Nobel Peace Prize winner and female rights’ activist, Malala Yousafzai has become an honourary Canadian citizen.
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presented Yousafzai with a certificate documenting her as a citizen of Canada, making her the sixth and youngest ever person to receive the honour.
In accepting her citizenship, Yousafzai commended the Prime Minister and his government on their efforts in accepting refugees, and for committing to a gender-balanced cabinet.
Yousafzai’s parents were in attendance, and her mother Tor Pekai, was moved to tears as her daughter described living in fear while attending school in Pakistan. Yousafzai’s story is now world-renowned, after she was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education. The Prime Minister recalled how the world prayed for Yousafzai’s recovery, as she became the face of women and girls’ education around the world, “We were reminded that a bullet is no match for an idea,” Prime Minister Trudeau said.
Yousafzai also took the opportunity to condemn the 2014 attacks in Ottawa on Parliament Hill, killing a Canadian solider and wounding many others. The attacker later claimed to be affiliated with the Islamic State, however Yousafzai denounced his terrorist act, “The man who attacked Parliament Hill called himself a Muslim- but he did not share my faith,” said an impassioned Yousafzai. “I am a Muslim and I believe that when you pick up a gun in the name of Islam and kill innocent people, you are not a Muslim any more.”
Yousafzai called on world leaders to continue to work together to improve the plight of refugees and commit to girls’ education. ‘Dear sisters and brothers, we have a responsibility to improve our world,” she said. “Let future generations say we were the ones who stood up. Let them say we were the first to live in a world where all girls can learn and lead without fear.”