News Column

Talibani Urges Malala to Join a Seminary

July 17, 2013

A top Pakistan Taliban militant has written to Malala Yousafzai, urging her Wednesday to return home from Britain and join a female madrasa in her north-western hometown of Swat.

The letter of more than 2,000 words, a copy of which was seen by dpa, was written by Adnan Rashid, who was convicted for his role in an attack on former ruler Perez Musharraf and who says he comes from the same Yousafzai tribe.

A former Pakistan Air Force junior technician, Rashid was sentenced to death by a military court in 2003 and was lodged in the central jail in Bannu, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

It was in Bannu where he first heard about the attack on Malala, he wrote, on October 9, 2012, when Taliban gunmen shot her on her school bus.

Coming from the same tribe, Rashid wrote that he wanted to reach out to her, that "my all emotions were brotherly for you," but he couldn't find her address.

On the attack, which left her gravely wounded, he wrote: "Taliban attacked you, was it Islamically correct or wrong, or you were deserved to be killed or not, I will not go in this argument now, let's we leave it to Allah all mighty, He is the best judge."

Malala was flown a few days after the shooting to Britain, where she was hospitalized for months while recuperating and undergoing rehabilitation. She now lives with her family in Birmingham in central England, with her parents and two brothers.

The Taliban last year stormed the Bannu jail and helped Rashid escape along with dozens of other prisoners.

Rashid wrote to her to return home "study and learn the book of Allah, use your pen for Islam."

He insisted that "Taliban never attacked you because of going to school or you were education lover, also please mind that Taliban or Mujahideen are not against the education of any men or women or girl."

Rashid added: "Taliban believe that you were intentionally writing against them and running a smearing campaign to malign their efforts to establish Islamic system in Swat and your writings were provocative."

Last week, Malala celebrated her 16th birthday at the United Nations in New York, and said that she would not be defeated by extremists trying to prevent boys and girls from going to school.

"I am here to speak up for the right to education for every child," said Malala to the UN Youth Assembly. "They shot at the left side of my head and thought that bullets can silence me, but they failed."

Rashid said Malala was repeating mistakes when she spoke against the Taliban from the UN platform.

She had said: "The extremists are afraid of books, of girls and boys going to school, and that is why they kill innocent people. They are afraid of change and equality."

Malala vowed at the UN to continue her struggle for girls' education. "I do not want to be the girl who was shot by Taliban, I want to be the girl, who fought for rights of girls."

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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