Malala Yousufzai was shot by the Taliban for standing up for the education of girls and has electrified the world with her determination and courage in the face of ignorance and hate.

She's also the voice of Islam's next generation of moderate Muslims.

Though only 16 years old, the charismatic teenager fearlessly articulates how her faith grounds her and gives her the courage to back up her views on peace and the importance of education. Her father is a teacher and outspoken activist for education, as well as a devout Muslim who opposes the Taliban's narrow-minded interpretation of Islam.

Malala presents an alternate narrative to the hijacking of Islam by the Taliban; using the Muslim faith as a framework to argue for the importance of education rather than making Islam a justification for oppression. She doesn't hesitate to directly challenge the Taliban, saying in a speech to the UN, "They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would send girls to the hell just because of going to school. The terrorists are misusing the name of Islam and Pashtun society for their own personal benefits."

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  • My Right As A Muslim Woman

    "We talked about how things happen for different reasons, this happened to me, and how education for females is one of our Islamic rights. I was speaking up for my right as a Muslim woman to be able to go to school." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Education Is A Duty

    "Islam says that it is not only each child's right to get education, rather it is their duty and responsibility." <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-full-text-malala-yousafzai-delivers-defiant-riposte-to-taliban-militants-with-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-8706606.html" target="_blank">-Speech to the UN General Assembly</a>

  • The Word Has Not Come Down From The Heavens

    "Nowhere is it written in the Quran that a woman should be dependent on a man. The word has not come down from the heavens to tell us that every woman should listen to a man." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • I Love My God

    "I love my God. I thank my Allah. I talk to him all day. He is the greatest. By giving me this height to reach people, he has also given me great responsibilities." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Bless All Human Beings

    "Then I'd pray to God, 'Bless us. First our father and family, then our street, then our whole <em>mohalla</em>, then all Swat.' Then I'd say, 'No, all Muslims.' Then, 'No, not just Muslims; bless all human beings.'" <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • God, Give Me Strength And Courage

    "'Dear God,' I wrote, 'I know you see everything, but there are so many things that maybe, sometimes, things get missed, particularly now with the bombing of Afghanistan. But I don't think you would be happy if you saw the children on my road living on a rubbish dump. God, give me strength and courage to make me perfect because I want to make this world perfect. Malala.'" <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • We Believe In God

    "At night I used to pray a lot. The Taliban think we are not Muslims but we are. We believe in God more than they do, and we trust him to protect us." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • The Truth Will Prevail

    "In my heart was the belief that God would protect me. If I am speaking for my rights, for the rights of girls, I am not doing anything wrong. It's my duty to do so. God wants to see how we behave in such situations. There is a saying in the Quran, 'The falsehood has to go and the truth will prevail.'" <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • You Are Free To Interpret The Quran

    Malala's father told her to learn the Quran but disregard the fundamentalist statements of her teachers after the Taliban came, "But you just use him to learn the literal meaning of the words; don't follow his explanations and interpretation. Only learn what God says. His words are divine messages, which you are free and independent to interpret." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • The Quran Says It Is Wrong To Kill

    "These clerics said 9/11 was revenge on the Americans for what they had been doing to other people around the world, but they ignored the fact that the people in the World Trade Center were innocent and had nothing to do with American policy, and that the Holy Quran clearly says it is wrong to kill." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Islam Is A Religion Of Peace

    "Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and brotherhood." <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-full-text-malala-yousafzai-delivers-defiant-riposte-to-taliban-militants-with-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-8706606.html" target="_blank">-Speech to the UN General Assembly</a>

  • Seek Knowledge And Learn

    "Education is our right, I said. Just as it is our right to sing. Islam has given us this right and says every girl and boy should go to school. The Quran says we should seek knowledge, study hard and learn the mysteries of our world." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Compassion

    "This is the compassion that I have learnt from Muhammad-the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This is the legacy of change that I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This is the philosophy of non-violence that I have learnt from Gandhi Ji, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learnt from my mother and father." <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-full-text-malala-yousafzai-delivers-defiant-riposte-to-taliban-militants-with-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-8706606.html" target="_blank">-Speech to the UN General Assembly</a>

  • Prayers For Exams

    "The time of year I prayed most was during exams. It was the one time when my friends and I did all five prayers a day like my mother was always trying to get me to do." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Misguided People

