Dear Malala


Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban, is getting better following the treatment she has been receiving at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, UK. She says she is recovering because of god and prayers.

Dear Malala,

You are a girl with an extra ordinary talent. We the sane people in the world adore you,appreciate you, admire you, trust you, respect you, and love you. We are proud of you. We campaign for your Nobel Peace Prize. We hope you will get well soon and continue fight for girl’s education. We are with you.

Malala, you say that you are recovering because of god and prayers. But the truth is, you were shot because of god and prayers, and you are recovering because of medical science and skilled doctors. You are 15, you should know by now that Islam is not compatible with women’s rights. If you find a Quranic verse that is pro-women, your enemies will find hundreds of verses that are anti-women. It doesn’t matter how positively you interpret the verses, the verses are against women’s freedom. You will never can get women’s equality under Islam or any other religion.

I hope you have a curious mind and you will soon find out that it is better not to practice a religion that says men are superior and women are inferior, men can have four wives, men can divorce their wives any time they want, men are allowed to beat women, women are not allowed to give testimony in different cases, women are not allowed to get the property of father equally with their brothers. I hope you will soon realize that there is actually not so much difference between religion and religious fundamentalism.

Malala, be courageous. You don’t need to be like those coward politicians who use religion either to get votes from the ignorant masses or to remain in power. Dear Malala, do you really need to wear veil? The veil is nothing but a symbol of oppression. I hope you will discover it soon and become a person more educated and enlightened.

Sisterhood is powerful.
Humanistically
Taslima

Comments

  1. Agni_B says

    One day world adulation may disappear- Malala is very Islamic. This is to do with her upbringing. She is very young and impressionable and follows her father. She has not developed her independent mind yet, and also now lack intellectual depth.

    I can’t see her being a non religious person any time in the future. If she lives in Pak society and get married to a Paki -poor girl won’t have a chance in hell to develop her intellect – back 2 Burkha more likely.

    As a young dependant & venerable girl she can’t defy the gravity. Given the chance to reside and learn in a western secular society she could rebel, she has the material

    As for Nobel Prize – she has not contributed anything extraordinary to deserve this- getting shot by Taliban should not be a qualifying principle. People who nominate her for the prize are living in a cuckoos land – just pure nonsense

    • dab says

      Paki

      Twice here, and in your other comment on this post, too. Get out of here with your thinly-veiled racist, nationalist twaddle.

    • Hakim says

      Agni_B It was not a case of “Malala just being shot by the dreaded Taliban.” It is more; she stood up to them, defied them for the sake of education, and for the emancipation of women. How dare you trivialize her courageous stance in the face of threats to her life. Do you realize, she will require 24 hour protection for the rest of her life?
      It is not mean feat to stand up to thugs of teh worst kind in the world today, i.e. Islamic fundamentalists. They have no scruples; are completely moronic, and motivated only by evil intentions.
      You try and cross swords with them, then comment on Malala’s deserving or otherwise of a Nobel prize.

  2. Raja says

    please dont spoil a childs heart, very true that skilled doctors and medicine saved us.
    faith keeps the world revolve , why do you think you are rite??

    why dont you find positive message from quran… ok ppl wil come with 500 anti- woman things..

    why dont you find the +ves.. becoz u look for -ve’s.

    science has it negatives from gun to nuclear bomb .. so shld we avoid science.??

    beauty lies in the eyes of beholder same way + ve brain works positively and you wil always find negatives.

    stop preaching others and correct yourself first

    • says

      @Raja:

      Science does not have ethical negatives or positives. It is simply a system of acquiring information about the universe and the accumulated mass of such information that we have.

      _Humans_ make ethical decisions about how to use their knowledge about the universe. Those can be positive or negative or both at once.

      The Qur’an, like the Bible, is a text that makes a large number of contradictory ethical recommendations. One person may read the Qur’an and come away with a positive message of gender equality. But there is no reason in the text why that reading is better than that of a second person who finds the opposite message in it, because the text contradicts itself.

      The first person chooses to read the Qur’an one way because they know from observing the world that gender equality is a good thing and misogyny is a bad thing. But then there is no reason to bring the book into it at all.

