Textbooks featuring Malala Yousafzai

Textbooks featuring Malala Yousafzai have been removed from Pakistani bookstores.

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistani police officials visited bookstores this week and confiscated copies of a primary school social studies textbook, which included a photo of Malala Yousafzai, a prominent voice in Pakistan. Ms. Yousafzai, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, was featured alongside Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in a chapter dedicated to national heroes.

Malala Yousafzai, the world’s youngest Nobel prize winner, has been honoured for her advocacy despite being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as a teenager in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. It has been well received across the world.

“I Am Malala,” her autobiography co-written with experienced British foreign reporter Christina Lamb, became a worldwide best book. He was given the Nobel Peace Prize the following year, in 2014.

However, she is the topic of heated discussion in her own nation. “Malala has come to embody everything people believe they despise about the West for many in Pakistan,” said Nida Kirmani, a sociology professor at Pakistan’s Lahore University of Management Sciences. “She is a symbol of women’s rights and opposition to Islamist forces for others,” she said. “She has become a controversial figure as a result of these factors.”

After the B.B.C. website published an article on Ms. Yousafzai’s experiences under Taliban rule, Taliban militants attempted to kill her on a bus returning from school in 2012. She relocated to the United Kingdom and received her bachelor’s degree from Oxford University last year. Ms. Yousafzai, contemplating where her young life may lead, questioned the need for marriage in an interview with British Vogue magazine, causing a reaction in Pakistan. According to the report, she stated, “I still don’t see why people have to get married.” “Why do you have to sign marriage documents if you want someone in your life? Why can’t it just be a contract?”

A lot of Pakistanis were outraged when she tweeted in May that “violence in Jerusalem — especially targeting children — is intolerable.” She did not name the Palestinians or condemn Israel. To confiscate paperbacks, police and officials from the Punjab Education and Textbook Board, a provincial organisation, began raiding businesses around the city. The Board refused to reveal how many businesses were raided or how many books were seized.

“Parents do not want their children to follow Malala’s footsteps, even if she continues to receive awards,” the union’s president, Kashif Mirza, said. “Malala has gotten into the habit of the West, and she’s already working on a Western anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam agenda.”

Punjab’s education and textbook board banned a hundred school books in a single day last year due to content that they deemed “anti-Pakistan” and “blasphemous.” A children’s math textbook that included images of pigs to demonstrate an arithmetic problem was among those banned. Pork is forbidden by Islam. “If you can’t think of Benazir Bhutto and Malala Yousafzai as heroes, then only God can assist you,” she added, referring to the former prime minister, who was assassinated in Rawalpindi in 2007. “Malala confronted radicals and received a gunshot in the process.”

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