The process of nominating someone for the Nobel Peace Prize is a detailed and very specific one, requiring not only a collection of supportive signatures as one step, but very specific signatures. According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, a nomination is considered valid if it is submitted by a person who falls within one of the following categories:
Members of national assemblies and governments of states
Members of international courts
University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes;
Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;
Board members of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; (proposals by members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1);
Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee
In other words, a very select group.
So the initiator of a petition to nominate 14-year-old Pakistani school girl and educational activist, Malala Yousafzai, shot in head by Taliban gunmen punishing her for speaking up on behalf of educating girls in that country, was understandably thrilled when his petition to seek a nomination for Malala was publically supported by Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada.
In a report this week at Change.org, petitioner Tarek Fatah of Toronto, Canada, announced the following:
UPDATE: We did it! We accomplished our first goal. On November 21, Prime Minister Stephen came out in support of the petition (see tweet below) and now every single federal party leader has joined the campaign and have nominated Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The story of Malala’s attack and subsequent critical injury has both enraged and inspired people throughout the world, raising concerns not only for the general welfare of children, particularly girls, in that politically ravaged part of the Middle East, but raising awareness of the deplorable conditions that exist for any young female attempting to seek an education in the dangerously restricted atmosphere. Malala, with her youthful hope and persistence in the face of, literally, death-defying odds, has become a living symbol of courage and tenacity, vowing, as she has, to continue her fight for a woman’s right to an education.
Yet while she continues to recuperate in a British hospital from the grievous head wound inflicted in the attack, Islamic hardliners have declared a “fatwa” on her, a stunning juxtaposition of her youthful courage against the fanatical hate and fundamentalism of the Pakistan Taliban. The UK Telegraph reports:
She had dared to defy the Pakistan Taliban by promoting girls education and by documenting their abuses in a blog written in 2009.
Later this month, hardliners plan to gather at the notorious Red Mosque in Islamabad to denounce her as an apostate, accusing her of turning her back on Islam.
Anjem Choudary, who lives in East London and is one of the founders of al-Muhajiroun, which was banned in 2010, said the conference would announce the fatwa.
Although apostasy carries the death sentence according to Islamic law, he insisted he was not calling for Malala’s death.
“It’s not a death sentence,” he said. “It’s about what is the reality of what’s taking place and how she is being used as a tool for propaganda by the US and Pakistan, and for the crimes they are committing.”
This fatwa (defined as a “non-binding judgment on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized religious authority”) raises the stakes for the larger issue of Malala’s safety, as well as her ability to continue the work she has set out to do. Which makes it all the more critical that her profile be raised in the vaunted manner of a Nobel Peace Prize, which she surely deserves for both her courage and her cause.
The petitionor, Fatah, encourages all people who support her advancement toward the Prize so sign the petition (click here for the Change.org page set up for the petition ):
A Nobel Peace Prize for Malala will send a clear message that the world is watching and will support those who stand up for gender equality and universal human rights that includes the right of education for girls
I live in Canada and I started the first ‘Nobel Prize for Malala’ petition. Now people around the world are setting up this same petition in their own country asking for their political leaders to come together to nominate Malala for the Nobel Prize.
The counter on this petition reflects the cumulative efforts of these petitions from around the world. If you don’t have a petition in your country yet and you would like to start one, send me a note at Nobel4Malala@gmail.com with your country in the subject line.
Please sign the petition, if you are so moved, and send this on to others who might be as well. The honor and survival of a very brave 14-year-old girl may depend on its success.