    • Agni_B says

      Correct your ID first. A Paki with a Hindu name. What are those positive messages in Quran?

      Do u know or Mullahs told u so? Read ur terror manual Quran in your mother tongue to discover

      Do you have a positive mind to comprehend Taslima’s observation or always negative with usual Muslim mind set?

  3. Thorne says

    please dont spoil a childs heart, very true that skilled doctors and medicine saved us.
    faith keeps the world revolve

    Why do you think that speaking the truth will spoil her heart? Nothing Taslima said is wrong. It was religion that harmed Malala, not science. And I saw nothing in the post which talks against faith, only against religion. Islam is evil. Christianity is evil. That does not mean that all Muslims and all Christians are evil.

    And it is not faith that keeps the world turning. It is faith which tries to trick us into thinking that the world stands still while the universe whirls around us. The world turns because that’s the way the universe works. Children like Malala are shot, and usually killed, because of how religions work.

  4. davidhart says

    Raja: if a book has, as you put it, 500+ anti-woman things, why should we bother sifting through it for positives? Why can’t we just say “This book is rife with misogyny; let’s just ignore it and focus on creating as humane and just a society as we can”? Why can’t we just say “Most of the societies that have organised themselves around this book have been profoundly misogynist, let’s not bother trying to organise our society around it”?

    And yes, science can be used to produce weapons. But science is the only reliable way we have to produce material improvements in our lives – like the medical technology and expertise that saved Malala. And don’t forget that the people who used a weapon against her were doing so for explicitly Quran-based reasons, not in the name of science – their theology, based on a literal reading of the Muslim holy texts, led them to believe that women should not be entitled to an education above the most basic level. Now you can argue that that’s the wrong message to take from the Muslim holy texts (and I hope that most Muslims do), but the fact that you can take that message from them should suggest to you that they are a terrible guide to how to organise a just and humane society – and offer no medical advice that would have been of any use to Malala.

    Quite simply, if you want to improve human lives, science is better than the Quran.

  5. zara says

    I 100% agree with Taslima Nasrin. Even I wanted to write a letter like this to Mallala. But I didn’t. Because of one reason. If Mallala realizes what Taslima Nasrin wants her to realize It would be good for Mallala but not for Mallala’s Cause. Personally this will free her from religion but she would be irrelevant for the people of Pakistan. who mostly believe in God. She would not be effective for her cause. Right now girls education is more important than telling the people that God doesn’t exist or All religions are scams against women. We should not use Mallala for our agenda’s we should let her set her own pace. She will realize about religion sooner or later. Let her do the work she really wants to do under the umbrella of Islam or vial. Baby Steps! Never put one liberal agenda against other Liberal Agenda.

    • Agni_B says

      No one using Malala for any agenda; just concerned I suppose

      Work under Islam? How, when Islam is the root cause of the problem?
      Woman education is forbidden under Wahabi doctrine of Islam.

      Malala won’t get any freedom from the clutches of illiterate brainwashed Mullahs of Pak. Her freedom
      will compromise her security. Poor innocent girl

  6. Lily says

    While I find it ironic and sad that Malala is religious; it is to be expected. Given time and the chance to be educated, hopefully, she will come to the conclusion so many of us have. There is no God and religion only makes life worse for women around the world. Right now, as she heals, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect her to consider this complex issue. Even though, her situation is wholly caused by and tied to religion, one thing at a time.

  7. Hamad Hussain says

    Let’s examine how women are treated in the so called liberated or non-religious societies. Have you ever seen an ad for an air hostess/stewardess job position? They actually describe how a woman should look in order to be considred for the position! Women have to be a certain height,weight,and age just to have a chance at serving customers for an airline! Is this liberation? What signal does this give to women? That it’s ok in certain sectors to judge women purely by their looks?Islam destroys this repugnant way of thinking.

    Onto Miss Nasreen’s problem with the veil. Have you noticed that in the secular countries the more important position a woman occupies, like being in government or the head of a company, the more she is expected to dress conservatively? If Michelle Obama were to appear in a trashy dress, the media would be covering it 24 hrs a day. Why is that? Because even in the secular countries the population expects a woman to be dressed properly if she holds an important position. So why the double standard? Why is a film actress allowed to wear whatever she wants to an awards function, but a woman in government has to be careful? Islam levels the playing field; every woman is considered important.

