Source: by Laiq Ahmed Atif, president Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta
The extremist, fundamentalist, fanatic and terrorist have once again proven that they will target anything that comes in their way, and they care least for shedding blood of innocent people – even if it is of an innocent 14-year-old girl.
The news about the terrorist attack on a school van, which left three school girls injured, among whom was Malala Yousafzai, in Swat, Pakistan, spread like wildfire. This incident of target killing was one of the worst of its kind. This attack is widely being condemned.
The attack was inhuman, cruel, brutal, satanic, vicious and barbaric. And those who did it are being called humans. I wonder if they have a heart, and if it was beating when they were fulfilling their vicious intentions.
We condemn this attack unreservedly and categorically; violence has no justification at all. Violence must be rejected and condemned unreservedly.
These terrorists hold a mentality that they have every right to enforce their ideology on others, and for that they are using guns, weapons and bombs. They find some vulnerable and illiterate children and then brainwash them, showing them beautiful gardens of heavens, and that they will be welcomed by angels and will become very close to the Almighty God.
Malala Yousafzai won international recognition for highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat through writing a diary for the BBC three years ago, when militants and hardliners destroyed girls’ schools in the area claiming that it is non-Islamic to send girls to school. And they threatened that if people will not abide by their principles, they should become ready to face harsh circumstances.
During those difficult and hard days, she stood up and started writing with her pen name. Her biggest concern was the ban on education, and she decided to raise her voice against this grave injustice. She describes those days as a ‘bad dream’.
After the military operation in Swat, and when the situation ameliorated, she started a scheme for the education of women and for that she also gave interviews on television. And she was seen as a hope for the better. She also expressed that she will work for the education of women and to achieve that goal she will do her utmost and will leave no stone unturned.
In 2011, she received the first national peace award from the government of Pakistan, and was also nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by advocacy group Kids Rights Foundation.
Malala is recognised as ambassador of peace and as a symbol of bravery and determination. She was the voice for all those who wished to carry on with their education, she stood against the atrocities and resisted the compulsion of extremists. She fought them with her power of pen, instead of weapons. She took a bold stance in the line of fire, and didn’t care for her life.
I firmly believe all this, and Malala’s story is clear evidence that the extremist mindset needs to be changed, and this kind of ideology should be discarded by society. And for this change, the candle of education which was lit by Malala should be kept illuminated. Education, a non-violent approach, true interpretation of religion, and a united action and battle against this mindset is very crucial and has become a need of the time.
All the stakeholders should join for this noble cause. The responsibility also lies on the shoulders of religious leaders and representatives who should stand up and speak loud and clear against this mindset and show the true face of religion. Do not let these people use the name of religion for their inhuman atrocities. This element of violence and hatred should be nipped in the bud.
Killing any human being is a grave crime; it is terrorism, it is barbarism and inhuman – every religion, society and good-natured person condemns it. These terrorists are using the name of Islam, but in reality Islam does not teach such atrocities. Islam categorically rejects and condemns every form of terrorism. It does not provide any cover or justification for any act of violence, be it committed by an individual, a group or a government. These terrorist acts have nothing to do with Islam or humanity. These people are the worst enemies of Islam and mankind.
The Holy Quran states:
“Whosoever killed a person… it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and who so gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.” (5:33)
I think these so-called Muslims should also read the Farewell Address of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, when he stood before a large gathering of Muslims and said; “God has made the lives, property and honour of every man sacred.”
I want to convey my message to such mindsets that swords can win territories, not hearts. Force can bend heads, not minds. To win hearts, this violent ideology must stop.
Malala is in hospital and is in a very critical condition. We hope and pray for her speedy recovery and to regain complete health. May she get well soon. Long live Malala – the ambassador of peace and symbol of bravery.