Coffee House

Is Islam so weak that Malala’s book has to be banned in Pakistan’s schools?

10 November 2013

11:21 AM

10 November 2013

11:21 AM

The autobiography of the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai, has been banned by Pakistan’s private school association. No small matter given that Pakistan’s hugely popular independent schools teach half of its pupils.Today’s Independent on Sunday reports it saying that I am Malala would have a “negative” effect on its pupils due to the way it talks about Islam – so it’s being banned from the libraries of 40,000 affiliated schools. I’ve read it – a great book, but scathing about jihadis. Specifically, jihadis who ban books. Here’s Malala:-

“My father’s college held a heated debate in Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 11.16.26a packed room. Many students argued that the book  [The Satanic Verses] should be banned and burned and the fatwa upheld. My father also saw the book as offensive to Islam but believes strongly in freedom of speech. ‘First, let’s read the book and then why not respond with our own book,’ he suggested. He ended by asking in a thundering voice, ‘Is Islam such a weak religion that it cannot tolerate a book written against it? Not my Islam!’

The same question can now be asked of his daughter’s book. Is Islam such a weak religion that it cannot tolerate a book written against its corruption – by a 16-year-old Muslim girl? But’s not a reflection of Islam, but of the mutant strain of Islam which she excoriates in her book.

And why has I Am Malala been banned by the private schools that her father championed? It could well be a reflection not of their pusillanimity but of realpolitik. Her book details the abuse and hostility such schools already face. To stock such books may be a bigger risk that Pakistan’s private schools are willing to take.


The president of the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, Mirza Kashif Ali, has complained that Malala does not use the usual honorific,  ‘Peace Be Upon Him,’ after referring to Mohammed. (Which baffles me, as there’s no reference to Mohammed in my version of her book. Anyway.) Kashif Ali is quoted thusly in Pakistan Today:-

“We run private schools in which more than 50% enrollment is of girls and an equal percentage of teachers is also female and we are striving for women empowerment and we stand by the movements and drive to give the denied rights to women” said the president adding: “That doesn’t mean that we will allow our children to toe Malala’s line with severe attacks on our basic beliefs”.

It is, in no small part, to escape the corrupt government apparatus that people like Malala’s father set up schools. And she is not just campaigning for universal education, but for these free schools – as the brilliant James Tooley says in this week’s Spectator. As he puts it:-

When she writes about the right to education, this is the reality that Malala is alluding to. To pigeonhole her as ‘the girl who stood up for education’, and include under that rubric only government education, misses something important about what she and her family stand for. Not mediocre government education, as is found in Pakistan and the developing world over. But the right to educational choice, to educational freedom; the right to a private education.

And where is she going to school now that she’s living in Birmingham? To private school of course, Edgbaston High School for Girls. She and her family have made the same choice here as they did back in Pakistan. It’s odd that this detail is not mentioned in her autobiography, where she just says ‘It’s a good school’ — nothing about it being private. I wonder why not. Is it because she and her family take it for granted?

Malala and her father are part of a global movement, where families choose low-cost private schools because they don’t think government schools are good enough. Those running low-cost private schools around the world, in places sometimes as difficult as the Swat Valley, against the odds, with governments and international agencies often unsympathetic, need Malala and her father to stand up for them, to be their champions But all the commentators who have jumped on the Malala bandwagon proclaim her as only fighting for the right to public education. Nothing in her and her family’s actions, her past or present life story, suggests that she is.

It’s a brilliant piece. Do read the whole thing. 

UPDATE Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, has read the above post and has said (below) that he’ll try to challenge the ban. I’ll keep Coffee Housers posted.


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Show comments
  • Abeera Rathore

    Excuse me if book is banned it doesn’t mean it has something to do with Islam… It’s so silly to say because of Islam some book is banned… There may be another cause…

  • MMotastic .

    The idiots on here lol. Malala represents the true Islam yet the fucking idiots on these comments still accuse Islam for her getting shot on the head. Gain some intelligence please

  • Tayyab

    I am a pakistani Muslim student and No!!! it is not banned stop spreading false news!!!!!

