The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) adds their voice to the international outcry over the cowardly shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai. She was targeted for assassination by Taliban thugs as she rode home on a Pakistani school bus. Throughout her country – and the world - Malala has become a symbol of courage for speaking out on behalf of young women and their rights to an education. In the twisted ideology of her Taliban attackers, this was a crime.
At such a young age, Malala upholds the ideals of civilized people all over the world: to be unshackled from the bonds of tyrants and to live a life of freedom with the ability to speak our will. Nasser J. Kazeminy, Chairman of NECO, said, “This was an attack to silence courage through a bullet. Our thoughts and prayers are with this remarkable girl for a full recovery.”
One of NECO's principle goals is to foster tolerance, respect, and understanding among religious, ethnic and political groups throughout the world. It serves as a voice for the voiceless in far corners of the globe, just as Malala's voice resonated through the tribal villages of Pakistan. “Voices can speak louder than bullets,” said Mr. Kazeminy who expressed the hope that while Malala recovers, others will further her message and her dream of a country where education for all will prevail.
Young Malala should serve as an inspiration to all of us. In boasting responsibility for the savage act, the Taliban said she had become a symbol of Western culture and warned, “Let this be a lesson.” Mr. Kazeminy said the lesson should be that “you cannot silence an idea.”
Malala's voice has served as a beacon of hope, just as the glowing torch atop the hand of the Lady in New York harbor has guided the way to freedom for millions of immigrants who sought new beginnings in America. The Taliban calls her an “infidel.” NECO is proud to recognize her as a young woman of admirable courage.