Taliban says it would again target Malala Yousafzai, who pushed girls' education

CNN
Monday, October 7, 2013 - 9:35am

The Pakistani Taliban would again target 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, an advocate of education for girls who survived an assassination attempt last year, a spokesman for the militant group told CNN on Monday.

Spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said the teenager was targeted because she was used in propaganda against the Taliban.

The Taliban would target her again if given the chance, he said, just as it would target anyone who opposes the group.

He denied she was targeted for promoting education for girls.

Malala was 15 when gunmen jumped onto her school bus in Pakistan's Swat Valley on October 9, 2012, and shot her in the head. She survived and underwent brain surgery in Britain.

She recovered and addressed the United Nations in New York on her 16th birthday, July 12.

"They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed," she said. "And then, out of that silence, came thousands of voices."

The Taliban's actions sparked large protests in Pakistan and condemnation worldwide.

In a BBC interview published Monday, she said the Taliban are "misusing the name of Islam."

"Killing people, torturing people and flogging people ... it's totally against Islam," she said.

The Taliban banned girls from schools in the Swat Valley in 2009. Malala anonymously blogged for the BBC in opposition to that order and became an open advocate to girls' education, telling CNN in 2011, "I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up."

This year, the Malala Fund has been created to support education for girls around the world.

Malala's name has been mentioned in speculation about the Nobel Peace Prize, due to be announced Friday. Her memoir, "I am Malala," will be published Tuesday. And On October 18, she is expected attend a "Youth, Education and the Commonwealth" reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

In the BBC interview, she said she wants to return to Pakistan someday and continue her fight.

"I will be a politician in my future," the told the BBC. "I want to change the future of my country and I want to make education compulsory."

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