Pakistani private school’s banned Malala Yousafzai’s new book, I Am Malala. Officials claimed the book doesn’t show enough respect for Islam and called her a tool of the West.
The teenage activist captured the world’s attention last year when she survived an assassination by the Pakistani Taliban. Malala was a target because she criticizes the group’s interpretation of Islam, which limits girls’ access to education.
Since then, USA Today notes that her profile has risen dramatically, and she released her memoir in October, I Am Malala, which was co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb.
While the teen is considered a hero to many for opposing the Taliban and standing up for women’s rights and education, conspiracy theories in her home country say her shooting was staged to help her become a hero for the West to embrace.
Adeeb Javedani, president of the All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association, explained that his group banned Malala Yousafzai’s book in all 40,000 affiliated schools and called on the government to ban it from curriculums as well. The Guardian reports that Javedani commented, “Everything about Malala is now becoming clear. To me, she is representing the West, not us.”
Kashif Mirza, the chairman of the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, added that the group banned Malala’s book as well. He added that the teen activist “was a role model for children, but this book has made her controversial. Mirza explained, “Through this book, she became a tool in the hands of the Western powers.”
Conspiracies surrounding Malala Yousafzai reflect the influence of conservative Islamists, who are sympathetic to the Taliban. Millions of children attend private schools in the country, because of the poor state of the public system. When the Taliban took over Swat Valley, where Malala is from, they blew up schools and discouraged girls from getting an education. While the army pushed many militants out of Swat in 2009, periodic attacks still happened.
The news of Malala’s book being banned in Pakistani schools comes as the mastermind of the assassination attempt on her was elected as the new head of the Pakistani Taliban.