    • Agni_B says

      Islam is tyrannical to womankind

      How anyone can justify imposing a cage called Burkha on a fellow human being (woman)

      Whenever I watch a Muslim man with burkha clad woman on the street- almost sense as if he is taking a dog for a walk . So sad

      Muslim apologist like you cannot see that Islam is medieval blood thirsty cult ,needs a reboot to save human progress

      You have the temerity to criticise secular society!!

    • davidhart says

      Islam clearly does not level the playing field; it officially declares women to be less important than men (for instance, inheriting only half the share of a parent’s estate that a male child does, having only half the credibility in court that a man does, having the possibility of being one of up to four wives but not of taking up to four husbands, having to cover up her hair/face/arm/whatever to a degree far higher than is ever expected of men, being able to be divorced more-or-less on her husband’s whim, but having a much harder time to get a divorce herself, not being allowed out in public without a male relative when no male is ever prevented from going out in public without a female relative, etc – all of these, while not universal, are mainstream parts of quite a lot of Muslim thought). Now I’ll grant you that Islam may level the playing field between women, but that is not the same thing as levelling the playing field overall – and, yes, there are still lamentable instances of sexism, including institutionalised sexism, in Western society, but these are, by and large, small potatoes compared to the divinely mandated second-class citizenship that women are subjected to under many widespread interpretations of Islam. So, once Islam requires men to hide away as much of their bodies as women, once it guarantees that women have equal rights to men in marriage (including number of spouses), in court, in divorce, in child custody hearings, in inheritance, and in all other aspects of life, then and only then do you get to claim that Islam levels the playing field better than other ways of organising society.

    • says

      >> Have you ever seen an ad for an air hostess/stewardess job position? They actually describe how a woman should look in order to be considred for the position! Women have to be a certain height,weight,and age just to have a chance at serving customers for an airline!<<

      What is this nonsense?

      First, what you are describing has nothing to do with a society being non-religious. Religion is not the only cause of misogyny, but is frequently used to justify it (and others have given example of how that applies to Islam in particular).

      Second, what you have described is no longer true in many places. In the US, a series of cases in the 1970s to 1990s resulted in rulings ending discriminatory policies in the hiring of airline cabin crew, and the Canadian, Australian, and European airlines have similar rules. I cannot speak to hiring practices in other countries. But your example is only an argument for better labor laws. Nothing more.

      Third, who defines what it means for anyone to be dressed properly? The US media may pay too much attention to what Michelle Obama chooses to wear, but that is not an argument for what she should be wearing. It’s an argument for the media to find something better to focus on.

    • Hamad Hussain says

      I’ll try to answer the common objections here instead of replying one by one.

      1. Women’s dress. – First, covering of the face is not a requirement in Islam. A VERY small percentage of Muslim women cover their face and the vast majority do it because they want to. Second, there is a dress code for men too. Men are not allowed to wear shorts for example. Third, there are some restrictions on men that are not imposed on women. Men are not allowed to wear silk or gold but women are allowed. Finally, even in the non-Islamic societies men have a greater degree of freedom in terms of what they can wear. For example, some women complain that a man can go topless in public but a woman can’t.

      2. 4 Wives- in Islam, men it is not a requirement to have 4 wives and is in fact not recommended but it is allowed.Now, people here have said this is an injustice against women since women can’t have 4 husbands. What about the flip-side? A woman can marry a husband even if he already has a wife but a man cannot marry a woman if she is already married. Is this not an advantage for a woman? Also in Islam there is legal punishment for a man having an affair outside of marriage, but in a secular society a man can have as many affairs as he wants and this is easy for a man since there is no legal punishment for this behaviour.

