A nine-year-old Afghan girl named Spozhmai is being held in protective custody at a police station in the Khan Neshin district in the southeastern part of Helmand province. She turned herself into the police rather than carry out the order of her older brother, Zahir, a member of the Taliban. Zahir had strapped a suicide bomber vest on his sister and ordered her to detonate it at a military check point. Spozhmai refused; Zahir beat her and issued the order again. With great courage, she fled into the night. Later, Spozhmai told a newspaper reporter, “God didn’t make me to be a suicide bomber.”
Indeed, Spozhmai, how right you are. God made you in His image! You were created to thrive and flourish, to bring beauty into the world, not terror, to nurture life, not to kill yourself and others in a suicide bomber attack.
Spozhmai has seven sisters and five brothers. She is being raised by her father and a step-mother, who, she says, is “not very nice to me.”
I did everything at home. I cooked, I made bread, I washed clothes, I cleaned the whole house and they still weren’t happy – they would treat me badly, as if I was a slave.
I didn’t go to school because they didn’t let me. I can’t read a word, I can’t pronounce anything. It’s because I wasn’t taught – nobody taught me how… of course I want to go to school.
My brother told me: “You’re here in this world and you will die. You are not here to learn or to do other things or to expect that your word will carry any weight. You are here just to die and do your duty.”
Of course my Dad knew – they were all in it together. [This started with] my Dad first, and then my brothers were included. They were all in it together.
When her brother strapped the vest on Spozhmai, he told her, “If you operate this on the people at the checkpoint, they will die – you will not die.” But she knew better and fled.
What hideous evil drives a brother and father to order a young girl to kill herself and other innocent people? What cultural lies are at work behind such darkness? Is Spozhmai a precious child and image-bearer of God? Or is she an object, the trigger of a bomb? And if her brother was so committed to his vision, why did he not strap the vest on himself? Let no one suggest that worldview and culture are not important. How clearly we see Jesus’ words, The thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
Imam al-Qaradawi, known as the Theologian of Terror, reveals the Jihadist mindset: “Israelis might have nuclear bombs but we have the children bomb and these human bombs must continue until liberation.” Jihadists freely use a child as a suicide bomber, a human shield, a decoy to draw off enemy attacks. If Zahir is willing to send his precious sister to her death as a child suicide bomber, what would he not do to see the Jihadist vision established?
Like tens of thousands of young girls under the Taliban, Spozhmai was prohibited from going to school. Another such girl is Malala Yousafzai. Malala the young Pakistani who courageously spoke out for the plight of women and the need for female education in her own country. Under pressure to stop her advocacy for female education, the Taliban leadership ordered her killed. On October 9, 2012, while Malala was riding a school bus in the violent Swat district of Pakistan, a Taliban operative shot her in the face.
Malala miraculously survived the attack and now, at age 16, speaks globally about the plight of women and girls, standing courageously against the violence of the Taliban. She was nominated for the Pulitzer Peace Prize and received the prestigious European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Go here to watch an inspirational television interview.
Not everyone is a Malala or a Spozhmai. Most of us will never have occasion to rise to such stature as have these young women. Nevertheless, we can all find something, small or big, to say on behalf of the dignity of women, the female image bearers of God. What will it be for you?
– Darrow Miller