We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced. -Malala link
Today, we are going to highlight an amazing young Muslim teen. We will look closely at her accomplishments. We also will demonstrate that there are some similarities in the view of women as expressed by members of the Taliban and the view of women as asserted some fundamentalist Christian groups. We want to assure our readers that we are not saying that any of these Christian groups are like the Taliban who use violence to get their way. None of these Christian groups have ever resorted to terrorism in order to meet their goals.
We have no interest (in the context of this post) in discussing the politics surrounding Muslim-American relations and we certainly know that Muslims and Christians have significant differences in their faiths. We feature Malala because her words transcend the boundaries of religion, politics and gender. She boldly speaks out even though she was shot in the head and almost killed. She speaks out even though there is a fatwa on her life. And she is mesmerizing.
If you have little time to read this post, please scroll to the bottom and watch the first 5 minutes of the video. I promise that you will be moved.
Fundamentalist Christians: College (and Public School) are Unbiblical, Especially for Women.
TWW, along with Julie Anne Smith of Spiritual Sounding Board, have documented a number of instances in which some extreme Christian groups have expressed their disapproval of women, and sometimes men, who wish to receive a college education. Most of these groups also advocate homeschooling, disapproving of any other form of education. To round out the problem, there are some pastors who denounce colleges and universities which do not fit into their exacting standards for "Christian" education and values.
However, there are some groups which particularly target the "evils" of college education for women. I received a phone call from a man in a Family Integrated Church who said that college aged women should stay home and learn to be "wives" instead of going to college. I retorted that he would be "blessed" if he got my daughter as a nurse if he was ever severely hurt in a car accident. He said that he believes that men should be trained to do all of those jobs and that women have taken those jobs from men. He said that women should never, ever be alone in a room with a man since they needed to be protected. He truly believes that early marriage is a form of "protection" for women.
I was shocked. He was well spoken and even kind. I begged him to write a post for TWW but he declined.
If you Google "Should Christian women go to college" you will find page after page of fringe groups advocating "stay at home" daughters.Let's look at a few comments from these groups.
From Balaam's Ass (I know, I thought the same thing) link
You mothers will run your daughters out the door into the world to work or to go to college far from home; and then will be horrified, shocked and dismayed when she gets into fornication or is raped. WAKE UP! She belongs at home with you! Nobody loves that girl like you do! They are not going to watch out for her best interests like you and, even more so, your husband will! Oh, there may be rules by the ton at the college and there may be consideration in miles at the work place she's in, but when you trot her out where Shechem can see her and get close to her, you are inviting this trouble upon yourself, your daughter, your sons, and your husband! And remember, there are many "good, godly" Shechems running around the campuses of the very best and narrowest colleges. Ask any God-fearing young lady that has had to dodge them! We have heard about them.
Then there is the Stay At Home Daughters' movement advocated by Vision Forum and, in particular, the Botkin family which we wrote about here.
Have you ever heard of the “Stay-at-Home Daughters Movement”? It’s a relatively new movement that appears to be promoted by Vision Forum (Doug Phillips) and his cohorts. Young girls and single women are encouraged (perhaps coerced?) to be “keepers at home” until they marry. They are forbidden to attend college or seek employment outside the home (that is, their parents’ home). These maidens spend all of their time honing their “advanced homemaking skills”, which include cooking, sewing, cleaning, knitting, etc. A stay-at-home daughter is under her father’s “covering” until he transfers control to her husband.
This group even encourages daughters to shave their father and learn to groom his hair which is creepy beyond all get out link.
What does the Taliban believe about women and education?
Compare the thinking of some of these groups to the Taliban. The US State Department produced a document called The Taliban's War Against Women link. The following are some quotes from the manuscript.
Islam has a tradition of protecting the rights of women and children. In fact, Islam has specific provisions which define the rights of women in areas such as marriage, divorce, and property rights. The Taliban's version of Islam is not supported by the world's Muslims. Although the Taliban claimed that it was acting in the best interests of women, the truth is that the Taliban regime cruelly reduced women and girls to poverty, worsened their health, and deprived them of their right to an education, and many times the right to practice their religion.
The Taliban ended, for all practical purposes, education for girls. Since 1998, girls over the age of eight have been prohibited from attending school. Home schooling, while sometimes tolerated, was more often repressed. Last year, the Taliban jailed and then deported a female foreign aid worker who had promoted home-based work for women and home schools for girls. The Taliban prohibited women from studying at Kabul University.
"The Taliban has clamped down on knowledge and ignorance is ruling instead."
— Sadriqa, a 22-year-old woman in Kabul
As a result of these measures, the Taliban was ensuring that women would continue to sink deeper into poverty and deprivation, thereby guaranteeing that tomorrow's women would have none of the skills needed to function in a modern society.
The Taliban also required that windows of houses be painted over to prevent outsiders from possibly seeing women inside homes, further isolating women who once led productive lives and contributing to a rise in mental health problems. Physicians for Human Rights reports high rates of depression and suicide among Afghan women. One European physician reported many cases of burns in the esophagus as the result of women swallowing battery acid or household cleaners–a cheap, if painful, method of suicide.
Women are to stay at home, protected, with blacked out windows. Education is unnecessary since they are obviously cooking, cleaning and having children. Hmmm….
Malala Yousafzai: 16 year old outspoken advocate for education for Muslim women in the face of assassination attempts (and fellow blogger.)
Malala is one of the most poised and brave young women that I have ever observed. At the age of 11, she began to speak out against the Taliban which was intent on closing schools which educated Pakistani school girls. She did so via a blog. (Yay bloggers!). Her blog became famous and she began to win all sorts of media attention and awards for her work. A NY Times documentary on her life received critical acclaim. This angered the Taliban. They made good on their threats and shot her in the head as she rode home on a school bus. She was in a coma for a number of days and thankfully survived. The Taliban has since issues a fatwa against her yet she bravely continues to speak out. Here is an overview of her life.
Malala Yousafzai (Pashto: ملاله یوسفزۍ [mə ˈlaː lə . ju səf ˈzəj]; Urdu: ملالہ یوسف زئی Malālah Yūsafzay, born 12 July 1997) is a Pakistani school pupil and education activist from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She is known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. In early 2009, at the age of 11–12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls. The following summer, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region, culminating in the Second Battle of Swat. Yousafzai rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.
On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father.
Malala is the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She did not get it. After reading about her life, I say, "She was robbed!" In an incredible interview, Malala leaves John Stewart speechless as she speaks about her commitment to nonviolent resistance. The first 6 minutes is of the video offers the most insight into her views on violence and education. However, I have included the entire segment in case you, like me, want to hear more from her.
Lydia's Corner: Job 8:1-11:20 1 Corinthians 15:1-28 Psalm 38:1-22 Proverbs 21:28-29