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Yanar Mohammed

3 October 2005
Born in 1960 in Baghdad, I came of age in turbulent political times. After leaving Iraq with my husband and infant son in 1993, I worked with other Iraqi women to establish the Defense of Iraqi Women's Rights (DIWR) in Canada in 1998. The shelter this organization helped open in Iraq has saved hundreds of women from honor killings. I was the director-coordinator of DIWR in 1998, 1999, and 2002. In June 2004, the group changed its name to The Organization of Women's Freedom, and relocated to Iraq.

In Iraq, I see myself as a key speaker on behalf of Iraqi women but I also work as editor in chief of a newspaper called Equality (Al-Mousawat). After three issues, I received a court summons for writing a story rejecting compulsory veils for women in Baghdad. In addition to my advocacy work, I am a recognised artist and architect. You can see one of my ceramic murals in the entrance of the Canadian Arab Federation building in Toronto. I graduated from Baghdad University in 1984 and obtained a master's degree in architecture there in 1993. Right now, the situation facing women in Iraq is dire.

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