Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban, and then after her recovery became a prominent activist who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, directed a message at U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia, Yousafzai told Obama that instead of sending guns to conflict areas and regions, he should send books in order to “change the world.” Yousafzai was in Philly to receive the Liberty Medal for her advocacy work in promoting girl’s education.
“My message was simple,” she explained. “I said instead of sending guns, send books. Instead of sending weapons, send teachers,” she told left-wing MSNBC host Ronan Farrow.
Yousafzai did not however explain how sending books and teachers would save innocents in Iraq and Syria who are under daily threat from the Islamic State’s genocidal campaign.
NBC News said that Yousafzai likened her personal story to an epic movie plot. She said, “At the end, the villain loses and the hero wins, and there is a happy ending.”
Since the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban has continued to seize territory throughout the country, and has successfully garnered support among key regional tribal leaders. Locals have warned that the jihadi group has interpreted the strict Shariah laws system in areas that it controls, and hopes to implement a fully-compliant Islamic state. Badal Bibi, head of women’s affairs in Kunduz, Afghanistan, told Reuters: “When they check the subjects being taught at school and see they are in accordance with sharia, they trust the system. The Taliban are (even) sending their girls to school to learn and to monitor classes. But they have removed English as a subject,” she said, including that religious doctrine is now the primary focus at the schools.
This week, Canada’s House of Commons supported a measure that would grant Malala Yousafzai honorary citizenship.