Young activist deserves a top accolade

ONE of the most effective weapons against terrorism is education, more so women's education. It will be extremely appropriate for Malala Yusufzai to be awarded the Nobel prize for peace today.

It is immensely profound that the first verses revealed to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) by the Angel Gabriel in a cave in Mecca in 610 AD was: "Read, read in the name of thy Lord Who created" (Koran 96:1-5). These verses instruct mankind (and not only men) to read, to ponder, to think and to study.

Moreover, the Prophet said: "Knowledge is incumbent upon both male and female" and furthermore, "One who proceeds on a path in the pursuit of knowledge, God makes him proceed therewith on a path to Paradise".

The idea that women must be house-bound, raise kids and be the man's slave was part of African, Arab and Asian cultures for centuries prior to the arrival of Islam. The Koran has not been revealed to the clergy, neither only to men, but to both men and women.

Groups like the Taliban, al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and Boko Haraam and many non-Muslims hateful of Islam have taken some verses of the Koran and hadeeth out of context. For example, "And abide quietly in your homes" (Koran 33:33).

This verse specifically refers to the Prophet's wives, and is not a general law and should not be quoted out of context. Women have a choice: whether they want to marry or remain single, whether they want to raise kids and how big the family should be, and whether they need to work and/or raise a family.

It is clear that the revolution to free women from ignorance and slavery, started 1400 years ago, is not complete. It will be up to the young people like Malala to take this struggle to the next level.

N Omar, East London