Mukhtar Mai to Be Honored by MPAC

Washington, DC The Muslim Public Affairs Council, KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, and the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) announced that they will host "An Evening with Mukhtar Mai" at the ADAMS Center in Falls Church, VA, on Friday, April 28, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
Mai, who gained international recognition last year when she was profiled by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff, is a symbol of courage to Muslim women around the world. In 2002, Mukhtar Mai was gang-raped in public on the orders of a village tribunal in retribution for a crime her younger brother allegedly committed. Defying social stigma, Mai refused to be silent and took the rapists to court. The perpetrators were initially convicted, but then acquitted by a second court. In June 2005, the Pakistani Supreme Court agreed to rehear the case and eventually convicted her attackers.
Mai subsequently became a symbol for advocates for the health and security of women in her region, attracting both national and international attention to these issues. President Pervez Musharraf awarded Mai a financial settlement of about $8,000, which she used to build two local schools, one for girls and another for boys. There were no schools for girls in Mai's village before this and she never had the opportunity to get an education.
"I have a message to the women of the world and all the women who have been raped or any of the kind of violation: that, no matter what, they must talk about it and they must fight for justice," Mai told CNN in a recent interview. "I do feel that if I stop now or step back it will harm a lot of women. So, I have to keep going and keep helping others."
SEE: "The Pakistani Who Fought Back and Won" (CNN, 11/5/05)
With the international attention she has received has come further financial support for her campaign to provide education to impoverished populations. Mai continues to stand up for justice and emphasizes that her treatment sharply contradicted the principles of Islam.
WHAT: An Evening with Mukhtar Mai
WHEN: Friday, April 28, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: All Dulles Area Muslims Society (ADAMS)
46903 Sugarland Rd., Sterling, VA 20164
CO-SPONSORS: Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC),
KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights,
All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)
"It is our hope that this event can help raise awareness about the reality of sexual violence and encourage Muslim Americans to speak out against it," said MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati. "We applaud Mukhtar Mai for speaking out, insisting on justice, and providing opportunities for education that can improve the lives of future generations."
"Mukhtar Mai has identified the root problem of feudalism and tribal customs in Pakistan, which takes away the dignity of women, men and children. She has taken steps to return to a more Islamic system of conflict resolution, forgiveness and spreading education" said Irfana Anwer, Executive Director of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. "We are honored that Mukhtar Mai will meet the Muslim community at a mosque which is known to be inclusive and respectful of women, and meet with Imam Muhammad Magid who supports her like her local Imam in Meerwala does."
ADAMS is one of the largest Muslim communities/mosques in the DC Metro Area and in the United States, serving over 5,000 families in seven branches throughout Northern Virginia. ADAMS engages in regular interfaith, government relations, social services, and community service.
[CONTACT: Irfana Anwer, 202-234-7302; Zuleqa Husain, 202-547-7701; Edina Lekovic, 213-383-3443, communications@mpac.org]

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