But there is a glaring problem with the argument that religion and religious freedom are inherently a woman’s foe.The problem rests on a faulty understanding of religious freedom and assumes that it protects specific beliefs rather than the persons who hold them. The right to religious freedom—along with women’s rights and other human rights such as freedom of speech—belongs not to any particular set of beliefs, but to people who speak and act, either by themselves or in community with others.As affirmed by international human rights documents, religious freedom is the inalienable right of all people, acting on their own or together with others, to think as they please, believe or not believe as their conscience leads, and live out their beliefs openly, peacefully, and without fear.Sharing her father’s passion, she wrote a blog for the BBC that focused on her life under Taliban occupation; she used a pseudonym, fearing the Taliban militants would kill her and her family if her identity were revealed to the public. 9, 2012, after the Taliban had been officially ousted from the region, militant gunmen shot Malala, hospitalizing her for months.Despite her life-threatening injuries, she recovered and refused to end her efforts to raise awareness of the importance of educating girls.The attack on Malala and the Taliban’s flawed interpretation of Islam—the militants claim young girls should not be educated in an environment that brings them into contact with any man—raised serious questions, including the following: Are the rights of girls and women in conflict with another key human right—religious freedom?The Taliban isn’t the only group to consider female status and aspiration a lethal threat to its interpretation of religion.Others’ interpretations are often used to justify assaults such as female genital mutilation or severe punishment when girls and women opt for a religion different from their fathers, brothers or husbands or simply resist cultural norms forced upon them.
In 2014, her advocacy and unflinching bravery won her the Nobel Peace Prize, of which she used her .1 million award to help build a secondary school for Pakistani girls.
The brutal attack on Malala created new momentum, in Pakistan and worldwide, to recognize the plight of vulnerable girls.