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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.

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

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:

On February 19, 2020, a group of outdoor adventurists took a 25-day rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. During the trip, they had no cell service and no contact with the outside world. When they ended they ended their journey on March 14, the man who pulled them ashore asked if they had been in touch with anyone else. When the rafters said no, the man sighed, then launched into an explanation of how the globe had been gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and everything had come to a screeching halt.

The rafters listened with bewilderment as they were told about toilet paper shortages and the NBA season being canceled and everyone being asked to stay at home. One of the river guides, who had done these kinds of off-grid excursions multiple times, said that they'd often joke about coming back to a completely different world—it had just never actually happened before.

The rafters' story was shared in the New York Times last spring, but they're not the only ones to have had such an experience.

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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