Tag Archives: Fatwa

Number 1 Hero of the Year 2012: Malala Yousafzai

31 Dec
Number 1 Hero of 2012

Number 1 Hero of 2012

Even with all the wonderful nominations TSM received for Hero of the Year, the winner was clear from early on. No one received more nominations than Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. The final decisions were based on more than just votes, however. Yousafzai — a young woman of 15! — is a shining example of social justice. Having virtually no inherent power or privilege, she found her voice at the age of 11 and has used it to great effect.

All of the heroes and honorable mentions have made the world a better place. What sets Yousafzai apart is the very real risks she takes every day. She has less to start with and has put it all on the line, even suffering a potentially fatal gunshot wound from Taliban assassins.

Her mission is simple but powerful — every child in the world should have access to a reasonable education by 2015. Coming from a place that believes women should never be educated, she understands the power of learning and reading. Nurtured by her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, also an education activist, she began blogging about conditions in her province for the BBC at age 11. She also attended a Peshawar press club event, getting rousing applause for her powerful question:

How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?

For her powerful voice, tireless activism, willingness to risk all, and youthful promise, TSM is proud to honor Malala Youfsazai as Hero of the Year.

Honorable mention for the top spot goes to another Muslim activist seeking change. Ludovic Mohammed Zahed started the Unity mosque in Paris, the first fully LGBT embracing house of Islamic worship. Zahed’s mission includes full inclusion for women and transgender worshippers. He’s another brilliant example of change from the grass roots and a great example of using personal power to change the world for everyone’s benefit.

Millennial Generation: Interview with Maria Khan

14 Feb

Welcome to the third interview in the Millennial Generation Series.

As someone who has been in education most of my life, and as I hope to inspire a group of activists through my behavior and my blog, I am curious to see what Millennials think of their own generation and of our world currently. Today I had the chance to speak with a former student of mine, Maria Khan. She inspired me and I guarantee her interview will inspire you.

Maria is an Asian-American, born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. She is 21 years old and was born at the beginning of the Bush Sr. administration. Her tone, while exceedingly self-deprecating, is beautifully passionate as she talks about her dreams and anxieties. At times, her self-effacing manner has the potential to undermine her strong and brilliant voice. Maria was raised Sunni Islam and is devout.


When I moved to Pakistan and seeing how corrupt the government is, I realized how important it is to be aware of politics. Here in America I would say I am a Democrat. Every person regardless of age, sex, everyone has to be engaged in politics, it is our responsibility to use our rights and to fight for honesty, and equality. We have to raise our voice. We have to fight for the right path!  As she speaks with great passion.

LGBT Issues

People are so afraid of the concept of being gay, and people need to realize we are equal.  My generation is realizing the important thing is how honest you are– how kind you are. I have hope that people will get past the issue of sexual orientation.   We should worry: is this person honest, what kind of human being is this? It is inhumane to mistreat people for their sexual orientation.  It is our job to educate people and pull them out of the dark.  You should not judge a person by their color, or if they wrap their head or not, or who they date.  People’s personal lives are their business. My generation holds the thread of hope to stop pushing beliefs and hurtful words.

Frame of Reference

9/11 is my point of history.  The peaceful world my parents had built for me was not real, they wanted that for me, but it wasn’t real. I remember my school being attacked. I remember being attacked at the grocery store, a woman was yelling at me saying I had ruined the world. I also realized it was my duty, my responsibility, to help people not hate others, to educate people to give them peace and to give them harmony.  I am an American.  I was born here.

Biggest Anxiety

Where do I start? My biggest anxiety is the human race losing the ability to see right from wrong,–the ability to pick up a rock and hurt someone.  I look at all the injustice and the crime rates. We are citizens of this world whether we like it or not.  We have a responsibility to take care of the earth and take care of the people on the earth.  Why and how did humans get it in their heads that it is okay to kill people? These people that are being killed have mothers and family members. The thing that makes us human is kindness.  I worry about all the kids in high school committing suicide because of bullying. Did their parents not teach them to be kind?

Biggest Dream

The Fatwa issued by Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri will be used effectively to combat terrorism. I hope from the bottom of my heart that the Fatwa proves that Islam is a religion of peace! He has given his life for Islam, for peace. He has given up his life for peace and democracy.

What do you want to be known for—your indelible mark?

I am going to work to educate people that Islam is a religion of peace. We have to help people and help terrorist not to be trapped into false ideologies.  It is not a religion of violence. These terrorists are not Islam. Killing people in markets in train stations is NOT Islam. If you smile that alone is a good deed. I want all the chaos in the world to end. Maybe we need to work on preserving the planet and make a world that is better for our children. The next step is to build understanding—I know this Fatwa will work and spread as far as it can spread.  My religion teaches to save people, not to kill people– that is all of our responsibility.

What do you want your generation to be known for?

I want my generation to be known for change, to stand up to the truth, to be united, to root out evil and injustice—to make justice happen, much like what they are doing in Egypt.  We have to fight for it. I am hoping and praying that the youth of Pakistan will realize how corrupt the government is.

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