‘I am Malala’ banned in private schools

Malala's autobiography


Malala Yousufzai’s recent book ‘I am Malala’ will be banned completely due to its ‘controversial’ contents in all private schools across the country, Pakistan Today has learnt.

The decision was announced by All Pakistan Private Schools Federation President Mirza Kashif on Wednesday who said children were idealising Malala and reading her book will leave them in a ‘confused’ state of mind.

“Our academics have thoroughly studied her (Malala’s) book and have concluded that reading that book will only confuse our children. Malala’s defence of Salmaan Rushdie in the name of freedom of expression, not writing Peace Be Upon Him after the name of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and criticising the Quranic injunctions about the status of women in testifying as witnesses are only a few things which will challenge the ideological foundations of our next generation,” Kashif said while talking to Pakistan Today.

Interestingly, the private schools owners have taken the decision on their own while the government has nothing to do with the decision.

“It (the book) is not part of the curriculum and hence the government has nothing to do with our decision. The federation has taken the decision on its own in order to save children from getting confused,” Kashif added.

Further explaining the ban, he said, it would not be allowed to keep the book in any school library or use for co-curricular activities – essay writing or debating competitions.

“We can see from her writing that she has not authored the book herself. Even if she has, it creates a lot of doubt amongst our kids regarding religion which we, being Muslims, can never allow,” he added.

To a question, he said the federation included all private schools, big or small, in the entire country and any decision was meant for all (private schools).

However, some officials seeking anonymity maintained that security threat could be a reason behind banning the book which became ‘controversial’ in the country right after its publication.

Recently, a very famous private school chain, Lahore Grammar School, got involved into a controversy over imparting sexual education and teaching comparative religion. The government took action when the news was aired on a TV channel and the officials confiscated the controversial books and material from the campus.

“The decision was taken because the government actually felt that the particular campus could be under threat because of this and the same kind of consideration might have prompted for banning the Malala’s book,” the official added.

It is pertinent to mention that Malala’s book stirred controversy at home as well after its publication. Renowned journalists – Ansar Abbasi and Talat Hussain – criticised her for showing a complete disregard for the sentiments of Muslims besides creating a doubt in their articles that a 16-year-old could actually write such an in-depth analysis on international relations.

On the other hand, renowned physicist and academician Professor Pervaiz Hoodbuoy defended her for her writings and bravery. Supporters of both sides have been slugging it out on the social media since Abbasi and Hoodbuoy got into a heated debate on a TV show defending their viewpoints.