Key Note Speaker: Sara Ezabe Malliue
“Don’t let religion or race keep us apart” …Multiculturalism is the way forward!
Those were the words of Sara Ezabe Mallieu a young human rights activist seeking to promote not only women’s rights but an extension of that social inclusion.
The founder of redefiningus, a social media anti-discrimination campaign, moved the audience by her bold stance to promote a woman’s right to live free from discrimination and be respected and accepted regardless of ethnicity or religion. As a student at the University of Malta she recounted the discrimination that she experienced as a Muslim and the fact the she was identified as a terrorist because she wore a hijab. Sara boldly remarked that social inclusion is related to your right to be recognized equally in society and be accepted as you are.
She sought to inform delegates that as a Muslim she does not identify with Muslim terrorists and will not take responsibility for it. Equally she implored Muslims to take a public stance against terrorism to help people understand that Muslims are not terrorists and should be treated with dignity. The wearing of her hijab was a representation of her faith and it must be seen as a priority that persons are not seen as inferior because of their religion or race.
Sara explained that people discriminate because they don’t understand who they are and where they come from. She poignantly showed a video from let’s open our world.com which depicted that your ethnic identity is linked to your DNA makeup and as such it amazingly demonstrated that we are far more connected than we think!
She called upon politicians to promote dialogue and discussion on race and religion to help persons to open up and understand each other to prevent further discrimination. Sara’s message was we must embrace multiculturalism as the way forward in order to engineer our future.
Being a young female Muslim was to her three identities in which she faced discrimination and challenges. However, Sara doesn’t feel oppressed because she wears a hijab. She pointed out to delegates that women identify themselves thorough their clothing and whether you are wearing a burkini or a bikini it does not reduce your femininity. Instead, she proudly remarked, reciting the words of Angelina Jolie, that she has made a strong choice in the western world to wear a hijab as it doesn’t separate her from from other females or diminish her femininity. In her own words “it is who I am .. It is my identity…I feel like an empowered female”.
About Sara Ezabe Malliue
Sara Ezabe Malliue was born in 1996 and is an advocate for social inclusion. She is a law student at the University of Malta, who has faced discrimination because of her faith. This year she launched the social media anti-discrimination campaign #RedefiningUS to raise awareness about hate speech and the need to support people who feel discriminated against. Sara is a recipient of the Queens Young Leader award in 2016.
Sara took part in the Queen’s 90th birthday service at Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day, and gave her powerful presentation in the presence of The Queen, members of the Royal Family, the former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Anan, the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr. Joseph Muscat and other world leaders. Quite an achievement for a 19 year old young woman, Sara is an inspiration; let us hope that she is a future Soroptimist!!