Teenage Pakistani activist pleads for release of girls during Nigeria visit
ABUJA, Nigeria — The Pakistani teen who survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012 marked her 17th birthday on Monday with a visit to Nigeria and urged Islamic extremists to free the 219 schoolgirls who were kidnapped there, calling them her “sisters.”
Malala Yousafzai, who has become an international symbol for women's rights in the face of hard-line Islam, said Nigeria's president promised to meet for the first time with the abducted girls' parents.
“My birthday wish this year is ‘Bring Back Our Girls' now and alive,” she said, using the social media slogan that has been picked up around the world to demand freedom for the girls, who were abducted by the extremist group Boko Haram in April from a school in the remote northeast Nigerian town of Chibok.
Malala appealed to their captors as she held hands with some of the girls who escaped.
“Lay down your weapons. Release your sisters. Release my sisters. Release the daughters of this nation. Let them be free. They have committed no crime.”
She added: “You are misusing the name of Islam ... Islam is a religion of peace.”
Malala spoke against the custom of child brides in her home country, a tradition common in Nigeria. Boko Haram has threatened to sell some of the girls as brides if its fighters are not freed.
Boko Haram attacks continued over the weekend with witnesses blaming the group for the bombing of a major bridge on a northeast Nigerian highway that further limits access to its base camps in the Sambisa Forest, where it is believed to be holding some of the girls.
Malala met with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan and told reporters that the president “promised me that the girls will be returned as soon as possible.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 18 accused spies executed by Gaza terrorists
- Interpol probes Thailand’s ‘Baby Factory’
- Ebola spreads in Nigeria; Liberian treatment centers inundated
- Gaza militants kill 18 alleged spies for Israel
- Ukraine: Russian aid convoy is a ‘direct invasion’
- Dozens killed in shelling of convoy, Ukraine says; U.S. unsure who’s responsible
- Afghanistan’s bid for transition tenuous
- Chinese cultists on trial in eatery murder
- Pentagon expects ISIS will regroup
- Social media being used to help catch British terrorist who killed Foley
- Israeli airstrikes kill 3 Hamas leaders in Gaza