MOV Interfaith to screen ‘Malala’ documentary

MARIETTA — The story of Malala Yousafzai is one that most of the world has heard.

In 2009, the young Pakistani girl was shot by Taliban militants for her pursuit of education but miraculously survived. She is now an international advocate for the right to education for all people, especially women.

Malala won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize and is the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate.

A documentary detailing Malala’s life and struggles will be shown as part of World Interfaith Harmony Week. Marietta College will host “He Named Me Malala” today at 7 p.m. at the Anderson Hancock Planetarium. Glendale Retirement Community will show the film on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Mid-Ohio Valley Interfaith is a local group that was instrumental in bringing the Interfaith Amigos to Marietta in November. The mission of the group continues to be sustaining the impact and the lessons learned from Imam Jamal Rahman, Pastor Don Mackenzie and Rabbi Ted Falcon.

“We wanted to keep the momentum growing from that visit and, in preparation for their visit, we put together a list of books and films that would be of interest. I thought ‘He Named Me Malala’ would be a good film because it highlights this young Muslim woman as a person of great courage,” said M.J. Ebenhack, who holds degrees in ministry and Christian education from the School of Theology, Claremont and Princeton Theological Seminary.

The MOV Interfaith group meets monthly to plan and discuss ways to spread the message of the Interfaith Amigos. Upcoming events include a bus trip to the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, and the Festival of Faiths in Kentucky.

World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, 2010 by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan. Less than a month later, on Oct. 20, 2010, it was unanimously adopted by the UN and henceforth the first week of February has been observed as World Interfaith Harmony Week.

“We wanted to participate in World Interfaith Harmony Week and I think showing this film is really important to be able to see Muslim people in a positive light,” Ebenhack said. “She’s an amazing example and I think, because she holds no animosity toward those who hurt her, she’s a great model for Americans.”

The film will be followed by a guided discussion on the importance of education, especially for girls, and how people of all faiths can support education for all.

Martha McGovern, a retired educator from Williamstown, will lead one of the discussions after the film. She read the book the film is based on, “I Am Malala,” but has not yet seen the documentary.

“I hope that people will be receptive and will want to be engaged,” she said.

Some of the questions she hopes to bring up to facilitate conversation include: what images or scenes from the film have stayed with you and why were they so impactful? What are the overlaps and the conflicts between the religion of Islam and the Taliban? What does the film reveal about how Pakistanis view America?

The program is free and open to the public.