      3. Womens inheritance-It is true that a women’s share is half that of a man’s. However, in Islam a woman does not have to spend even one cent on her household while a man is obligated to spend for his family. A man earning 25,000 a year who is married to a millionaire women cannot ask that women to spend out of her own money for the household. Think about that for a second. The miilionaire woman is under no Islamic obligation to share her wealth with her husband while the husband HAS to spend on his wife no matter how much he is making. A woman can spend as much as she wants on herself and the man cannot. Is this an injustice against women or a tremendous advantage?

      • No One says

        So men are not allowed to wear silk or gold. This is so arbitrarily silly that I’m not even interested in hearing the reasoning for this, it’s that uninteresting. But one thing did catch my eye, Islam has punishment for adultery. I’d heard of that. Capital punishment. What type where you live I wonder? 100 lashes, caning, or stoning? I would think divorce and alimony (you are wrong about adultery not be punished in the “western world”) would be enough. But when one has to satiate a sadistic heart, here’s nothing like an edict from an unseen god to violate a human being with a clean conscience.

      • says

        I note that you conveniently ignored my pointing out your mistakes above.

        Re. #1: That there are arbitrary dress codes is not an advantage for anyone. And pointing out the problems in another group does nothing to excuse your group from its own problems (and, as it happens, weather permitting, I don’t care if anyone runs around topless as long as they don’t get sunburn).

        Re. #2: No. Polygamy is not an advantage for the woman, because of how it plays out when combined with patriarchal social structures. Women with fewer resources (skills, resources, and monetary) of their own are put in a vulnerable position to be exploited by men. And being harshly punished for adultery is not an advantage to anyone, man or woman or anything else – people will still have sex with other people. The better solution is an empowered populace and no-fault divorce. People who deceive their partners have the consequence of their partners leaving them, if that’s what the partner wants to do.

        Re. #3: It is injustice against both men and women. As you describe it, men are being exploited – which would be just as bad as women being exploited. But the actual is far more the reverse. See how this plays out when combined with patriarchal patterns: Man goes out, works, gets paid, and gets 2/3 of the the money his parents had. Woman stays at home, also works, doesn’t get paid (domestic labor still has value), and gets 1/3 of the money her parents had. In that model there are no millionaire women, because they start with less money than their male relatives and have less opportunity to increase that money.

        And, again, _you_ personally may claim that Islam is egalitarian or even that it favors women, and find some contorted reading of Qur’an and hadith to support your claim. It happens that you are not describing anything of the kind, but even if you were to do so, because the source material contradicts itself, you cannot claim that your reading is any better than any other reading. You use outside information to make your ethical judgements. So why bring the book into it at all?

        • Hamad Hussain says

          Michaelbusch-I didn’t mean to ignore your points, but thought that the discussion should be a bit more narrow to allow for focus. I’ll comment on them now.

          You are correct that airlines legally cannot practice discrimination in hiring anymore in some countries. However, it is extremely hard to prove that someone was not hired as a flight attendant due to their looks. The situation has improved as before airlines would get rid of women as they aged or gained weight, but the initial hiring can still be influenced by how a woman looks. In addition,the airlines in some countries, including unfortunately some Muslims countries like Qatar, openly promote their good looking flight attendants as a marketing tool. This is just one industry. What about the women who dance at sporting events? Have you ever seen an overweight, old lady doing that? Imagine, women in skimpy clothing dancing in front of thousands of strangers. Is this the liberation of women or their degradation? What about tv? I don’t know about where you live, but where I live all the women weather presenters are young,attractive women.

          As for Michelle Obama, forget her clothing. Let’s say she appeared topless for a magazine. The population would be in an uproar. My quesiton is why is it ok for the general population to accept other women appearing topless in magazines but when a woman in a high position does so, the action is called undignified? Islam does not distinguish between women, everyone plays by the same rules.

        • Hamad Hussain says

          Michaelbusch-I’ll adress the points you made in your 2nd post here so as to not clutter up everything.

          1. They may be arbitray to you, but the point was that both men and women have a dress code. There are some restrictions that apply only to men and some only to women. You are of course entitled to believe that the rules themselves don’t suit you, but to say that the Islamic dress code affects only women is incorrect. Also, I wasn’t pointing problems in other societies to excuse anything. The point was that even in the “liberated” societies, there are different norms for men and women in terms of clothing. You many not have a problem with topless women in public, but many people do.

