deeyah khan

Deeyah Khan

  • Filmmaker
  • Music producer
  • CEO of Fuuse


During her fellowship, Deeyah will work with her Fuuse colleague Dr. Joanne Payton to conduct research on violent extremism and the role of artists and artwork in bridging gaps between communities, challenging extremist worldviews, and exploring underlying social and psychological issues.

Deeyah Khan is a film director, music producer, and human rights activist. Born in Norway to parents of Punjabi-Pashtun descent, she began her career at 7 as a singer and stage artist. Deeyah experienced ongoing harassment, including threats against her life, from extremists who considered her musical career “dishonorable,” hostility that eventually forced her into exile.
Deeyah’s personal experience of repression has motivated her subsequent work. In 2010, she collaborated with Freemuse: The World Forum on Music and Censorship to produce Listen to the Banned, an album featuring censored artists from Africa, Asia, and the Muslim world. This album hit the top 10 on World Music Charts Europe.
In 2009, she directed and produced Banaz: A Love Story, a documentary about honor killings. The film won both an Emmy and a Peabody Award in 2013. While working on this film, Deeyah founded Memini, a global initiative to remember victims of honor killings worldwide. She is the executive producer of a forthcoming documentary about two female musical artists’ struggle against censorship and patriarchal social structures, and she is completing her second documentary, which examines the social and psychological roots of violent extremism and the rise of the jihadi movement in the West.