Karen

    All the culture is based on religion. I don't understand why you people saying it's not can't see it? Why did this mongrel gutted **** not just leave the family in whatever craphole he come from? You brought them to a country and killed her because she assimilated. DOG. And the rest of them are dogs too for doing this shit. (sorry, dogs of the world. YOU are welcome in my house anytime. Not these human scum)

  26. Leigh Atkins

    Awww aren't they cute? The men of Banaz's family think they're people! Look at them walking around on their hind legs! You can tell that it's quite tiring for them though so we should just let them go back to walking on all fours, back in their dumpland of origin coz only civilized people are allowed to walk around in society without a leash & an owner. Why did they bother to go to the UK anyway? Wasn't their dumpland of origin any good anymore? I wonder why?!?!
    If these people want to walk around on 2 legs without a leash under the guise of a socially evolved human being, they need to leave their wild- dog lifestyle in the last millennium.
    Oh well, that's what you get when Satan is in charge of your heart & your life & we know that Satan is in charge here coz the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Look at the results.

  27. Bernie

    If anyone is serious about discovering the truth about Islamic culture and it's originator the "prophet" Mohammed then read JK Sheindlin's The People Mohammed. It will reveal all about the origins of this barbaric culture. He was a sex fiend and schizoid thug who was also an excellent manipulator and liar. It's no wonder that women are objectified and subjugated anywhere that this warped religion prevails.

  28. Pete

    Poor woman, this is a very sad story. It's also sad because a great number of Muslim women are happily married and proud to serve the household, take care of their children at home, etc... Here in the West our children are instructed by strangers at a very young age and often exposed and scandalized by immoral behavior at a critical time of their psychological and spiritual development. There is bad in every society. At least in Islam, pornography is not rampant. I would love to see some counter balancing in documentaries that shows the good in a religion instead of always exposing the worst parts of it.

  29. daniel

    I am 36 years of age and I have never commented on a thread ever before, but this time I have to say something.... My first thoughts are in anger to the ones that did this to you, not just your family but those who where given the opportunity to save you and didn't. I could write a book on how confused, disgusted and upset I am that this was allowed to happen. But instead I would prefer to direct my thoughts to you Banaz, and to say that I am so sorry. I'm so sorry that in your short life you experienced so much hate and oppression, that you where never allowed to be free, that you felt like you had no one to turn to, no one cared, and that after all you went through, You still had to die in such an horrific way, I can only imagine how you must have felt in the last moments of your life. I wish with all my heart that I'd met you and discovered your position. The feelings of remorse are overwhelming to have not even been aware that you where there, somewhere, hurting, and afraid. You where a beautiful and delicate flower born into a world that you where simply to good for. I for one will never forget you, your story has effected me deeply, and I will forever hold you close to my heart. I am not a religious man, but I prey where ever you are, you are being looked after and treated the way you should have been from the moment you blessed this earth with your presence.

    I am lucky enough to have had 36 years of freedom and support from my family, I would trade in the rest of my days for just one day for you, to experience just that, a perfect day where you are free from fear, free to love and free to do what ever you want with nothing but support and love from those around you. If only I could give you this. :(

    I'm sorry xxxxxxxxx

  30. Last viewer

    Not a religious or cultural drama to me.
    I loved the ending when they quote the many others "Honor killings".
    In this material world, there's the religious & cultural rules but also the rule of laws of all the countries. Every religion state that their god will judge us in later times ; Not in this world.
    So ? Could you guys sit on it and have the patience ?

    The teaching in here ; efficient segregation is a good thing to humankind.
    Too bad the whole emane from one of the Moslem culture but we know that international shelter can is and is offered to anyone who has the will such as this young women.
    Although, the minute a next-kin of their family mysteriously disappear or die in an occidental soil; there should first be judgment then and if not guilty, the whole family sent back in their country ! They don't know ? We now know !

    What's the use of keeping such criminals in prison ?
    They were born like this and will die as such.
    The proof was good enough to put them all to to death.

    Most importantly, the mother should be present to all execution before being put to death.
    If any country accept any guys like this "Goodie" on their soil, send them in northern Irak and put back a dictator over there, as maniac as Saddam was.
    For sure, the family within this DOC wasn't one of Saddam favorites.
    - Look at the dates they flew away...
    - Just like anyone, I one had compassion learning that Saddam used USA chemical WMD.
    Such archaic cultures are dangerous to all human being.

    Useless in a better world.

  31. Pamela Allee

    This story makes it very difficult to regard the men of this culture s anything more than pigs (sorry to demean an animal by comparing it to an inhuman and inhumane criminal.).

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