The Hopes and Dreams of Youth

– Clarence Holm

I just finished reading “I Am Malala” and I ashamed!

23% of the world’s population or over 1.5 billion people adhere to the Muslim religion, in one sect or another. Yet even though our media is full or articles about them, I knew almost nothing about them. I had suspicions and reservations, but most information I had was from 30 second sound bites.

It could be that most of the articles dealt with fear. Fear of a group that does not believe in the same values we do. Fear of a group that reportedly wants to impose their religion beliefs on us. Fear of a region that seems bent on our destruction!

That is why Malala Yousafzai’s book is so refreshing. It is a story of a young girl growing up in a Muslim country with all the hopes and dreams that are surprisingly similar to the dreams my daughters had shared with me. Through her book, I learned about the Muslim religion as seen through her eyes. She shared how intertwined her life is with religion, politics, and her tribal heritage. Through her eyes I saw how similar my daughters were to her, even though their circumstances were so different.

I was amazed by how she came to accept her role in life and the risks her goals entailed; her steadfast belief in her God and his purpose, which allowed her to function at a level that would have paralyzed most.

It took a 14 year old girl to open my eyes to a region that has hopes and dreams. That despite intolerable conditions, their lives go on and flourish.