Pakistani Private Schools Ban Memoir by Malala

    20 November, 2013


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

    Private schools in Pakistan have banned a book written by Malala Yousafzai from school libraries. The school's officials say parts of the book dishonour Islam, and they accuse the young education activist of acting as what they call a "propaganda tool of the West" to insult her country of birth.

    Malala Yousafzai shared her memories in the book "I Am Malala". "I Am Malala" is one of the best selling books in the world. But some groups in Pakistan have criticized it. Private schools in the country have decided to prevent their students from reading it.

    Adeeb Javedani is president of the All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association, the group represents more than 40,000 institutions across the country. He defends the decision to ban the book.

    Mr Javedani says it is unimaginable that a girl of Malala's age could write parts of the book. For example, he says she wrote that Ahmadis, a religious minority, have been declared infidels - unbelievers in Pakistan.

    Mr Javedani says these is no such movement taking place. The Ahmadi community was declared non-Muslims in the early 1970s. The book notes that Ahmadis say they are Muslims, but Pakistani laws prevent them from publicly stating that.

    Mr Javedani says someone representing Europe, a common term for the west, had written the book under the name of Malala Yousafzai. He also says Pakistani education officials have told his group that they do not plan to use the book in government and private schools.

    Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy works at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad. He and other rights activists defend Malala. They say pro-Taliban elements within the society are purposely misrepresenting the book.

    "She does not in her book say that Ahmadis are Muslims. 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," said Hoodboy. "

    The Professor also says that Malala is being wrongly accused of defending British writer Salman Rushdie, his book "The Satanic Verses" made many Muslims angry.

    Professor Hoodbhoy says the fact that Salman Rushdie is an unwelcome man in Pakistan shows the extreme lack of tolerance that has come to characterize Pakistani culture.

    Malala campaigned against Taliban attempts to blow up schools for girls in 2009 in the Swat district which she was born. A military offensive later chased the Islamists from the district.

    And that's the VOA Learning English Education Report. I'm June Simms.