    "Our people have become misguided. They think their greatest concern is defending Islam and are being led astray by those like the Taliban who deliberately misinterpret the Quran." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • God Chose Books

    "There is no better way to explain the importance of books than to say that even God chose the medium of a book to send His message to His people." <a href="http://www.libraryofbirmingham.com/article/malalas-speech" target="_blank">-Speech to open Birmingham Library</a>

  • Misusing The Name Of Islam

    "When the Taliban came, they were trying to convince people, and they were just misusing the name of Islam..." -The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Interview

  • It's Not Written In The Quran

    "In the Holy Quran it is not written that men should go outside and women should work all day in the home. In our Islamic studies class at school we used to write essays entitled, 'How the Prophet Lived.' We learned that the first wife of the Prophet was a businesswoman called Khadijah. She was forty, fifteen years older than him, and she had been married before, yet he still married her. I also knew from watching my own mother that Pashtun women are very powerful and strong." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Limitless Love Of God

    "The last year has shown me both the extreme hatred of man and the limitless love of God." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Equal In Front Of God

    "But first of all, thank you to God for whom we all are equal and thank you to every person who has prayed for my fast recovery and a new life." <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-full-text-malala-yousafzai-delivers-defiant-riposte-to-taliban-militants-with-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-8706606.html" target="_blank">-Speech to the UN General Assembly</a>

  • Misinterpretations Of The Quran

    "Mullahs often misinterpret the Quran and Hadith when they teach them in our country, as few people understand the original Arabic." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • God Spared Me For A Reason

    "I know God stopped me from going to the grave. It feels like this life is a second life. People prayed to God to spare me, and I was spared for a reason -- to use my life for helping people." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • God's Blessings

    "We human beings don't realize how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and a sensitive loving heart. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which see a world of colors and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, a nose which smells the beauty of fragrance, and two ears to hear the words of love." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Be Peaceful And Love Everyone

    "This is what my soul is telling me, be peaceful and love everyone." <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-full-text-malala-yousafzai-delivers-defiant-riposte-to-taliban-militants-with-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-8706606.html" target="_blank">-Speech to the UN General Assembly</a>

  • Being Good Muslims

    "I couldn't understand what the Taliban were trying to do. 'They are abusing our religion,' I said in interviews. 'How will you accept Islam if I put a gun to your head and say Islam is the true religion? If they want every person in the world to be Muslim, why don't they show themselves to be good Muslims first?'" <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Misusing The Name Of Islam

    "They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would send girls to the hell just because of going to school. The terrorists are misusing the name of Islam and Pashtun society for their own personal benefits." <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-full-text-malala-yousafzai-delivers-defiant-riposte-to-taliban-militants-with-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-8706606.html" target="_blank">-Speech to the UN General Assembly</a>

  • God Has Given Me Life

    "But when you see death, things change. 'It doesn't matter if I can't smile or blink properly,' I told her. 'I'm still me, Malala. The most important thing is that God has given me my life.'" <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Heart's Wish

    "We believe that when we have our first sight of the Kaaba, the black-shrouded cube in Mecca that is our most sacred place, any wish in your heart is granted by God. When we prayed at the Kaaba, we prayed for peace in Pakistan and for girls' education, and I was surprised to find myself in tears." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • You Have Given Me A New Life

    "I opened my eyes and the first thing I saw was that I was in a hospital and I could see nurses and doctors," she says. "I thanked God - 'O Allah, I thank you because you have given me a new life and I am alive.'" <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24379018" target="_blank">Read more from the BBC</a>

  • The Extremists Are Afraid Of Education

    "The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them." <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-full-text-malala-yousafzai-delivers-defiant-riposte-to-taliban-militants-with-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-8706606.html" target="_blank">-Speech to the UN General Assembly</a>

  • God Wants Us To Have Knowledge

    "Today we all know education is our basic right. Not just in the West; Islam too has given us this right. Islam says every girl and every boy should go to school. In the Quran it is written, God wants us to have knowledge. He wants us to know why the sky is blue and about oceans and stars." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Education For The Taliban

    "I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child. I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists especially the Taliban." <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-full-text-malala-yousafzai-delivers-defiant-riposte-to-taliban-militants-with-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-8706606.html" target="_blank">-Speech to the UN General Assembly</a>

