Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2022

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© Asian Media Group - 2022

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Malala Yousafzai


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BETTER-KNOWN around the world as just Malala, it’s been quite the year for the 24-year old who continues to inspire and be active on issues close to her heart.

She waded into the controversy around the wearing of hijabs at colleges in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The 2014 Nobel prize winner was emphatic in her opposition – colleges in the BJP-run state said that they would no longer admit women wearing hijabs. It was against the dress or uniform code and applied to everyone regardless of their faith or individual preferences.

Malala posted a statement on Twitter, in which she described the rule as “horrifying”, saying that it is unfair that girls wearing hijabs are being asked not to attend classes in Karnataka colleges and educational institutes.

“Refusing to let girls go to school in their hijabs is horrifying. Objectification of women persists — for wearing less or more. Indian leaders must stop the marginalisation of Muslim women,” she wrote on Twitter.

She showed that she had lost none of her fire for standing up for women and girls whom she believed were being discriminated against – but the authorities say it is nothing to do with religion, simply about the way they want students to dress when they are learning.

In November 2021, the Pakistan-born activist got married in a small ceremony in Birmingham, where she lives since settling in Britain in 2014. “Today marks a precious day in my life.

Asser (Malik) and I tied the knot to be partners for life. We celebrated a small nikkah ceremony at home in Birmingham with our families. Please send us your prayers. We are excited to walk together for the journey ahead,” she wrote on Twitter.

Asser is the general manager of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s high-performance centre.

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