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malalayouasfaziI have done a few ‘Hero of the Day’ posts and I have a few more on the way. The recipients have done great work spreading important information, rallying against injustice, educating us masses, and have been generally awesome. But today’s hero is special. On top of those usual achievements, she’s done it all while personally facing off against one of the leading threats to civilization as we know it. Oh, and she’s only 15.

The Taliban, with its “all powerful god”, is threatened by literate females. So much so, it will use brutal violence, murder, torture, and arson to enforce its view that girls should not be allowed in schools. What else would you expect from the “religion of peace”?

Malala Yousafzai, from the Swat district of Pakistan, however, does not agree. With aspirations of becoming a doctor or a politician, Malala is a strong advocate for gender equality, especially for equal access to education. Like many other girls in Swat, Malala has risked her life to attend classes against the wishes of the Taliban. At the same time, she was also doing something extraordinary. Malala, using a pseudonym, started blogging for the BBC, reporting to the world what it was like to be an ordinary child under the Taliban as it destroyed schools and forbade girls from attending the ones they hadn’t destroyed yet.

Adam B. Ellick from the New York Times made a documentary called Class Dismissed profiling Malala, her activism, and the difficulties and dangers for girls wanting to go to school.

Since the documentary, Malala’s has kept on advocating for girl’s education, growing in influence and visibility. This earned her and her father numerous death threats from the Taliban. Undeterred, Malala kept working for equal education opportunities.

On October 9th, 2012, the Taliban tried to make good on its threats. To preserve the glory of Islam an Allah, Malala was shot in the head.

Now recovering in a UK hospital, Malala isn’t done yet. Her message and story are spreading and the world is taking note.

Tarek Fatah, from Toronto, started a petition on change.org to nominate Malala for a Nobel Peace Prize. The response has been tremendous. The Prime Minister and the leaders of all of our major parties have unanimously endorsed this petition. If you haven’t done so already, please sign as well.

In the west we’ve had huge media organizations cower and retreat when islamist extremists raised their hate filled voices. In Swat, a 15 year old girl stood directly against the guns, bombs, soldiers, and machetes wielded by the worst of brutal zealots, just outside her door.

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