Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai sat down with English journalist Jon Snow to discuss the issues facing Muslims in today’s Europe.
A Pakistani activist for female education, Malala was the youngest to have ever receive the Nobel Prize. She is known mainly for her human rights advocacy in education of women in her native Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Yousafzai’s advocacy has since grown into an international movement and is quickly becoming an icon for women’s rights in the Arab world. In 2012, she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban where she was shot in the head.
In the interview, she was asked if anti-Muslim sentiment had intensified over the last few years. She replied that the media should make a better attempt at portraying the more positive aspects of Islam alongside the reports on terrorism, in order to remind people that only a fraction of the world’s Muslims are actually terrorists.
Well, I just can’t really say, because it depends on the experience of each and every person, but I think that it’s important that media also portray a positive image, in a way that if one terrorist comes and attacks someone and that terrorist, is unfortunately Muslim, [it] does not mean that now every Muslim in the world is blamed. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.
Their discussion moved onto the current anti-Islamic rhetoric coming from Western conservatives. Yousafzai said that persecuting the entire religion will not stop terrorism, and that hateful rhetoric will drive more Muslims into the arms of jihadists.
I can just highlight one thing, that the more you speak against Islam and against all Muslims, the more terrorists will it create. So it’s important that whatever politicians say, whatever media says, they should be really, really careful about it. If your intention is to stop terrorism, do not try to blame the whole population of Muslims for it, because it cannot stop terrorism. It will rather, create more terrorists, so it’s important that they try to show harmony towards Muslims and say that they’re accepted in this world, they deserve the right to live and that they are normal people.
Watch, via Channel 4 News:
Featured image via screen grab