Pakistani private schools have been barred from buying a book written by global education icon Malala Yousafzai due to its “anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam content”, a top official said Sunday.
“Yes we have banned Malala’s book (‘I am Malala’) because it carries the content which is against our country’s ideology and Islamic values,” Kashif Mirza, chief of All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, told AFP.
“We are not against Malala. She is our daughter and she is herself confused about her book and her father has asked the publisher to remove the paragraphs about Salman Rushdie and write Peace Be Upon Him after the name of our Holy Prophet (Mohammad),” Mirza said.
British novelist Rushdie became the target of an Iranian fatwa, or religious edict, calling for his murder for allegedly blaspheming Islam and the Prophet Mohammed in his book “The Satanic Verses”.
Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan also, where it carries the death penalty.
Mirza said that that some 152,000 private schools across Pakistan stood in solidarity with Malala after she was shot by the Taliban in northwestern Swat valley last year, but the views she had expressed in her autobiography were not “acceptable”.
“No school will buy ‘I am Malala’ for its library or any other co-curricular activity on the campus,” Mirza said.
He denied any threat or pressure by any militant group on his federation to ban the book. Taliban militants had threatened to attack Pakistani book shops selling Malala’s book.
Co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban” tells of the 16-year-old’s terror as two gunmen boarded her school bus on October 9, 2012 and shot her in the head.
The book describes Malala’s life under the Taliban’s brutal rule in northwest Pakistan’s Swat valley in the mid-2000s, hints at her ambition to enter Pakistani politics, and even describes her father’s brief flirtation with Islamic fundamentalism as a youngster.
The book describes public floggings by the Taliban, their ban on television, dancing and music, and the family’s decision to flee Swat along with nearly one million others in 2009 amid heavy fighting between the militants and Pakistani troops.
Yousafzai last month hit back at claims that she has become a figure of the West, insisting she was proud to be a Pakistani.