          2. I don’t get the fascination with polygamy considering it is not even a requirement nor is it practised by the majority of Muslims, but I’ll adress it again. A woman cannot be forced to marry against her will. People have no problem with homosexuals getting married, but when 3 people want to marry it is suddenly an isssue. There are some advantages to men in polygany, and some to women. As for adultery, yes the punishment is very harsh(death). This is so that a man(or woman) does not even think of having an affair. Havng an affair is considered as one of the lowest acts a human can engage in. You cite divorce as a punishment in the West. This does punish the man, but also the woman who now has to go look for another partner, raise kids by herself,etc. The kids suffer the most because now they have to grow up in a broken home. A MUCH better solution is to limit affairs as much as possible by having a very severe penalty.

          3.The inheritance scenario you mentioned is a hypothetical one. Women in Islam are permitted to work. If they are not allowed to, then point the finger at the culture and not the religion.If she had rich parents, she can keep the 1/3, never spend a dime on the house before marriage and never spend after marriage while the husband MUST provide for her. If the 1/3rd is not sufficient for her, she is allowed to work. The man receiving the 2/3rds has to provide for the houshold before marriage(if living with sister) and then provide for wife.

          • says

            Your statements are so loaded with nonsense that I have neither the time nor the inclination to list all of them. Let me therefore focus on just #2:

            2.1. Polygamy is targeted because it is such a stark demonstration of misogyny. If it weren’t, there would be equal provision for polygyny (e.g. if a man can have two wives, why can’t a woman have two husbands?). As long as no-one is being exploited, I don’t care one way or the other about any of the combinatorial complexity of polyamory (N = 2 is enough for me personally). There is a problem in that polygamy in particular has often been used as a way for men to exploit vulnerable women.

            2.2. Punishments for adultery _do not stop people from having extramartial sex_. There are the usual problems with getting accurate demographics on sexual behavior, but the sources indexed by Wikipedia about this inform me that the rates of extramartial sex in Muslim-dominated countries are about the same as in non-Muslim-dominated countries.

            2.3. Divorce/separation does not necessarily harm either partner. Child support is a serious consideration, but the children of divorced parents do not necessarily suffer from their parents being separated. There are well-established patterns to minimize trauma. The most immediately obvious is for a society to stop penalizing people for their parents being unmarried.

            Preventing divorce and meting out harsh punishments for adultery only cause unnecessary pain.

            And now I think that I will not spend anymore time pointing out the mistakes and unstated assumptions in your statements. Good bye.

          • davidhart says

            In addition to Michael Busch’s comments, I will say this:
            if and only if a Muslim society has properly enforced equal pay legislation – i.e. if it’s illegal to pay women less than maen for soing the same work, and it has properly enforced anti-discrimination legislation, so it’s illegal to discriminate between men and women when hiring staff, and there is adequate childcare provision so that women who have children are able to seek work outside the home, and there is no social stigma against being a working woman, including being a working mother, and enough time has gone by that the percentage of society’s wealth that belonged to women was roughly equal to the percentage that belonged to men, then you would be able to claim that the Islamic inheritance rules favour women.

            But if these equality laws do not exist, or are not enforced, or there are other societal pressures mitigating against women having equal participation in the workforce or receiving equal reward, then your assertion is pure fantasy, and the actual effect of the Islam inheritance rules in the real world will be to advantage men and disadvantage women.

  8. says

    Since I’m always complaining if Taslima writes uninformedly about biology, I thought I’d write something positive for a change. I totally agree with this post, and posts like this are why I keep reading this blog. Thanks!

  9. bobthelunatic says

    I agree that most religions teach sexism, but to say “all” is not only incorrect, but foolish. Clearly some religions are better than others, that is very likely. And thus, being likely impossible to study all religions, to generalize them “all” in any way is likely an arrogant statement and one that might come back.

    My sect of Buddhism has no sexism nor misogyny. And it goes further, all life is equal, not just gender, not just human beings. Perhaps you could find some beefs with it, but you won’t find any based on sex inequality.

