Standing against the Taliban’s war on women
By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel
CHULA VISTA, California –In Pakistan, this past week, the Taliban shot a young fourteen year old woman named Malala Yousafzai in the head.
She is fighting for her life.
She was no average target; this was not a random act of gratuitous violence that we read about in the paper. This young woman awoke the world to the horrors against the Taliban war against women that is taking place in her province of Swat. Last year, she received a national peace prize for her work.
In her writings, she championed the right for young girls to receive an education. Her father led a school and supported Malala’s literary aspirations. She ignored numerous Taliban death threats. In one of her entries, she writes:
- I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.
- Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban’s edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.
- On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone—MALALA YOUSAFZAI, 3 January 2009 BBC blog entry
You might be surprised to know that over the last several years, the Taliban has destroyed over 200 schools.
Next time you hear politicians speak about the “war against women,” know that the real war against women is not happening in the United States, but it is happening throughout the Muslim world.
Muslim women demand equal rights and democratic freedoms.
As someone who has fought for gender inclusiveness for a number of decades, I find it amazing that American women as well as European women never march for their sisters; nor do they demand that Muslim leaders speak out for the equal rights for their sisters in the Muslim world.
Somehow they believe that criticizing the Jihadist mentality is “racist,” and “intolerant,” for “all cultures are of equal moral standing.”
Any attempts for our country’s State Department to broker a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan is short-sighted and is doomed to fail. The Taliban are determined to win the war for Jihadist Islam. If we let them, Malala will not be the only young girl to suffer.
The Islamic world needs a reformation; the best we can do is to encourage that the moderate voices of Islam speak out and issue fatwas against these cowards and their patron nations.
Failure to do so means only one thing: Silence is complicity.
Let us all pray for poor Malala’s recovery. The spirit of hope must not die.
Rabbi Samuel is spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom in Chula Vista. He may be contacted at email@example.com
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