  • Aali Jaah

    islam is not weak but we are….as we are far away from our religion thats way this witch is shouting against islam .neither we speak out for other religion nor we want anyone to speak about our religion…as some can’t tolerate about hitler even he was a man so how could we tolerate anyone to speak rubbish about our religion…

  • hellothere

    The reason why Malala isn’t getting the attention that everyone else is giving her in Pakistan, and other developing countries is that they know there’s thousands out there struggling, and standing up who aren’t receiving this attention. If Malala had been in a slightly different situation, we would never know about her. Malala isn’t the only girl who’s showing this courage out there; there’s literally thousands. And of course if the world picks one, and gives this much attention to just one, and pretends there’s no other, people will start think what on earth is going on

  • hellothere

    I don’t understand why people think she’s the only ‘Malala’ out there, there’s thousands out there struggling for education, yet we neglect them all, and give attention to one? And before she got shot, no one even knew about her, which shows how we’re neglecting so many out there. Had she not been shot by them, she would have continued campaigning the way she was before, without all this recognition and awarding. There’s girls out there with examples of demonstration of much more courage, without the support that Malala received (the school she showed resistance to injustice was owned by her father; according to a news channel, the diary she had been writing is thought to be written by her father since it contains much more maturity of language and thought than usually displayed in her initial interviews). Besides, why’s everyone neglecting her friends, the ones who went against their parents as well to fight for education? She uses ‘we’ throughout. Those girls are still in that situation even though they have some sort of education, they do not have the one they deserve, that Malala is getting.

  • Liza

    who is saying that Islam is weak. Islam is strong and Islam have build in five pillars Namaz, Roza, Zakat, Hajj and Umrah, Jihad. Non muslim say about Islam that Islam is a good religion.
    The same question can now be asked of his daughter’s book. Is Islam such a weak religion that it cannot tolerate a book written against its corruption – by a 16-year-old Muslim girl? But’s not a reflection of Islam, but of the mutant strain of Islam which she excoriates in her book.

  • Right Words

    Well, I wonder how Islam and Malala’s book are related. Like come on, that book has nothing to do with Islam…! Of course Islam is not weak and can’t be put down or downtrodded by minor freedom-enacted speakers. People should better not use name of religion in the conversation per se just because of behaviour of some particular people. Come on over.

  • trilluminati brony

    the book was banned because the taliban would blow up schools otherwise you fucking idiots

  • Zatheela Abdul Rasheed

    Islam is not weak.. This book is not about Islam.. this book is a tool that is used by the west to convey their absurd ideas to the world. There is no need to feed untrue theories into the young children’s mind or allow the west to feed their bullshit into them through a book which is obviously not written by Malala. She herself is being used as a tool. Those who think this book is about Islam need to first read about Islam and understand it before coming here and commenting nonsense. You believe whatever your tv shows you? Whose the fool here.

  • roger

    Yes, any hint of reformation or modernity is anathema, literally.
    That is why the worst muslims fight against anything that might allow the religion to leave the middle ages, thus weakening their hold over the masses.
    Faith is what people believe that doesn’t conform to the laws of nature in science.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘Mutant strain’? The only people who pretend to believe that have got one eye on their job prospects and another on their neck.

  • William Haworth

    A little tip for any investigative journalists reading these comments; go to Newmarket. The home of horse racing is having a massive influx of Pakistani immigrants, to work in the stables (biggest employer? Sheikh Mohammed. Any clues there?). Go down the High street, and look at the numbers of Pakistani men. Then imagine them all with a wife and two kids, then you can understand why Lord Derby (also in the racing business) is so keen to build thousands of new houses on the edge of town. Then imagine how that will change a small Suffolk town, and impact the schools and hospitals. Of course, you can just go to Blackburn and look around to get a vision of the future, but it might be interesting to chronically the changes as they occur, rather than trying to do it retrospectively.

  • James Strong

    Even if Islam is weak when exposed to alternative ideas, that is not the battleground they are fighting on, is it?

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Keep in mind Britain banned Peter Wright`s “Spycatcher”.

    • Daniel Maris

      Keep in mind Japan bans mention of their many WW2 atrocities in their syllabus in schools.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Been reading the Red Tops again? Seriously, how would you know? Can`t imagine you reading your way through Japanese school text books.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Jacky baby calls them ‘kindnesses’. Very kind people the Japanese – he knows – he lives there.

    • Alexsandr

      not banned very well. I have a copy

  • David Prentice

    Islam is weak – when it is confronted by the truth. Alas, political correctness and gutless cowardice in the British media have made it impossible to discuss Islam (submission) with frankness and honesty.

