Malala Yousafzai was a remarkable 14-yr-old student who had been recognised for her appeals for peace in her native Pakistan. Singled out by the Taliban, she was shot while riding home from school.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which attacked National Award Peace winner Malala Yousafzai on Tuesday have said that they will target her again if she survives because she was a “secular-minded lady.” A TTP spokesperson told The Express Tribune that this was a warning for all youngsters who were involved in similar activites and added that they will be targeted if they do not stop.“She was young but she was promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas,” he said, referring the main ethnic group in northwest Pakistan and southern and eastern Afghanistan.
Malala was shifted to Saidu Sharif Medical Complex in Mingora immediately after the incident and later she was moved to Peshawar in an Army helicopter. Doctors at the Saidu Sharif Medical Complex said that Malala was out of danger after the bullet penetrated her skull but missed her brain.
After getting done with Malala’s check-up, the doctors said that she might be sent abroad for treatment. As the news made rounds, hundreds of people flocked outside the hospital, willing to donate blood to Malala.
Two bullets hit Malala — one in the head and another between the neck and chest. Malala’s friend, Shazia, while narrating the incident to Express News said, ”When we were coming back from school, unidenfitied men approached our bus and asked us to identify Malala, when we told him, he opened fire.”
Hailing from Mingora, the 14-year-old Malala struggled for restoring peace in Swat and education for girls in the region for which she was awarded the National Peace Award by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. When the Taliban had banned education for females in the district, she kept a diary for the British Broadcasting Corporation and wrote about the misdeeds of militants [from the age of 11!]
Yousufzai also remained a speaker for the Child Assembly in Swat, which works for child rights in the district. Later on, she was awarded the first National Peace Award by the government of Pakistan on December 19, 2011 for rendering courageous services to promote peace during the mayhem.
Prayers for a full recovery, and that her courageous witness has an impact on that troubled area.
UPDATE: In the last fortnight+ Malala was airlifted to a hospital in England, along with her family. After surgery she's doing well. I found this interesting commentary by Eric Patterson on why she is such a threat:
Somehow, this girl threatens the Taliban so much that they tried to assassinate her. What does she symbolize that is so threatening to them? The facts are quite clear: She is an advocate for basic human and civil rights. She has claimed that all citizens, including women—Muslim women, Pakistani women, Afghan women—should have basic access to education. That is all.
Is it just her call for female education that threatens the Taliban? No. There are millions of women — and men — on both sides of the Af-Pak border who call for the education of their daughters, sisters and nieces. Education is not the issue that threatens the Taliban.
Rather, she is the threat. This girl represents the possible. She represents the kind of woman the Taliban fears: a living, God-fearing alternative to their repressive social order. Indeed, what terrifies the Taliban the most is that Miss Yousafza is a traditional Muslim citizen. This young woman covers her hair; she is modest; she respects the Prophet; she respects Allah; she roots her arguments in common sense, faith and human dignity, and she tells the truth about what she sees.
There is nothing more threatening to the Taliban, because Miss Yousafza is in accord with the values of the majority of Muslims around the world. In short, the Taliban fear her because she represents a vision of the female Muslim citizen that resonates with the Muslim everyman and everywoman — and threatens to dump the Taliban into the ashbin of history.
In contrast to Malala Yousafza, the Taliban does not fear a nude model or pop star from the West. This is because most Pakistanis—men and women — see pornography as sinful and decadent and in many cases taking advantage of women. Likewise, the Taliban is not really concerned about the feminists housed in Western universities. Once again, this type of person is so far out of synch with Muslim culture that she is seen as alien and enemy to their culture — something with which many Pakistanis would agree.
Consequently, there are no fatwas against Madonna, Britney Spears or Women’s Studies professors from Wellesley.
Malala Yousafza is not a morally debased pop star, a social activist or a radical academic. She is a modest, pious young Muslim woman who represents tens of millions of Muslim women around the world who want a better life for the women in their families. That is why the Taliban is scared of a girl.
Maybe. Yet if the majority of Muslims around the world agreed with her, the other deporable statistics that follow Muslim immigrants wouldn't be so troubling, especially among those who emigrate to the West and have all the opportunities to exercise such "common sense." We find, rather, that they do not assimilate, they do not embrace the opportunities available for their daughters, and that FGM, honour killings, child marriages, and misogyny proliferate.
There is no "magisterium" for Islam, only the Qur'an, the ahadith, various interpretations of the sunni, and cultural norms that have been forged in the Muslim world. Those who want to water down the faith and incorporate the "common sense" from outside their tradition are maligned and marginalised. Occasionally they are gunned down.
What is Islam, really? One should read the Qur'an, study history, and think for himself. Mr Patterson has kind words for a brave girl, but I'm not convinced that she's mainstream, and the action of her own country would suggest that this commentator is whistling in the dark.
Regardless, I am glad the dear girl is on the mend!