Afghan Biographies

Joya, Malalay Mrs.

Name Joya, Malalay Mrs.
Ethnic backgr. Hazara
Date of birth 1978
Function/Grade Ex MP MNA
History and Biodata

2. Previous Functions:
Wolesi Jirga Member 2005 MP MNA Farah

3. Biodata:
joya_malalaiMalalai Joya was born 25. April 1978 in Farah Province. She is the daughter of a student who studied medicines and had lost a foot during the war in Afghanistan. In 1983 her family went into exile in Iran and later in Pakistan. She completed school in Pakistan. With 19 years she taught afghan women to read and write. After the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan 1988 she returned to her motherland. In September 2005, she became the youngest female member of the Wolesi Jirga, when she received the second highest number of votes in Farah province. On May 21, 2007, fellow members of the Wolesi Jirga voted to suspend Malalai Joya for three years from the legislature, citing that she had broken Article 70 of the Parliament, which had banned Wolesi Jirga members from openly criticizing each other. Joya had compared the Wolesi Jirga to a "stable or zoo" on a recent TV interview, and later called other members of parliament "criminals" and "drug smugglers. Joya was suspended from the parliament on the grounds that she had insulted fellow representatives in a television interview. Her suspension, which is currently being appealed, has generated protest internationally and appeals for her reinstatement have been signed. Joya has more recently drawn harsh criticism from some female parliamentary members who contend that her remarks pertaining to the Mujahideen, who battled the Soviets, are unwarranted and disingenuous. However, Joya's supporters contend that Joya distinguishes between the "real Mujahideen," who fought for the independence of Afghanistan, and the warlords and those who committed war crimes.

Nevertheless, Joya's distinction remains unclear as some local warlords fought for Afghanistan's independence during the anti-Soviet War. However, there are many Afghans that are very critical of Joya. She is seen as politically unsophisticated. Some wonder if her attacks on various former Mujahideen members are ethnically motivated. She has even angered many by accusing Afghan officials of using Islamic law as a tool to limit the rights of women in Afghanistan. Pashtun Mrs. Joya competes against non-Pashtun women right activists like Sima Sama who is placed in charge of women’s affairs in Afghanistan.

She is from the minority Hazara ethnic group She survived five assassination attempts.

The second deputy speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of parliament, Amanullah Paiman said 20101011, Sona Nilofar from Uruzgan province, obtained Australian citizenship, while Malalay Joya from Farah and Fahima Ahmadzai, representing Kuchi tribe received Canadian citizenships and Parveen Mohmand, another lawmaker of Kuchi tribe, German citizenship. Malalai Joya is married and has no children.

The American Embassy in Kabul denied her a visa for a Book Tour for her book "Women among Warlords". (20110318). She was told she was denied entry because she was unemployed and lives underground. After intervention from the State Department a few days later she finally got the visa.

Malalai Joya, a vocal critic of both the Taliban and of criminality in the Afghan government, said gunmen attacked her office in a western province overnight in an apparent assassination attempt. The attack on her office in Farah province was the sixth attempt on her life to date. Armed men tried to storm the compound late in the night on 20120310, she said. The attackers did not get into the building but two of her guards were seriously injured and are currently in the hospital. Joya said she was in Kabul at the time but had planned a trip to Farah soon and news of that may have leaked out. She said she believes the attackers thought she was in the building.

Last Modified 2012-03-11
Established 2009-10-12