  • James Strong

    Thank Heavens that other commenters have also exposed the nonsense of Fraser Nelson’s claim of a ‘mutant strain’ of Islam.
    Face facts, man.
    The urbane sophisticates who were born into muslim families, the type of ‘muslims’ you, Fraser, meet, are NOT what Islam is about.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yep, Imran Khan (ex cricketer, now politician, husband of Muslim convert Jemima) was considered pretty sophisticated. But he supports the imposition of Sharia in Pakistan.

    • Shazza

      Oh yes they are. They are definitely what islam is about. They are just implementing taqiyya. The Trojan Horse is safely in place.

  • andy_gill

    “But it’s not a reflection of Islam, but of the mutant strain of Islam which she excoriates in her book.”

    Er…no. The strain of Islam where women get to be educated is the mutant strain. The normal strain is racist misogynistic, supremacist and violent.

  • Rollan McCleary

    Evoking the problem generally whether at home or abroad see poem “Beyond Dover Beach” and the notes on it mentioning Pakistan at

  • Muslim Comments

    I am a Muslim and I read the book, as has many other Muslims. The book is excellent and millions upon millions of Muslims consider her a hero.

    • Andy

      Hmmmmm, but quite a lot of Muslims wanted to kill her.

    • Alexsandr

      but dare you say that in public?

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Can you point me to any forums where this praise is to be seen?

      • Hexhamgeezer

        ps – serious question

  • London Calling

    Hello Fraser…………

    Malala is a brave and courageous young lady, who’s story is an inspiration to us all. Islam is not weak but deeply flawed by those who choose to exploit it, who act not on behalf of Islam who live, eat, breath a Jihad…..the response you have provoked from Zardari is a positive one, the more those read Malala’s story the better…….The Taliban are stuck in yesterdays thinking when it comes to women, it is cultural also………The Taliban in Afghanistan will fill the vacuum when the troops leave next year and all the work done to re-educate girls will be put to the test if not protected………..I wish Malala’s family all the best and am happy she is being educated here in Britain……….:)

  • zurga

    “But’s not a reflection of Islam, but of the mutant strain of Islam which she excoriates in her book.”
    Funny how there are so many expert Islamologists in the media and the political circles who can authoritatively and forensically identify different strains and mutations of Islam. Pity they always only point out the corrupted mutation, but never tell us where we should go to find the genuine article: you know, that true religion of peace and enlightenment.

    • Daniel Maris


      Yes, Fraser has now joined the Institute of Expert Islamologists! Or is it the Institute of London Based Journalists who had dinner with that Mulsim surgeon guy last year and he seemed very nice?

      Actually they often do tell us a particular cleric or personage is a moderate….and how often does that end in tears? Rather a lot.

    • Alexsandr

      yes. where were the peace loving Muslims after Lee Rigbys slaughter. Were they in the streets chanting ‘not in our name’?
      Well I never saw that reported. did you?

      • crosscop

        They cannot in all honesty do that as the Koran fully justifies the murder of kuffar soldiers like Lee Rigby. See Surra 5:33 for details : –

        “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment”
        Not a mutant strain, Fraser – mainstream.

        • Alexsandr

          I think your device didn’t show up my sarcasm mode 🙂

          • crosscop

            It did. But on any mention of Lee Rigby, my device is programmed to automatically print Surra 5:33. It’s designed to counter the “nothing in Islam justifies this” crap churned out by the likes of Cameron and Clegg.

  • OldmanRick

    Any alleged religion that has to lop off heads, torture, and stone its believers is not a religion at all. Rather it is a repressive cult with a social and political agenda to hold its practitioners in thrall.

  • quadibloc

    I had assumed that she would have attended private school in Pakistan because of the sad state of public services to be expected in a Third World country, and in Britain for security reasons. The idea of a young Marxist who attends private school out of preference, though, makes me think that it’s a pity Ted Kennedy didn’t live to see her.

    As long as she didn’t get into a car with him. We wouldn’t want the Taliban’s work being done for them, now would we?

  • pw8

    Was it the mutant or normal strain of Islam that banned the Satanic Verses, I wonder?

    • Andy

      ‘Twas the normal strain that burnt the book in Bradford Town Hall Square.

