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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid