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Pakistan schools ban Malala's book

| Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, 9:51 p.m.

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani education officials said on Sunday that they have banned teenage activist Malala Yousafzai's book from private schools, claiming it doesn't show enough respect for Islam and calling her a tool of the West.

Malala attracted global attention last year when the Taliban shot her in the head in northwest Pakistan for criticizing the group's interpretation of Islam, which limits girls' access to education. Her profile has risen, and she released a memoir in October, “I Am Malala,” co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb.

While Malala has become a hero to many across the world, conspiracy theories have flourished in Pakistan that her shooting was staged to make a hero for the West.

Adeeb Javedani, president of the All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association, said his group banned the book from the libraries of its 40,000 affiliated schools and called on the government to bar it from schools. “Everything about Malala is now becoming clear,” Javedani said. “To me, she is representing the West, not us.”

Kashif Mirza, the chairman of the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, said his group has banned Malala's book in its schools.

Malala “was a role model for children, but this book has made her controversial,” Mirza said. “Through this book, she became a tool in the hands of the Western powers.” He said the book did not show enough respect for Islam because it mentioned Prophet Muhammad's name without using the abbreviation PUH — “peace be upon him” — as is customary. He said it spoke favorably of author Salman Rushdie, who angered many Muslims with his book “The Satanic Verses,” and Ahmadis, members of a minority sect who have been declared non-Muslims.

Malala wrote that her father thinks “The Satanic Verses” is “offensive to Islam” but believes in freedom of speech. “First, let's read the book and then why not respond with our own book,” the book quoted her father as saying.

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