Is shooting children equal to protecting religion?….

Both are of young teenage girls, completely unconnected. They are separated by thousands of miles, and by differences in circumstances.

But, both news-items show the arrogance of males with nasty guns and whips, as they target females with liberal thoughts and words. In both, girls are targeted in the name of religion.

One is of the 14-year-old activist and blogger, Malala Yusufzai, who was shot in the head on her way back from school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley last Tuesday. She now battles for life in a hospital in UK.

And another is of  a 15-year-old girl, who was given 60 lashes in Timbuktu, in the West African nation of Mali,  this Monday, for speaking to men on the street.  It was a public whipping supposedly
aimed at serving as a lesson to others.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack against Malala  , in Pakistan. And the Islamists of Ansar Dine, who now run Timbuktu, carried out the punishment against the other girl, in Timbuktu.

TTP said that it should be a lesson to other children who participate in “secular-minded” activities. “She was pro-West, and she was speaking against Taliban,” was their argument.

And they say they are determined to kill the girl; which is why we see her being shifted for medical, and security, reasons to UK, far away from Pakistan.

Now, the question is, can the expressions of a teenage girl be so damaging to religion that she needs to be shot with a gun? Is asking for education, a crime?

“If the new generation is not given pens, they will be given guns by the terrorists,” said Malala   herself, very ironically, in a 2010 interview to Al Jazeera, when she was barely 11 years old.

In the video, I saw her sweet simple innocent face displaying a sincere and earnest desire to see girls like her, get the education they deserve. Is that wrong?

Is asking for education secular and western? But shooting a small defenseless girl wise and Islamic?

In what way did her words seem incorrect to the Taliban? In what way did she deserve to be shot?

What does this speak about the twisted perceptions of these so-called protectors of morals?

What does this tell us about the warped minds of these self-appointed guardians of religion?

Does it tell us that guns and whips are the best answer to promote goodness in the world?

Does it tell us that a violent response is the best method to tell people that your opinion is right?

While Malala struggles to get back on to her feet, the real question we need to ask ourselves is – how much are we doing, to spread education?

If only the terrorists were somewhat educated, they would not have attempted this shameless attack; an attack which the UN Secretary General calls ‘cowardly’.

We can call them cowards because, as one tweet aptly put,“Terrorists have showed us what their biggest fear is: A girl with a book”.