    I know the Quran says women and men are equal, and that their women have been able to own property for nearly 800 years (750 longer than US women), but clearly there is misogyny, and I don’t doubt doubt much of it is in the Quran. However, I would also point out-Islam too is a Abrahamic Religion-thus cannot be avoided.

    On Day 6 man is created from magic clay/dirt, god breathes life into him and names him “Adam”

    and

    On Day 6 god creates woman from a tiny extra hunk of the man clay and offers her to Adam, Adam, not the god names her “Eve”.

    This makes it clear, women are but an insignificant value compared to men-and that further, women are FOR men, playthings, yet something else they have “Stewardship” over. Any religion based on this creation story is going to be problematic for women at best.

    • says

      Your particular sect of Buddhism may have no sexism in it. But there was a misogynistic element to much of early Buddhism (e.g. in the Pali Canon, where it is said that a woman may become enlightened but cannot become a Buddha), and there is still significant sexism in many Buddhist schools. This is not surprising since those groups developed in sexist cultures.

      I personally became disenchanted with Buddhism as I learned more about the demographics, and that the functionally-atheistic philosophic Buddhism popular among a certain set in Los Angeles is greatly outnumbered worldwide by groups that promote various forms of nonsensical and unsupported metaphysics that could lead to problematic ethics (e.g. Lhamo Döndrub was drafted as the Dalai Lama when he was 2. Where was consent in that operation?).

  10. Rukhsana Hasib says

    It is ridiculous for the author to aim these comments at Malala Yousufzai, at this time. She is only a child who is struggling to recover physically and emotionally after the brutal attack by fundamentalist Muslims men in Swat.

    This is the time for her to heal and not be burdened with rebelling against the faith of her upbringing or the idea of the veil. Malala is a special and courageous girl who has already made and impact, not just in the Muslim world, but as one of the figures of change for women in the Twenty First Century. And I am certain, her journey will take her through the evolution process and she will find her own place regarding religion and instruments of oppression for women.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/authorarchive/?rukhsana-hasib/2012/06/

    • Agni_B says

      She is not independent, guided by her father and +, also wants to collect funds for her CHARITY

      She will be scrutinised- No one is unkind to her, most ppl wants to help her including the author

      (Her media interview prompted this discussion)

  11. Hakim says

    Tasleema, Yes you are right. She got shot because of religion; so called Allah, Qur’an and Islam. Hopefully, as she matures, she will realize that (at least in its current manifestation), Islam and Muslims do not stand for her liberation and empowerment.
    Hopefully she will discard the symbol of oppression i.e. the scarf. Nevertheless we must all support her regardless.

    Thanks for a wonderful letter.

    Best

  12. grdn says

    Now that Malala has become known worldwide and has appeared at this special UN meeting, dedicated to her, there is every chance that she will get to go to many meetings concerning human and womens rights and in doing so will get to meet many enlightened people like Taslima and others like her, all of whom do so much good work all over the world towards helping others far less fortunate than ourselves. Of course it will be great if in the course of time she can see all religions including Islam for the backward and outdated brainwashing ideologies that they are.

  13. Sheilendra Shah says

    The one which is preached or written about in holy books or is told about is not God it is point of view of a praetors, or a writer or a guide. God is a divinity which comes from one’s inner connect, no mediation required. The books or people guiding the way have some interest for doing that. Whenever we do any thing big and good we are self guided and when we archive it, that is God. He himself guides us unnoticed, when we don’t lose composer and are inner connected. Do good and feel near to that divinity.

    I am a big admirer of u mam and wish u all your luck and pray for our connect to the divinity. I follow u through twitter @sheilendrashah

  14. Milon Ahmed. says

    Dear Malala,
    Congratulates for your Sakharov Price. Please come out from the circle of religion. Because religion is the main obstacle to women empowerment.

  15. Pals says

    I agree. Giving noble prices for getting shot by Taliban won’t be a good idea. I believe every other girl has secret desire to fight back against this system/rules/oppression. But that may not be possible due to one or other reason. First let her make out what is the problem is it people? Society? System? Or…
    Let her grow up …. And understand this system. Only right of education is not going to solve women oppression. Do we need to change this system and way people think? Let her concepts be clear..

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