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Malala Yousafzai, Nobel laureate and girls' education champion, gets married

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai poses for photo session during the G7 Development and Education Ministers Meeting, in Paris in 2019.
Christophe Petit Tesson
AFP via Getty Images
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai poses for photo session during the G7 Development and Education Ministers Meeting, in Paris in 2019.

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history, announced on Tuesday that she was married in a small ceremony at her parents' home in England.

"Today marks a precious day in my life," she announced on social media, next to what appears to be a wedding photo with husband Asser Malik.

"Asser 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," Yousafzai wrote.

Yousafzai is 24 and is known around the world simply as Malala. She is a global advocate for girls' rights and education who has sat with presidents and prime ministers to push for change.

She became a target of the Taliban as an 11-year-old living in the city of Mingora in Pakistan's Swat Valley for her refusal to obey orders banning girls from school. At age 15 she survived an attempted assassination by a Taliban gunman who shot her in the head and two other friends on a school bus. That same year she also launched the Malala Fund, a global girls' education charity. At 16, she delivered a speech at the United Nations on the need for gender equality. Then at 17, after writing a memoir about her life and experiences and becoming an international best-selling author, she became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

In June of last year, she graduated with honors from the University of Oxford with a degree Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

Yousafzai's marriage to Malik, came as a surprise to many especially after her recent remarks contemplating the relevance of the institution, which set off a fresh round of hateful messages directed at her.

"I still don't understand why people have to get married," she told Vogue, saying she wasn't sure she'd ever take the step herself.

"If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can't it just be a partnership?" she added.

Apparently, her mother disagreed, saying, "Don't you dare say anything like that! You have to get married, marriage is beautiful."

Looks like she won the argument.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.