News / Asia

Pakistan's Private Schools Ban Malala's Memoir

Malala Yousafzai gives a copy of her book "I am Malala", to Britain's Queen Elizabeth during a Reception for youth, education and the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace in London October 18, 2013.Malala Yousafzai gives a copy of her book "I am Malala", to Britain's Queen Elizabeth during a Reception for youth, education and the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace in London October 18, 2013.
x
Malala Yousafzai gives a copy of her book "I am Malala", to Britain's Queen Elizabeth during a Reception for youth, education and the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace in London October 18, 2013.
Malala Yousafzai gives a copy of her book "I am Malala", to Britain's Queen Elizabeth during a Reception for youth, education and the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace in London October 18, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Managers of privately run schools in Pakistan have banned Malala Yousafzai’s book from their libraries, alleging that parts of it disrespect Islam and that its teenage Pakistani author has acted as a “propaganda tool of the West” to defame her native country.
 
Yousafzai’s memoir “I Am Malala” was released in October and is co-written by a British journalist (Christina Lamb).
 
The book remains among the best sellers internationally, but it has come under fire from right-wing groups in Pakistan, where private schools have decided to disallow it from being read by their students.   
 
Adeeb Javedani is president of All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association, which represents more than 40,000 elite institutions across the country. He defended the decision to ban Malala’s book.  
 
Javedani insisted it is beyond anyone’s comprehension that a young girl of Malala’s age can write things like Ahmadis are being declared infidels in Pakistan, whereas no such movement is under way. Javedani believes that Malala herself "has not written this book and someone representing Europe (general reference to the West) has done so under Malala’s name."

He says Pakistani education authorities have assured his organization they do not plan to include Malala's memoir in the textbooks being taught at government and private schools.

Under pressure from Islamic parties, the minority Ahmadi community was declared non-Muslims in the early 1970s. Malala in her book has highlighted the fact that Ahmadis say they are Muslims, but the laws of the land do not allow them to say it openly.

Javedani and others point out that Malala has mentioned the Prophet Muhammad’s name without the abbreviation PUH, or “peace be upon him,” which is considered mandatory in Muslim nations.  

But rights activists, like Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy of Islamabad’s prestigious Quaid-e-Azam University, say that pro-Taliban elements within the society are deliberately distorting facts to punish Malala for advocating her right to education.
 
“She does not in her book say that Ahmadis are Muslims," said Hoodboy. "She simply says that these are people who are being persecuted, and that is a fact of life. Nobody can dispute that Ahmadis today are the most persecuted of minorities, all of which are persecuted in Pakistan today.”
 
Hoodbhoy also insisted that Malala is being wrongly accused of defending British author Salman Rushdie, who angered many Muslims with his book "The Satanic Verses.”
 
“The fact that Salman Rushdie has been banned and excoriated in Pakistan is an indication of the kind of extreme intolerance that has come to characterize Pakistani culture," said Hoodboy.
 
Malala campaigned against Taliban attempts to blow up schools and ban female education in her native Swat district in 2009, until a military offensive flushed the Islamists out of the northwestern region. She attracted international attention late last year when militants tried to assassinate her while she was coming back from school.
 
Malala was airlifted to Britain with the help of Pakistani authorities for medical treatment and she is now living there with her family.

Professor Hoodboy says the conspiracy theories surrounding Malala’s episode are a worrying indication of the fact that the influence of the Taliban and the people who think like the Taliban has significantly grown in Pakistan.    
 
“This is a young girl who ought to be a heroine for people across the board in Pakistan, and yet there is only a minority which supports her," said Hoodboy. "On the other hand a mass murderer, a killer of Pakistanis like Hakimullah Mehsud, has been given the degree of being a martyr."  
 
Mehsud was the chief of the Pakistani Taliban and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Pakistanis. Last week an American drone strike against his hideout in the North Waziristan tribal region killed him. The Taliban has appointed as its new leader Mullah Fazlullah, who masterminded the attack on Malala.

You May Like

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

NYC mayor says, 'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' yet blizzard warnings, travel bans remain for several East Coast states More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid