The book’s full title says it all – I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban.
Malala describes a childhood in Mingora in the Swat valley – once known as Pakistan’s Switzerland for its ski resorts – that was idyllic despite its poverty. The human story of her upbringing is a universal one – she comments that although her family were poor, her mother’s door was always open; I remember my mother saying the same thing about her own upbringing. The story of mothers selling their traditional gold wedding bangles reminded me of my grandfather and his peers selling their WWI medals to feed their families.
Then the Taliban came, dispensing jihad through its main delivery system, sharia law, itself dispensed through the barrel of a gun. She describes the suffocating nature of the burka, a garment which is alien to Pashtun culture.
Her shooting and subsequent hospitalisations in Islamabad and Birmingham are well-known and, at 16, her determination to see that girls have the right to education worldwide shows she has more fire in the belly than generations of coddled British feminists. Their silence in the face of Muslim girls being subjected to FGM and being removed from education, in Britain, condemns them. Malala, nowever, is a living sign that jihad and sharia by no means constitute the natural habitat of Muslims, and I wish her well.
As soon as I finished the book my wife snatched it and my daughters have dibs: it’s a book that demands to be read, and I predict that demand will be satisfied. How about putting it on the National Curriculum?
The mystery of the missing Muslim girls - Fran Abrams, The Independent
British girls undergo horror of genital mutilation despite tough laws - Tracy McVeigh and Tara Sutton, The Guardian Malala Yousafzai's desire to learn shames our schools - Allison Pearson, The Telegraph