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Malala had a spot-on response to the anti-Muslim rhetoric we're hearing.

Malala Yousafzai links anti-Muslim rhetoric with a rise in terrorism.

Being both Muslim and a survivor of terrorism, Malala Yousafzai knows a thing or two about both subjects.

The Pakistani children's rights activist, who became famous after being shot in the head by the Taliban back in 2012, recently spoke out against a rise in global anti-Muslim sentiment after the attacks in Paris last month.

She didn't mince words.


Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images.

Yousafzai wants to be clear: Linking all Muslims to terrorism doesn't boost national security — it makes us all less safe.

When asked about the recent inflammatory (and false) things said about Islam, as well as a proposed ban on all Muslim immigration here in the U.S., Yousafzai explained why such rhetoric does so much damage.

"The more you speak about Islam and against all Muslims, the more terrorists we create," she told Channel 4 News in the U.K. "So it's important that whatever politicians say, whatever the media say, they should be really, really careful about it."

"If your intention is to stop terrorism, do not try to blame the whole population of Muslims for it, because [that] cannot stop terrorism. It will radicalize more terrorists."

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Many others agree that Islamophobia isn't just immoral, it's bad foreign policy.

In addressing the nation after the terror attacks in San Bernardino, California, earlier this month, President Obama stressed that blaming all Muslims for terrorism actually helps ISIS by upping its recruitment.

Photo by Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images.

It's a perspective that's shared with other (but not all) presidential candidates, as well as experts on the matter, who believe grouping all Muslims in with the (very) small faction of extremists — and closing the door on Syrian refugees for that reason — plays into the terrorists' narrative.

"When ISIS executes its attacks, it has a script," Owen Jones wrote for The Guardian. "It knows that Muslims will be blamed en masse in the aftermath. One of its key aims, after all, is to separate western societies and their Muslim communities: If Muslims are left feeling rejected, besieged and hated, ISIS believes, then the recruitment potential will only multiply."

If anyone knows that inclusion is the best way to heal (and promote good policy-making), it's Yousafzai.

The human rights leader — who now lives in England — has firsthand experience.

Photo by Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images.

"What I went through in my life was a horrible incident," she told Channel 4 News. "But here [in the U.K.], the love of people really strengthened me. And it continues to strengthen me. That's why I am able to continue my campaign for education."

"I'm really thankful to people here in the UK for all their support, their love and for making me feel that this is home, and that [I] have the right to live and that [I] deserve love and kindness."

Watch Yousafzai's interview with Channel 4 News:

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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