  • quadibloc

    The question of whether it’s Islam or just a perverted offshoot of Islam that is the problem is a difficult one. While respect for religious freedom inclines us to the latter, the fact that persecution of non-Muslims is, and has been, a major problem in most majority Islamic countries does mean that some difficult questions do have to be faced. Can Islam abandon the ‘dhimmi’ notion and embrace full equality for all?

    • Alexandrovich


    • James Strong

      No ,it can’t.
      Islam is quite clear; in an Islamic society non-muslims are not equal to muslims and non-muslims must accept their subjugation.
      Face facts and do not attempt to deny Islamic teachings. We must know the enemy.

    • Right Words

      The problem here’s that people use their beliefs in the name of their hypocrisy. Islam IS a religion for peace for granted. The problem is, with its followers. Some use it in name of persecution, some use it this way some use it that way. Now we can’t drive and point our fingers on a creed instead of its humorous believers. And that’s what’s happening across the World.

  • Daniel Maris

    What are you worried about Fraser? You said you were relaxed about Mohammed being the most popular boy’s name in the UK.

  • swatnan

    Its about time the international community tackled the perversity of Islamofacism, which wants to take society back to the Stone Age. Its not so much terrorism that is the threat; its fanatical Islamofacism. If we don’t take on Alquida, then we’ve lost the battle.
    In the meantime put Malala’s book on the web and also the Satanic Verses, so anyone can access both, anywhere in the World.

    • Alexsandr
    • crosscop

      I hope Malala’s book is a better read than Satanic Verses. I struggled with two blokes falling 30,000 feet from an aeroplane, having a conversation on the way down and then swimming ashore. Then, when one starts to turn into a goat in the back of a police van…

      • swatnan

        I admit I had the same problem; I got through the first 10 pages and that was it. Never found out what happened in the end. Same with ‘A Brief History of Time’. Its a struggle, but its the thought that counts. You can always say ‘you dipped into it…’ Probably on the long list of books that I know you should have read. Same with ‘War and Peace’. Hoping they bring out the Graphic Novel version which I can get into morre easily, or the Danish Cartoon version.

  • Nick

    And while half the world including the UK media and lefties cream their knicks over Malala,Lee Rigby was still hacked to death in England and one of our Marines has been convicted……in England……of killing the sort of filth that shot poor Malala in the face.
    One of our great Royal Marine Commandos,shot and killed the kind of filth that tried to kill Malala and who successfully killed Lee Rigby and now he’s been convicted of murder.
    Malala is now in a country…..this country….where the legal system protects the same type of people who tried to kill her.

  • Martin Adamson

    There never was any golden age of religious tolerance in Pakistan. The whole country was founded in August 1947 on mass murder, ethnic cleansing and profits made by the corrupt redistribution of the looted property of the victims. The only thing that has changed is the law of diminishing returns makes looting less lucrative than it used to be.

  • Andy

    ‘But’s not a reflection of Islam, but of the mutant strain of Islam which she excoriates in her book.’

    One doubts it is a ‘mutant strain’. Wherever Islam exists it has to persecute all and sundry. Pakistan is becoming a basket case, Afghanistan already is. Even in secular Turkey Islam working through a supposedly ‘secular’ state persecutes the Orthodox Church. If you don’t believe me Fraser, I suggest you go and interview the Patriarch Bartholomew He speaks good English and is a charming man. Go see how life is for a Christian in Islamic secular Turkey.

  • TRAV1S

    Is Multiculturalism so weak that the Channel 4 documentary Edge of the City about Asian groomers had to be banned by the police?

  • Chris

    “If they can exert pressure so government feels it has to kowtow to them, then the job is done.”
    You mean like they have in the UK?

  • Alexandrovich

    “But it’s not a reflection of Islam, but of the mutant strain of Islam which she excoriates in her book.”
    And it’s that sentence Fraser which, for me, makes reading the rest of your article a waste of time.

    • Span Ows

      You’re right; Fraser like all our political class are in fear: they cannot bring themselves to admit what we all know i.e. there is ONLY Islam, the ‘mutant’ strain is by their book! They can’t make it any more obvious so WHY this continual denial?

