Book deemed ‘anti-Pakistan’ and ‘anti-Islam.’
Private schools in Pakistan have been discouraged from buying I Am Malala, the recently-released autobiography of the Pakistani education activist, due to its alleged “anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam content,” a top official said Sunday.
“Yes we have banned Malala’s book because it carries content which is against our country’s ideology and Islamic values,” said Kashif Mirza, chief of the All-Pakistan Private Schools Federation. “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 Islam’s Prophet.”
British novelist Rushdie became the target of an Iranian fatwa calling for his murder for allegedly blaspheming against Islam’s Prophet in his book The Satanic Verses. Malala’s book contains passages praising Rushdie’s writing in general.
Mirza said that some 152,000 private schools across Pakistan stood in solidarity with Malala after she was shot by the Taliban in Swat last year, but the views she had expressed in her autobiography were not “acceptable.” He says: “No school will buy I Am Malala for its library or any other co-curricular activity on campus,” Mirza said. He denied any threat or pressure by any militant group on his federation to ban the book. Taliban militants had earlier threatened to attack Pakistani bookshops 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 the story of the 16-year-old’s terror as two gunmen boarded her school bus on Oct. 9, 2012, and shot her in the head.
The book describes Malala’s life under Taliban rule in Swat, hints at her ambition to enter Pakistani politics, and even describes her father’s brief, youthful flirtation with Islamic fundamentalism. 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 a million others in 2009 amid heavy fighting between the militants and Pakistani troops.