Imagine if you will, that a girl of only 12 years of age would write an anonymous blog promoting the education of girls and telling about the horrors of her life under Taliban rule. A year later, the girl is identified and featured in a New York Times documentary, at the same time her region of the world was in the midst of turmoil and battle.
Her eloquence and bravery in standing up for the educational rights of girls earned her a position as Chair of District Child Assembly Swat, referring to the Swat District of Pakistan, at the ripe old age of 12. By the age of 13, this beautiful young girl has captured the attention of world leaders, one of which was Desmond Tutu who nominated her for the International Children’s Peace Prize. She has been awarded the National Youth Peace Prize by Pakistan, the first time the award has been given, and Jason Kenney the Canadian Minister of Citizenship has nominated her for the Noble Peace Prize.
The problem is, strict Islamic ways do not allow for the education of girls. Only boys are privileged enough to receive schooling, and this young Pakistani girl is bucking a strict male dominated system which led up to October 9, 2012. On her way home from school, Taliban gunmen opened fire on her school bus, shooting the young girl in the head and neck and leaving her for dead.
However, she didn’t die, but did lay in a coma for several days. After regaining consciousness and some of her strength, she was flown to a hospital in the United Kingdom where she has undergone a remarkable recovery.
Meet Malala Yousafzai, now 15 years of age and still vowing to fight for the educational rights of Muslim girls, even knowing that Taliban extremists have issued a fatwa or an order to kill her and her father. Still undergoing several months of recovery and counseling at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham under heavy police guard.
Even after her release, she may not be able to move freely around because of the impending fatwa. A fatwa is a religious declaration issued by a Muslim scholar which can carry various forms of punishment up to death.
According to Anjem Choudary, founder of the outlawed al-Muhajiroun, the fatwa against Malala will be issued in December at a conference and will not carry the death penalty. However, Taliban extremists have stated that they intend to kill her no matter where she is or what the fatwa states.
It’s rare that I would write to praise a Muslim, but I can’t help but applaud Malala for standing up against the centuries old traditions that keep Muslim women uneducated so they can continue to be abused through Sharia law. The more education Muslim women receive, the more likely they are to break away from age old traditions and embrace more of the modern world. Once they embrace the modern world, they are also more receptive to hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and converting to Christianity. Therefore, I hope and pray that Malala can continue to help more Muslim girls receive an education which may in the long run help lead them to Christ.