A network of private schools in Pakistan has announced an anti-Malala day, condemning young Nobel peace laureate for what it called her support for controversial novelist Salman Rushdie.
“We are all for education and women’s empowerment,” Mirza Kashif Ali, the organization’s president, told New York Time on Tuesday, November 11.
“But the West has created this persona who is against the Constitution and Islamic ideology of Pakistan.”
The protest day was announced on Monday, November 10, by the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, which claims to represent 150,000 schools across Pakistan.
Held under the banner “I am Not Malala”, the day is not the first protest against the young Nobel laureate.
Last year, All Pakistan Private Schools Federation last year barred its members from buying Malala Yusufzai’s memoir “I am Malala” because of what the group said was its “anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam content.”
It said the book, written with British journalist Christina Lamb, was too sympathetic to British novelist Salman Rushdie.
Rushdie is a controversial writer who authored a blasphemous fiction, “Satanic Verses” in 1988.
He was forced into hiding for two decade after Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 for killing him for blaspheming Islam in his book.
Rushdie was honored by Britain with “Knighthood” title, sparking anger in several Muslim countries.
“It is clear that Malala has a nexus with Salman Rushdie and is aligned with his club,” Ali said.
According to the Times, the book notes only that Malala’s father saw “The Satanic Verses” as “offensive to Islam,” and that he said that Muslims should first read the novel, then respond.
“Is Islam such a weak religion that it cannot tolerate a book written against it? Not my Islam!” the book quotes her father as saying.
Malala, now 17, rose to fame in 2009 for her anti-Taliban blog billed as “Gul Makai (cornflower) for the BBC against Taliban when she was merely 11.
However, many believe that her diaries were written by her father, Ziauddin an owner and principal of the school where Malala would study, in collaboration with the then BBC Urdu Service Bureau Chief.
Malal’s autobiography “I am Malala” earned fame worldwide, however was struck in controversy in Malala’s homeland with many dubbing her as a tool being exploited by the West to malign Islam and Pakistan under the guise of Taliban.
In August 2013, Malala won the International Children’s Peace Prize for her dedication to promoting education. ONISLAM