  • A Talib Doesn't Know What Is Written Inside This Book

    "I remember that there was a boy in our school who was asked by a journalist, “Why are the Taliban against education?” He answered very simply. By pointing to his book he said, 'A Talib doesn't know what is written inside this book.'" <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-full-text-malala-yousafzai-delivers-defiant-riposte-to-taliban-militants-with-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-8706606.html" target="_blank">-Speech to the UN General Assembly</a>

  • God Was With Me

    "I think death didn't want to kill me. And God was with me," Yousafzai said. "You must go forward, because education and peace is very important. " <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/07/malala-yousafzai-diane-sawyer_n_4058656.html" target="_blank">Read more here</a>

  • Temples And Mosques Together

    "My father wrote a poem, 'The Relics of Butkara,' which summed up perfectly how temple and mosque could exist side by side: 'When the voice of truth rises from the minarets, / The Buddha smiles, / And the broken chain of history reconnects.'" <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Halal Food

    "They were worried I wasn't eating. But I didn't like the hospital food and I was worried it was not halal." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • I Say Sorry To God

    When Malala was about seven years old, she stole a few trinkets from a younger girl in the neighborhood who had taken something of hers earlier. She felt horribly regretful and guilty when her parents caught her, and since then has never lied or stolen anything. "But I still feel guilty, and to this day I say sorry to God in my prayers." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • Paradise On Earth

    "I believe in two paradises. One I'll get after death, but the other one, that is on Earth, for me that is Swat. Because Swat is really beautiful. And you will be astonished when you see the lush green hills and when you see the tall mountains..." <a href="http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-october-8-2013/exclusive---malala-yousafzai-extended-interview-pt--2" target="_blank">-The Daily Show Interview With Jon Stewart</a>

  • Praising The Prophet

    During a speaking competition on Parent's Day, the girls in the school were expected to speak into a microphone in a private room. "But I was used to speaking in public, so I came out and in front of all the boys I recited one naat, a poem in which I praised the Prophet." <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/0316322407" target="_blank">-From her biography, "I Am Malala"</a>

  • I Do Not Hate

    "I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me. I would not shoot him." <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-full-text-malala-yousafzai-delivers-defiant-riposte-to-taliban-militants-with-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-8706606.html" target="_blank">-Speech to the UN General Assembly</a>

During her speech to the UN, she said "Islam says that it is not only each child's right to get education, rather it is their duty and responsibility."

Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told AFP last week, "We attacked Malala because she was used to speak against Taliban and Islam and not because she was going to school," showing that for them, the idea of Islamic reform is more threatening than education for girls.

It's been just over one year since the Taliban's bullet hit her point blank in the skull, but rather than silencing her voice, the attempted murder only served to amplify her message of equality, opportunity, and moderate Islam.

She's since addressed the UN General Assembly, received the Children's Peace Prize, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament, appeared on the Daily Show, and is currently in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize, which will be announced on Friday. Her foundation, the Malala Fund, works to make the education of girls in developing countries a global priority. "I Am Malala," her recently published book, is a bold, frankly told account of the problems faced by Pakistan as well as the rest of the world when it comes to the radical brand of Islam pushed forward by the Taliban.

Named after Afghanistan's own version of Joan of Arc, Malalai of Maiwand, there is a prophetic quality to Malala's deeply held convictions that sits alongside her youthful innocence. Malalai is a Pashtun heroine who inspired an entire battlefield to turn a losing battle into one of the worst defeats in the history of the British army, giving her life for her country.

Malala is an inspiration to girls all over the world, particularly young Muslim women who see her as an example of what it means to be a strong, outspoken advocate while still holding fast to the Islamic faith. Islam doesn't have to be a religion of seclusion or oppression, and Malala is a bold manifestation of that truth.

Zabe Shafi, a 20-year-old senior at the University of Arizona, admires Malala for her ability to show the world that Muslim women can be strong, capable leaders in their own right. She told the Huffington Post, "Malala is a representation of the modern Muslim woman, whether that be the girls living in Swat Valley or women like me in the US." Shafi applauds Malala for her resistance to the Taliban and commitment to women's rights through education.

Though the Taliban would have the world believe that Islam mandates the oppression and seclusion of women, Malala's Islam is different. She believes that her religion values education for all, declaring in a speech to open a library that "There is no better way to explain the importance of books than to say that even God chose the medium of a book to send His message to His people."