“Yes I am. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.”
- Gandhi –
Chapter 12, “The Bloody Square”. Page 125 of I Am Malala. I am just about half way through 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai’s authorised biography, written with Christina Lamb after the young Pakistani woman’s miraculous recovery after being shot on a school bus by deranged Taliban terrorists. Indeed, the book’s jacket begins the narrative of this young and talented woman’s remarkable life in the Swat Valley of Pakistan;
It also sums up what Malala stands for. Malala follows in her father’s footsteps as an educator and activist. More succinctly, she is an advocate on the side of women and children’s rights in the regions which had in recent years been demolished by the Taliban who exploited George W Bush’s wrong-headed decision to wage a war against “the axis of evil.” Placing Malala on the pedestal as my Woman of the Year was quite easy. While there are hundreds, if not thousands of women around the world who are as brave as young Malala, the Pakistani activist, now living in Birmingham, England, as the most visible and recognisable of the women who fight daily in a figurative sense, represents not only these women, but we who believe in just causes.
After the slaying of media activists in Paris recently, I have decided to step up my project of visiting houses of worship in and around the area where I live. My motivations for this are clear. I will not advocate, nor will I pontificate. As a humble scribe, I will merely show and not tell. But those who read my articles will also be made aware of the fact that where religion is concerned, the grievous acts committed by the Taliban, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda are not in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet Mohamed, Peace be upon Him.
US President Barack Obama has already mentioned that the causes that his predecessor stood for to justify his war on terror, were not in accordance with the teachings of Christ, Blessed be His Name. I mention Obama purposely because he has characterised his administration in accordance with his country’s constitution where the State remains separated from the Church, Temple, or Mosque. This is something that Pope Francis has yet to address in his own administration of over a billion Roman Catholics. The Vatican should not be a nation state. Nor is the Pope infallible. One has the sense that this Pope, lauded world-wide by mostly non-Catholics for his reformist stance, is merely dragging his feet and maintaining the status quo.
It would be helpful if Christians, Muslims and Jews told the truth to their non-believing brothers and sisters. That the Biblical texts and the Qur’an are divine documents, the word of God, if you will, and that their leaders, whether religious, national or political have been exploiting these Holy texts to suite their own purposes in their quest for power. While the administration of these religious sects remain secretive and undemocratic, the word of God, in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet, Peace be upon Him, the teachings of Christ, Blessed be His Name and the teachings handed down to the Jews since the time of Abraham give some leeway to the faithful. Freedom of Choice, but with freedom of choice there are always consequences.
This is something that young Malala Yousafzai knows all too well. Reading through her biography, it is clear that both the Prophet, Peace be upon Him, and her father, have had the greatest influence on her short life as Muslim woman. What is also clear from her biography, is the continuous reminders to her readers that what deranged causes the Taliban fight for are not in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet, Peace be upon Him.
The door to knowledge, which is the true path to power, is through education, a cause to which young Malala has devoted her life to. Is it also possible to believe that through Divinity, she did not lose her life so that she could continue with the work given to her by God, G-d, or Allah?
My discoveries and investigations would have to start at the Cathedral down the road from where I live. Or even a Shrine built many years ago in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are also Apostolic, Anglican and Reformed places of worship that I could visit. At least half a dozen Mosques surround two Jewish Temples in the area where I live. Not to be outdone, both Buddhist and Krishna Temples are also within walking distance.
In the words of the Prophet, Peace be upon Him, I humbly proclaim that “Allahu Akbar!”