Aafia and Malala

Regional TerrorismAafia and Malala




Disclaimer: This article is personal opinion the writer and Dispatch News Desk (DND) publishes it for giving a chance to opinions to share with others.


Aafia & Malala

 Written by Umme Muhammed

Nobel Peace Prize 2013: My heart skipped a beat in a turbulence of emotions as I saw Malala Yousafzai standup among important, worldly figures and walk up to the stage amidst a thunderous clapping and face the international world at one of the highest profiles. Malala Yousufzai, after receiving numerous international awards, had now been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2013. Later, although she did not win the prize but her nomination from the Muslim world at the age of sixteen was itself a great honor. The Pakistani media showed and replayed her video of walking up to the stage for the nomination again and again. The image of her young physique walking to glory reminded me of another such a petite girl.

This time, the year was 1997. The girl was a smiley face of a very fragile physique, but brilliant brains. She had won numerous academic and social awards. In that video, she was walking up to receive her PhD degree from the USA. Her name was Aafia Siddiqui.

Aafia Siddiqui had done her PhD in Education and hoped to return to Pakistan to indoctrinate education into the social fabric of Pakistan. Currently, Pakistan not only suffers from a very low literacy rate, but also from a dual education system of which one end is an education system which is religious but disconnected from the practicality of the modern world and the other is an education system that is secular but disconnected from our ideological identity, Islam. Aafia had devised such an education system for Pakistan that was seamless between the East and West horizons of our education system. Her sister Ms. Fouzia Siddiqui narrates that when she reviewed the educational curriculum devised by Aafia, she did not find the subject ‘Islamiat’ in there, so she questioned. Aafia replied, ‘Islam is not a separate subject. It is an ideology that shall manifest itself in every subject itself…’ She had even bought a huge piece of land in Karachi to build an academic institute for this purpose. She believed that education could change minds and hearts and the fate of a nation.

All this sounds very similar to the ambitions and aspirations of Malala Yousafzai…

Aafia Siddiqui was truly an educationist at heart. She was truly a Muslim at heart too.

Malala Yousufzai is also truly an educationist at heart, but we have some very disturbing bits of news pieces about her which report her making statements such as, ‘Veiling reminds me of the stone-ages’, ‘Beard reminds me of the Pharoah’ and likewise criticizing Islamic symbols and concepts. Perhaps, one can give her an excuse margin, given her age and circumstances which were prone to a rebellious behavior.

However, regarding the international community, is this slight but pivotal difference between Aafia Siddiqui and Malala Yousufzai exactly the point that has earned both of these brilliant girls a different fate each?

Amongst the Muslim world, there is a common understanding that anybody whom America and the West dislikes is bound to be a valuable person to Islam, and anybody whom they like…automatically loses credibility in the Muslim world!

Such is the case with Malala Yousafzai. There is no doubt that Malala is a very beautiful, extremely intelligent and extraordinarily brave girl. So was Aafia Siddiqui, when she spoke for the Bosnian refugees to a mosque full of men in the USA, such that even the Imam of the mosque took off his shoes and donated them. However, her vocal zest for Muslims and Islam earned her an enforced disappearance, torture and rape. The so-called vocalists of human rights let die her six-month old baby on the roadside. The so-called vocalists of human rights chained her innocent seven-year-old son for the next five years resulting in his feet bones becoming deformed. Why do not you visit Fouzia Siddiqui in Karachi, Pakistan, and see for yourself? And then the so-called vocalists of human rights rush to rescue, educate and promote a fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai from the same Pakistan? Am I stupid or what?



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