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Paying Respect

Pakistan Funds School for Malala Day

Pakistan Funds School for Malala Day Arif Ali / AFP / Getty Images

Government declares holiday for shot schoolgirl.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot last month for working to support girls' education, is continuing to benefit education in her country even while she recovers in a British hospital. On Friday, Pakistan's president added his signature to a petition asking the government to pay stipends to needy families sending their children to school. The move comes just in time for Malala Day, declared by the government in support of Yousafzai's education campaign.

Read it at Reuters

Fighting Back

A Day for Malala

When the Taliban gunned down a teenage girl on a school bus, they sparked a global movement. This Saturday marks the first ‘Malala Day,’ with a massive petition being delivered to Pakistan's president.

Shot in the head by the Taliban on a school bus, young Malala Yousafzai is fighting to regain her strength. In the meantime, the world is speaking for her. The tragic shooting last month—meant to prevent her from getting an education—has sparked a global movement to help girls go to school in Pakistan. This Saturday, United Nations Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown will deliver a petition with a million signatures to President Zardari of Pakistan, encouraging the country to make education a priority. Brown has deemed the day “Malala Day.


Activists protest on behalf of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan. (Aamir Qureshi, AFP / Getty Images)

Recent photos of Yousafzai show the 14-year-old making progress, sitting in a chair next to her father in a U.K. hospital, surrounded by cards and gifts. She is reportedly beginning to walk and talk. Her family stays close, visiting her twice a day. “She wants me to tell everyone how grateful she is and is amazed that men, women, and children from across the world are interested in her well-being,” her father said in a statement on Thursday. “We deeply feel the heart-touching good wishes of the people across the world of all caste, color, and creed.”

Yousafzai became a Taliban target for blogging and speaking publicly about the importance of education for girls. In so doing, she defied the Taliban’s extremist interpretations of Islamic law. Her father, a schoolmaster and peace activist, encouraged his daughter’s efforts, refusing to bend to Taliban rule.


Malala’s Father: She Will ‘Rise Again’

Malala’s Father: She Will ‘Rise Again’ Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham via Getty Images

14-year-old recovering well in British hospital.

Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban, is recovering well in Britain, her father said on Friday. Reunited with her family at a hospital in Birmingham, Ziauddin Yousafzai, cried when he first laid eyes on her. Talking to a room full of reporters Friday, he called his daughter’s prognosis a “miracle” and said that she will “rise again.” Malala was attacked after writing about the need to improve girls’ education in Pakistan, which inspired an international crusade in her defense.

Read it at BBC


Malala’s 'Miraculous' Recovery

The father of a teenage girl who was shot by the Pakistani Taliban said he is grateful for the world’s prayers, but wants to focus on his daughter’s recuperation.

By Rob Crilly

The father of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage activist who survived being shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban, has spoken for the first time about his daughter’s “miraculous” recovery

Ziauddin Yousafzai and his wife were on their way to Birmingham on Thursday, 10 days after 15-year-old Malala was flown to the city’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital for expert care.

Before boarding the flight, Mr. Yousafzai said he was grateful for the world’s tributes and prayers but now he just wanted to concentrate on helping his daughter recover.

Pakistan's Future

Checking in on Malala


Pakistani demonstrators chant slogans during a protest against the assassination attempt by the Taliban on child activist Malala Yousafzai in Islamabad on October 16, 2012. (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Huffington Post reported today that Malala Yousafzai's father "vowed Thursday that she would return home after finishing medical treatment abroad despite new insurgent threats against her."

While it is encouraging to see her alive and recovering, I fear the Taliban is in the region to stay. With the United States looking like it will indeed commit to a withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014, rising isolationist sentiment (especially regarding the AfPak region) within the United States, and a general reticence to remain within the crossfire of a culture war, young women like Malala may have to be on their own.

The New Republic's Leon Wieseltier can take it away.

Civil society is not the answer; it is the arena. A debate about the correct interpretation of shariah is not the solution, because shariah itself, its political prominence, its claim to perfect authority, is the problem: you cannot break the grip of religion by remaining within its universe. The program of the Taliban is political, and it can be met effectively only by another politics. The attack on Malala Yousafzai was a political failure: of the callowness and the corruption of Pakistan’s government, and of its insane system of dual power, in which the army and the intelligence services collude with the medieval butchers, who do not dream of peace. The shooting on the schoolbus in Swat should disabuse Westerners eager to quit the struggle of their illusion that we may quit because we won; and also Pakistani and Afghan politicians (notably the dashing and counterfeit Imran Khan, and what Pankaj Mishra moistly calls “his quest for a moral Pakistani state and a righteous politics”) of their nonsense that the Taliban will agree to live and let live. Our triumphalism about terrorism is premature. The revolutionary turbulence in the Arab world has given even Al Qaeda new openings. Bin Laden is dead. Bin Ladenism is not. In some places it is almost as alive as General Motors.


