Controversy and Madonna often go hand in hand. And when the material mom brought her "MDNA Tour" to Los Angeles Wednesday night, it was business as usual.
"This made me cry," Madonna said to the 18,000 fans in attendance, "The 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot on a school bus for writing a blog ... who wrote a blog about how important education was to her. The Taliban stopped her bus and shot her ... Do you understand the sickness and absurdity of this?"
The multi-hyphenate entertainer was talking about Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old who was shot by the Taliban on her way home from school in Mingora, Pakistan, this week. Yousafzai drew the ire of the Taliban for defending her right to an education. The outspoken teen had carried out her campaign since the age of 11 through an online diary she wrote for the BBC.
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"Support education! Support the people who support women!" Madonna went on to shout to the appreciative crowd Wednesday.
To emphasize her point later in the show, the "Vogue" superstar stripped to her bra and rolled down her trousers to reveal the word "Malala" scrawled across the small of her back.
"This song is for Malala," she said, before launching into a performance of her hit song, "Human Nature."
News of the display drew disapproval from Pakistan, where some took to Twitter to have their say: "Get it Right: Associating #Madonna with #Malala IS DISRESPECT TO #Malala!!! Plz. Give #Malala a rest!" wrote @OHPakistan to NBC News' Amna Nawaz on Friday.
Others closer to home tweeted their support for her actions. "Maybe was not perfect by #MADONNA to paint #Malala name on back in concert But she is VERY powerful influencer idol Gives boost to topic," wrote @mabogsi.
Yousafzai is not the only subject Madonna has drawn attention to during her tour. While onstage in Moscow she made an impassioned plea for the release of jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot.
The act of violence against her has turned Yousafzai into an international icon for girls' rights, an icon simply referred to as "Malala" on social networking platforms and on activist placards in Pakistan.
According to the Atlantic, some of those concerned activists have forwarded media reports saying that Yousafzai was transferred to a hospital in Rawalpindi after surgeons removed a bullet that passed through her head and lodged in her shoulder. Relatives of the girl said she appeared to be doing well after the three-hour operation, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.