Malala Yousafzai is a symbol for female rights, particularly in the area of universal education for girls. Born in the Swat District of Pakistan in 1997, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. She is now going to school in England where she was rushed for brain surgery in Manchester. This happened when she was fifteen years of age.
The Swat district where Malala and her family lived is a strong hold for the Taliban. They closed many girls’ schools and threatened violence to the girls and their families if they attended. It is noteworthy that 50 prominent Islamic clerics declared jointly that the Taliban in trying to kill Malala had violated the fundamentals and spirit of Islam.
When she was eleven years old, the Taliban were closing girls’ schools. Malala wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule. Later, she was interviewed on international television, and documentaries were made about her life. Her activism became stronger, and she launched and became chairperson of the District Child Assembly for Swat. Her international interviews earned her awards and honours. Desmond Tutu nominated her for the International Children’s Peace Prize (for which she was a runner-up). She won Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize (which was renamed the National Malala Peace Prize). A girls secondary school in Karachi was renamed in her honour. Malala went on to win the Rome Prize for Peace, where she was made an honorary citizenship of Rome.
Angelina Jolie told the world that the actions of the Taliban only made Malala stronger in her voice and mission. The actress and human rights activist donated $200,000 to the Mala Foundation. Through the Women in the World Foundation a campaign has been launched to raise money for girls educations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Madonna dedicated her song, “Human Nature” to Malala.
Now, we wait to see if she will be the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2013. To the Taliban the message should be simple, “Love will triumph over Hate.”
Allah (God) is love, all religions should act on this Truth.