Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In Targeting Malala, Taliban Attacked Islam

By Mehran Shamit
Senior Reporter
TORONTO, Canada – The assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan was nothing more than an attack on Islam.
The 14-year-old education rights activist from Swat Valley and Pakistan’s National Peace Prize winner was shot by the Taliban because she spoke out against Taliban atrocities and fought for girls’ education, a fundamental right that she is entitled to in Islam.
The Taliban’s baseless justification for targeting Yousafzai was “because of her pioneer role in preaching secularism and so called enlightened moderation,” essentially just promoting their own agenda of male dominance in society. The obvious truth behind this is that the Taliban did not target her because she preached secularism, but because she defied and condemned the anti-Islamic values of the Taliban and wanted to spread the truth that all girls had the right to an education.
The Taliban viewed the empowerment of girls as a threat and used bullets in an attempt to silence Yousafzai, because violence is their only known way of communication. Every time religious fanatics like the Taliban decide to do something completely anti-Islamic, they go on to justify and defend their violent actions taking Islamic Law out of context and completely misrepresenting Islam and creating more misconceptions about none other than every peace loving Muslim.
As a Muslim, it is outrageous that groups like the Taliban, who continuously strive to attack Islam by going against its teachings and justifying violent attacks in the name of Islam, put Muslims in a position where people judge us and define who we are based on misconceptions of Islam and the bigotry created by these fanatics.
Living in the West, I always find myself defending my religion. I can say that the extremist beliefs and values put forth by an anti-Islamic and misogynist group like the Taliban do not in any way represent Muslims, and they definitely do not represent the teachings of Islam.
Malala Yousafzai's official Facebook photo

Malala Yousafzai in an undated photo
Islam teaches us to seek knowledge and develop our ability to think critically and logically so that we can grow intellectually and apply our intellect to actually understanding Islam and truly believing in its teachings. The only way it is possible for us to do that is by getting an education. Prophet Mohammad said, “Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim.”
The Quran also says, “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?”
In Islam, clearly education is not only a right but the responsibility of both males and females. Contrary to what many people may believe, Islam does not restrict or limit opportunities for women and it certainly does not deny them their fundamental right to an education. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was the first female prime minister of a Muslim country, once said, “We learned at an early age that it was men’s interpretation of our religion that restricted women’s opportunities, not our religion itself.”
I think that people really have to understand this. The fact is that it is not Islam, but sexist interpretations created and forced into society by men, that restrict and limit rights and opportunities for women.  I want people to know that the Taliban and their highly condemnable acts are far from what Islam teaches and that they do not represent or define Muslims in any way.
Malala Yousafzai is a brave young girl who fought for her right to an education, a right given to her in Islam and a right that no girl should ever be denied. In Islam, we are taught that killing an innocent person is the equivalent of killing humanity as a whole. The brutal attack on Malala was an attack on all of humanity and we should all pray for her recovery. 

Also see these other YJI pieces about Malala Yousafazai:

Taliban Attack On Teen Girl 'Unbelievable'

Pakistanis Blame Taliban, Government For Attack On 14-Year-Old Malala Yousafazai

Pakistan Prays For Malala, Against Taliban

Malala Yousafazai's Brave Voice Is Heard

Everyone Should Stand Up For Malala

Pakistani Girl Spoke Peacefully, And For Many, In Her Push For Girls' Education

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