Arrests Made in Malala’s Shooting

But main suspect remains at large.

Pakistan has announced that they’ve arrested six men suspected of being involved with the almost-fatal shooting of 15-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai. The main suspect, Atta Ullah Khan—who’s a 23-year-old chemistry student—remains at large, though police have detained his mother, brother, and fiancée. Yousafzai, an outspoken Taliban critic, remains in stable condition and is making progress in a hospital in England after being shot twice at close range. The Taliban has taken responsibility for the attack and have sworn to kill her if she recovers.

Read it at CNN

Death Threats

The Taliban’s Next Target?

Following the Taliban’s failed attempt to murder Malala Yousafzai, another teenage girl has been threatened for campaigning for female education.

By Rob Crilly

A second teenage girl has been threatened with assassination in Pakistan following the Taliban’s failed attempt to murder Malala Yousafzai, an outspoken critic of Islamic extremism, earlier this month.

Pakistan Military Offensive

Pakistani students hold pictures of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot last Tuesday by the Taliban, during a protest condemning the attack, in Karachi, Pakistan. (Fareed Khan / AP Photo)

Hina Khan has been subjected to a series of chilling warnings, and her family has appealed to the government for protection. Like Malala, Hina Khan is from Swat and has been campaigning for girls schools since she was 13.


Taliban Threatens Teen Activist

Family receives threat saying she’s ‘next.’

As Malala Yousafzai fights for her life, another Pakistani teen activist says the Taliban has threatened her for promoting girls’ education. Hina Khan, who is believed to be 16, claims that someone painted a red "X" on her family’s house and made death threats. “My parents received a death threat saying that I’m next on their target list. I may not be able to continue my education anymore because of the threats that I might be kidnapped or killed like Malala,” Khan said. And the family’s requests for protection have been denied. Khan’s father said, “We went to the police and they told us to arrange security for ourselves.”

Read it at The New York Daily News


Malala: With Friends Like Madonna

The Taliban are using the pop singer’s striptease to attack the schoolgirl they tried to murder. Sami Yousafzai reports on the backlash.

There’s no doubt that Madonna was trying to be helpful a few days ago when she performed a striptease for an audience in Los Angeles. The question is how carefully the pop entertainer considered the consequences before she shucked off her costume to reveal the name Malala emblazoned in big letters across her back, between her bra strap and her thong. The crowd at the Staples Center applauded and cheered, of course. But the response has been decidedly mixed in Pakistan, where 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai (no relation) attended school until Oct. 9, when a Taliban gunman shot her in the head for her outspoken public advocacy of women’s education.


The extremists pounced on the video as soon as it was posted. The schoolgirl’s shooting had provoked an unprecedentedly fierce backlash against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Now Madonna’s performance allowed the militants to recast Malala as a symbol of Western immodesty and immorality. Hospitalized in Britain, with a tracheotomy tube down her throat, she was in no position to protest. Kakar Khan, a former senior official in the Afghan Taliban’s Information Ministry, sent me a long email saying, “If you have any doubts about Malala’s game, you must watch Madonna strip sing.” He urges readers of his Facebook page to view the video—but not if family members are present: “Do not try to open it,” he warns. “Total strip and vulgar.”

Many Taliban say Malala’s Western supporters only prove she was a bad person. “If Malala were a good Muslim, such terrible people would not raise their voices for her—people like Obama, [Angelina] Jolie, Madonna, [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai, and [Pakistani President Asif Ali] Zardari, says Ghazi Wazir, a TTP member living in Karachi. “Whoever shot Malala would not be happy for hurting the girl, but they would be happy for any pain they could inflict on Obama, Zardari, Karzai, and the rest of the world’s top enemies of islam.” He says he has seen photos of Madonna on the night of her pro-Malala performance.


Malala Able to Stand

Malala Able to Stand University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust / AP Photo

Doctors warn 14-year-old is “still very ill.”

Doctors in the British hospital where young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai is being treated for gunshot wounds said on Friday that she is steadily recovering. Having come out of a medically induced coma, she is now able to write and stand up on her own and has indicated that she has retained her full memory. However, Yousafzai is "still very ill," according to the hospital, and doctors warn that due to swelling, her brain injury has not been fully evaluated. Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban last week, targeted for her efforts to improve girls’ education.

Read it at The New York Times


Malala ‘Not Out of the Woods’

Malala ‘Not Out of the Woods’ Philippe Lopez

Communicating through writing; not talking yet.

Having come out of a coma yesterday, Malala Yousafzai is “not out of the woods,” doctors told Reuters on Friday. The 14-year-old is able to communicate through writing and appears to have maintained memory recall, and she stood up for the first time since she was shot in the head by the Taliban last week and then flown to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in England for treatment. The hospital’s medical director said she is not talking yet because she’s still recovering from a procedure that allowed her to breathe through a tube in her neck.

