International Women’s Rights Network horrified at the shooting of a 14-year old education rights activist by the Taliban

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) strongly condemns the attempted assassination on school girl and activist, Malala Yousufzai for promoting female education.  Spirited and outspoken, Malala has been an advocate for girls’ access to education in her region from the age of 11 “dreaming of a day where education prevails”.

Malala was shot twice by a Taliban gunman on her way home from school in the Swat Valley region of Pakistan. Though critically injured she survived the fatal attack and is now being treated in hospital. Malala had been writing her blog in Urdu from the age of 11 about life under Taliban in Swat Valley and their intention to stop girls getting an education.  Her writing and persistence about the right of girls and all children to education attracted national and international attention and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Award.   

She is not the only victim of  the Taliban. In the last 12 months at least two activists working on women’s education, Farida Afridi and Zarteef Afridi, were killed in a wave of targeted attacks by the Taliban and other groups in the region.”  The growing trend to silence the voices of equality and humanity, of universal human rights, of the right of every woman,  girl , boy, and man to dream and aspire to bettering their reality, must come to an end immediately.

 WLUML welcomes the statement of the Pakistani Prime Minster Raja Pervez Ashraf who said; "We have to fight the mindset that is involved in this. We have to condemn it... Malala is like my daughter, and yours too. If that mindset prevails, then whose daughter would be safe?" The Pakistani authorities must demonstrate in words and actions, that despite threats from the Taliban and other groups, they are committed to giving women and girls the same opportunities as men and boys..

WLUML call upon the Pakistani government to guarantee protection to human rights defenders and humanitarian groups whose contribution in the fostering of peace and rebuilding of communities in the Swat Valley region is vital..

 The Muslim religious leaders,The Islamic Cooperation Organization, and the European Council of Muslims must; (1) urgently and publically condemn these attacks committed  in the name of Islam and religion;(2) ensure that religious institutions stop supporting the Taliban and their associates; and (3) actively work to reject and change the mind set of those who in the name of religion and Islam commit these atrocities. 

Women Living Under Muslim Laws

International Coordination Office