Keeping to a secular path is no easy road | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Keeping to a secular path is no easy road

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Just eight months after she was shot in the head on a bus in Pakistan's Swat Valley for daring to oppose the Taliban and urge education for all girls in her country, Malala Yousafzai was at the UN headquarters in New York to deliver the same message. On Friday, her 16th birthday, Malala told an audience of more than 500 young people aged 12-25 from around the world: "I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child ... I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists." 

Malala said she was fighting for the rights of women because "they are the ones who suffer the most".

The address highlights the need to keep the control of education and all basic human rights out of the hands of religious extremists. It also raises questions about how this can be done, especially if the extremists like the Taliban are empowered under the framework of democracy, as they conceivably may be in neighbouring Afghanistan after US troops withdraw in December 2014.

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