Western adulation of Malala damages Islam
ONE of Pakistan’s leading women’s rights campaigners – Humaira Awais Shadid – has accused Britain and America of manipulating Malala Yousafzai in a bid to impose secularisation on the Islamic country.
Shahid, a former politician, Harvard fellow, and newspaper editor, said the schoolgirl has been badly damaged by Britain and America, who are taking advantage of her survival story. Malala is now a hate-figure in certain quarters in Pakistan while some secular Westerners have used her traumatic experience of being shot in the Swat Valley by Islamic fanatics as a reason to criticise Islam.
Shahid is reported in this report as saying Malala was a devout Muslim with no interest in promoting a secular democracy in Pakistan.
The West wants to gain from Malala’s real story, an agenda that suits them or the policies they want. It’s like a mass media frenzy – and then you see the whole question of secularisation. This is not the issue of Pakistan – our constitution starts with the name of almighty, Allah, talks about in accordance with the scriptures and the principles of Islam– so what are you talking about?
For Shahid, whose memoir, Devotion and Defiance, was published last month, there is a fundamental misunderstanding in the West about the wishes of Pakistani women.
Yes, they want better access to education, more protection from violence and the freedom to lead independent lives.
But that does not mean rejecting Islam’s central role in the country’s culture – instead, they want a generation of conservative, neo-feudal leaders, who are twisting the words of the Koran, to be cast out of the political mainstream.
Our folklore, our old traditions, our music, our art, our poetry is all about celebration of the creator and creation – our love is a root to love of the creator, this is very different to your societies. Our issue is injustice; our issue is poverty; our issue is corrupt governments; our issue is a lack of accountability. Please help us on that. Our issue is not secularisation.
Malala was shot in the head by Taliban fighters who objected to her campaign to improve girls’ education in northern Pakistan. She was flown to Britain for medical treatment and subsequently became a spokeswoman for the plight of poorly educated women, addressing the United Nations and being awarded the European Parliament’s highest honour for human rights campaigners.