Saturday, October 20, 2012
Christians across Pakistan are praying for the girl shot by the Taliban
UK doctors who are now treating 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai say she is “doing well”
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
PAKISTAN/UK (ANS) -- Christians across Pakistan are praying for 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, whose recent attempted murder by the Taliban has sparked widespread rebuke of the country's government for failing to prevent the attack.
According to the National Catholic Register (www.ncregister.com), the national Council for Interreligious Dialogue organized a prayer meeting in Lahore under the leadership of its coordinator, Capuchin Franciscan Father Francis Nadeem, and Dominican Father James Channan, head of Lahore’s Peace Center, Fides news agency (www.fides.org) reported on Oct. 15.
“On Oct. 9, masked gunmen singled out and shot Yousafzai on a bus full of schoolchildren in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley near the Afghanistan border. A spokesman for the gunmen’s group, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, said that they shot her for her advocacy of girls’ education alongside boys and support of Western culture,” said the story.
“Doctors at a Peshawar hospital removed a bullet that passed through her head and stopped in her shoulder. On Oct. 15, she arrived in Britain for specialized medical care and protection from follow-up attacks that the Taliban threatened her with.”
The group of Pakistani religious leaders said they are committed to the growth, education and development of their country’s marginalized religious communities and are against the “Talibanization” of the country.
Rizwan Paul of Life for All told Fides that Malala has become “a symbol of unity and peace.”
“Today she is an inspiration to reiterate the importance of education for all,” he said.
The religious leaders were also critical of Pakistan’s government.
“Rimsha Masih and Malala Yousafzai, both 14-year-olds, are today a symbol of change for Pakistan: They have given to the nation the opportunity to rethink about blasphemy and extremism,” the two groups said.
“For Pakistani society, it is time to choose between a life of fear or a courageous commitment against extremism. The example [of showing courage] was given by two 14-year-old girls.”
ANS Pakistan correspondent, Shamim Masih, has told the ASSIST News Service that the Pakistan United Christian Movement (PUCM) has strongly condemned the attack on Malala Yousafzai.
“A barbaric and cowardly act”
He said that it was “the duty of the entire world to ensure to make this world safe place for children and to provide all opportunities to develop into future visionaries, free from all social maladies”.
He extended his best wishes to Malala for a speedy healing and has appealed to the church in Pakistan to stand together in prayer “for another daughter of Pakistan who has been a targeted of hate and intolerance”.
The shooting of 14-year-old Malala, who campaigned for the right to an education has been denounced worldwide and by the Pakistani authorities, who have offered a reward of more than $100,000 for the capture of her attackers
Since Malala was shot in the head, she was flown from Pakistan to Birmingham, England, to receive treatment and Doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital said that she is “not out of the woods” but is doing well and has been able to stand for the first time.
“She has become a symbol of resistance to the Islamist group's effort to deny women education and other rights,” said Reuters in a story.
Reuters reported that Dave Rosser, medical director of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, said she was now able to write and appeared to have memory recall despite her brain injuries.
“In fact she was standing with some help for the first time this morning. She's communicating very freely, writing,” he said.
Rosser said, however, that the teenager was not able to speak because she had undergone a tracheotomy so she could breathe through a tube in her neck, an operation that was performed because her airways had been swollen by the bullet.
The alleged organizer of the shooting was captured during a 2009 military offensive against the Taliban, but released after three months, two senior officials told Reuters.
In a detailed statement about Yousufzai’s injuries, Rosser said she had suffered fractures to the base of her skull and to the bone behind her left ear. Her left jawbone is also injured at its joint.
“Point Blank Range”
“Malala was shot at point blank range,” with the bullet hitting her left brow, Rosser said. But instead of penetrating skull it travelled underneath the skin, the whole length of the side of her head and into her neck.
Shock waves from the shot shattered the thinnest bone of her skull and fragments were driven into her brain.
Rosser said there was certainly physical damage to the brain but it was too early to tell whether that would affect any brain functions.
“She seems to be able to understand, she has some memory,” he said. “She's able to stand, she's got motor control ... (but) whether there are any subtle intellectual or memory deficits down the line, it's too early to say.”
“The hospital unit is expert in dealing with complex trauma cases and has treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan. It has the world's largest single-floor critical care unit for patients with gunshot wounds, burns, spinal damage and major head injuries,” said Rueters.
Rosser said Yousufzai’s treatment is likely to include reconstructive surgery to replace the damaged skull bone.
That surgery is unlikely to be able to be carried until for several weeks or even months, he said, since she is also fighting an infection that needs to be cured first.
“She's going to need a couple of weeks to rehabilitate, to make sure the infection is cleared up,” he said.
Besides Christians who have been gathering for prayer, Pakistanis at mosques across the country have also prayed for the recovery of the girl and prayers have been said in schools and other places for her recovery in response to a call by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government for people around the nation to express solidarity with Yousafzai.
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