Multi-Faith Prayer and Vigil for Malala Yousafzai
Two hundred people took part in a vigil and multi-faith prayer on Saturday night for brave Taliban gun victim Malala Yousafzai.
Members of the Muslim, African-Carribean, Sikh, Hindu and Christian communities gathered in Birmingham outside the Birmingham Council House in Chamberlain Square in support of the 14-year-old.
The meeting included speeches from councillors, religious leaders and women’s rights groups.
I was pleased that when raising the disgraceful attack on Malala by the Taliban in a question to the Leader of the Council, Sir Albert Bore, all sections of the council house including Labour, Liberal Democrat and Consevative members conveyed their support of Malala by applauding following my question and the response from Sir Albert.
Whilst addressing the very diverse audience, I condemned the Taliban attack on Malala and wished her a speedy recovery. I also expressed pride in that the Government of Pakistan and the family and friends of Malala had the trust and confidence in Birmingham and a Birmingham hospital to provide the support for Malala. I am also very proud the the people of Birmingham from all sections of society, young and old, men and women, people of all faiths and no faith stand united in welcoming Malala to Birmingham and wishing her a speedy recovery.
I also highlighted gender inequalities that exist in Pakistan as well as those that exist in our city and country and it is important that we all saw Malala as an inspiration and a role model to the next generation of girls and started addressing these inequalities.
I also expressed dissatisfaction on the drone attacks in Pakistan as I feel that they have not resolved the issues of terrorism in Pakistan and have even possibly played into the hands of the militants who have used the deaths of civilians in attracting and recruiting more people in Swat to their side. I think the international community need to go back to the drawing board to address these issues.