At 17, she is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history. Malala Yousafzai deeply impressed in Oslo 2014. She delivered her lecture without notes in the city hall in front of the Norwegian royal couple and thousands of guests of honour and many TV cameras. She speaks passionately but factually and begins “ In the name of God, the most merciful, the most beneficient, who is the God of all mankind.” Her message: “Education is a blessing and a necessity. The first word in the Koran is Iqra, which means reading. 66 million girls are denied education. They are forced to work or married. All children should be able to attend good schools.”
Her mission: Educational opportunities for young girls in all countries, especially in the Islamic world. On October 9, 2012, Taliban stopped their school bus and fired at them. The bullet penetrated above her left eye and injured her upper jaw and temporal bone. She almost did not survive. The Pakistani Taliban hated the girl, who was only 15 years old at the time, because she was committed to educating girls in her SWAT valley in Pakistan. The Taliban, motivated by the sects of Wahhabism and Salafism, represent a perversion of faith, ideology and no mercy prescribed in all suras of the Qur’an.
In the documentary “Love is Tolerance” by Hubertus Hoffmann Malala tells: “The way children are educated is important. Often their schoolbooks still contain racism and negative things about other religions and cultures. We have to take a close look at the educational systems. What do the children learn? We must also show that women are not toys, that they are only interested in fashion and that they are slim. Then every girl thinks: why don’t I look like a perfect woman? Everyone can play a role in this, especially parents. They should tell their children: you are all the same, no matter what religion you have or what language you speak. You are all children.”
Women have a dual role in our societies worldwide: they make up half of the population. They also raise children. Their influence on the future is therefore greater than that of their husbands.
There is still a lot to be done in the Islamic countries. We are only at the beginning.
Strict Salafists, whose ideology comes from Saudi Arabia, want to live like the prophet, they say. When I met one of them in Berlin, driving me in a taxi, I asked him what kind of wife he should marry. I recommended: “You must marry a very rich multimillionaire, an active entrepreneur with many employees. Before that, you will work under her as an em- ployee for several years and have to prove yourself. If you have done your job very well and your colleagues appreciate you, you can propose to her”. You can certainly imagine his incredulous amazement.
After a rhetorical pause, I then said: “Yes, that was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, the first wife of the Prophet Mohammed, whom God had chosen for him. His biographer Ibn Ishaq described her as “a determined woman, noble and intelligent”. The first Muslim ever was: a woman. Who financed the first Muslims: a rich woman. Who introduced the Prophet to the high society in Mecca: a woman. Who was the most important advisor and encouraged Muhammad in his greatest crisis on Mount of Light: a woman. In 610 the Qur’an gave women no less than five new rights that were unknown in Europe or America at that time (prohibition to kill newborn girls, right of inheritance, property, no forced marriage, right to divorce) Could the Prophet’s daughters go to school? Of course, because he said: “The best gift a father can give his child is education and upbringing”. Were women allowed to work: Yes, his wife remained an entrepreneur. Mohammed said: “The best among you is the best to his wives”. The mistreatment and oppression of women, including barring them from education and the obligation to wear a burka, is contrary to true Islam and Hadith. Extremists like the Taliban, Wahhabis, Salafists or Boko Haram should study their religion more thoroughly. They are not believers, but political ideologues who stand between God and the believers, exalt themselves and grossly disregard the Qur’an’s guidelines for women.
More and equal rights for women in all countries are a core demand of new policies.
- Equal rights for men and women are required. We must strengthen women’s rights worldwide, as well in Islamic countries.
- Discrimination against girls in education or through forced marriage and work must be prohibited and actively eliminated worldwide.
- Access to all professions and equal pay for men and women should become compulsory in all countries.