Read it at Reuters


The Backstory on Angelina Jolie's Report

Abigail Pesta, editorial director of Women in the World, and Kim Azzarelli, President of Women in the World Foundation, discuss Angelina Jolie's moving column on the attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for promoting girls' education. How you can help:

Pakistan authorities announced that a suspected Taliban member named Ataullah—who had been detained and released by the Army in 2009—is thought to be behind the attack on the 14-year-old activist.

It’s been almost two weeks since Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old peace activist from Pakistan’s Swat Valley, was shot in cold blood for daring to defy the Taliban’s archaic beliefs. More than 200 people have been arrested in the case, and subsequently released, but law enforcement has struggled to positively identify the men who attacked the young girl—until now.

Suspect arrested in Malala Yousufzsi shooting

Sherin Zada / AP Photo

Two senior officials announced that a man suspected of attacking Malala—who goes by the name of Ataullah—had been captured by the Army back in 2009 as a suspected Taliban member, but was released due to “lack of evidence.” However, they added, steps are being taken to bring him back into custody—including, one official said, the detention of his mother and two brothers. Two other relatives, who are suspected of having helped Attaullah hide as he fled Swat, have also been arrested, according to the officials.

On Oct. 9, two gunmen stopped Malala’s school bus and asked the girls aboard to identify her. Upon confirmation, they opened fire, hitting her in the head and shoulder and injuring two other girls. Malala is currently undergoing specialized treatment at a London hospital; neither she nor her friends have been able to identify the attackers.


Sisters in Arms

Twenty-one-year-old Afghan activist Noorjahan Akbar says the Taliban’s shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai only strengthens the fight for girls’ rights.

The news that the Taliban gunned down a schoolgirl last week shocked the world, but not a young woman named Noorjahan Akbar. The 21-year-old Akbar has been leading a fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan—and she’s quite familiar with seeing women in her region get targeted for “crimes” such as seeking an education, refusing a forced marriage, or fleeing an abusive husband. Akbar, the cofounder of a nonprofit group called Young Women for Change, has been instrumental in organizing trailblazing efforts such as the first Afghan march against street harassment, radio campaigns about gender equality, and street posters against child marriage and abuse. This year, her group opened a women’s Internet café in Kabul, providing a place for women to gather and share ideas.


Noorjahan Akbar is fighting for girls' rights.

Akbar, currently studying at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, is quick to admit that her activism puts her at risk. Still, she soldiers on. This past spring, she joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on stage at Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Women in the World Summit, and she blogs for Afghan websites, boldly speaking up for women. Here, she describes what the Taliban’s shooting of 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai means for her own work.

What’s the reaction among young women in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the shooting?


Malala Out of Coma

Malala Out of Coma Arif Ali, AFP / Getty Images

But is not yet fully conscious.

Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban last week, is no longer in a coma, New York Times reporter Adam Ellick  said on Facebook on Wednesday. According to Ellick, Yousafzai is responding well to treatment and has a good chance of fully recovering, although she is not fully conscious yet. Yousafzai is being treated in a Birmingham combat hospital that has treated every single British casualty of both of the wars of the past decade. Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat Valley after she called for more education for girls on her BBC blog.

Read it at Atlantic Wire

Meet Malala, The Girl Shot By The Taliban

In 2009, New York Times reporter Adam B. Ellick travelled to Swat Valley, Pakistan, to profile Malala Yousafzai on the day before the Taliban closed her school. Malala was shot last Tuesday, and is recovering.


Women in the World

Angelina Jolie: We All Are Malala

Angelina Jolie: We All Are Malala

I told my kids—and you should too: Girls’ education is under threat in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and around the world. It’s time we all took a stand. By Angelina Jolie. Plus: Here’s how you can help.

Call to Arms

Malala's Cause

Put Education First. Now.

Put Education First. Now.

As millions mark Malala Day, we must take this opportunity to guarantee access to education for all young girls by 2015.

The Backstory on Angelina Jolie's Report

Abigail Pesta, editorial director of Women in the World, and Kim Azzarelli, President of Women in the World Foundation, discuss Angelina Jolie's moving column on the attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for promoting girls' education. How you can help:


More on Pakistan

Women Battling Terrorism

Women Battling Terrorism

Women in Pakistan have successfully organized to help single out potential terrorists and militants in their communities.


India’s Nationalist Cricket Row


A Civil War Inside the Taliban?

Pakistani Oscar Winner: Malala Isn't Alone

Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani activist who was shot last week by the Taliban and is now fighting for her life, has captivated the world with her heroic campaign for women's rights-but she isn't alone in her efforts. Documentarian Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy sat down with The Daily Beast to discuss the growing movement of women trying to 'change the narrative' in her country.