      • Shazza

        Fraser, like a lot of us and our leaders, are judging islam by our standards. We find it very difficult to believe that a religion, in the 21st century can still exhort it’s followers to kill anybody who disagrees or ‘insults’ them, hence the comforting thought that it is a mutant strain. To admit to the truth,even with all the evidence around them ,would force them to acknowledge the horror that they have willingly invited to take up residence in this once green and pleasant land. Better to pretend that this mutant strain can be defeated and the true ‘islam’ be peacefully practiced. Just like the Jews who when faced with the reality of the ‘showers’ still believed that the Nazis could not possibly be so savage.
        Don’t fool yourselves – islam is not weak, it is very, very strong and it does not play by our rules. Islam is winning hands down.

        • Span Ows

          Don’t be fooled: what you call strength is indeed weakness: the classic bully weakness. Unfortunately it comes across as strong because the current political class (all over Europe, not just UK) is even weaker. “Oooh, let’s be nice to the bully, he might like us”…

          • Shazza

            Well this weakness sure is winning………

    • Will Kettel

      Here’s a statistic I’m sure many of you are familiar with. The country of Spain translates more of the worlds learning into Spanish every year, than the entire Arab world has translated since the 10th century. Surely that proves that the problem is not one of a “mutant strain”, but the extreme in-curiosity and fragility of this belief system.

  • Colonel Mustard

    She is a communist. The devil bans the books of the deep blue sea.

  • Cameron Vale

    islam is on its way out, just look at the disarray in Pakistan; they are such a detested nation they even blow themselves up… pathetic

  • Cameron Vale

    great cut-and-paste propaganda job by iftikar, can’t write his own defense… say no more

  • Cameron Vale

    Christianity moves onwards and upwards where as islam dwells on is unholy past where the child fiddling mohammed and his filthy ungodly lies

    • Russell

      Both Christianity and Islam have form on unholy behaviour over the centuries. The world would be a better place without religion.

  • Cameron Vale

    islam = child molesters

  • RavenRandom

    No it’s because Islam is so strong that it’s banned. When religious concerns trump secular ones it’s a sign of that religion’s strength. See Christianity in the mid-19th century and Darwin’s fear of publishing his ideas.
    It’s irrational strength, but it’s strength.

    • La Fold

      I may be wrong but I thought Darwins anxiety and relutance to publish was fuelled more by the conflict he felt between his theories and his own Faith?

  • Cameron Vale

    islam should stick to what its best at: incest and paedophilia, as clearly demonstrated by recent child grooming events.

    • chan chan

      It’s also pretty good at mocking, robbing, beating, raping, and killing non-muslims. Don’t sell it short…

  • Span Ows

    Of course Islam is weak: it can’t tolerate criticism, it can’t tolerate anything and shouts down anyone who tries to debate i.e. typical cowardly bully tactics.

    • Russell

      Much like socialism as demonstrated by creatures like Flint, Leslie, Thornbury, Cooper etc. etc. etc.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        You beat me to it Russell. Many thanks!

      • Span Ows


    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Surely not as intolerant, dishonest, cowardly and bullying as Socialism.

      • In2minds

        Ask Ken Livingstone?

      • Shazza

        Well Nick, birds of a feather …..

      • Fergus Pickering

        Well, muslims kill you. English socialists aren’t doing that at the moment. I’ll take my chances with the. We are so gutless about horrible muslim terrorists that we are going to send a soldier to prison for ever for shooting a Taliban. The only good Taliban is surely a dead one and this guy had done SIX tours of duty fighting these horrible people. Meanwhile drones kill wedding parties and nobody goes to jail. You see how it is.

    • Shazza

      If islam is so weak, why is it’s influence getting stronger day by day in our every day lives both in this country and elsewhere it has infested?

      • weejonnie

        Because it is the ultimate bully – and too few people in this country dare say what a load of crap it is – because of socialist political correctness.

        • Shazza

          I cannot disagree with you that they, together with socialists, are bullies. However, both ideologies are driven by hatred – hatred is a very strong emotion hence their success in infiltrating our societies and installing fear in anybody who dares to question their Righteousness. Moslems resort to violence and socialists harsh laws curbing freedom of speech, etc. both resulting in intimidation of anyone who dares to question their warped views. Look what happened to Tommy Robinson.

          • Andy

            Socialist are not afraid to use violence. Look at Greece.

            • Shazza

              True and look at the UAF here.

      • In2minds

        Because a large part of our ‘elite’ like sucking up to it. The unelected, like the police and BBC, are typical.

      • Graeme S

        It exploits the uneducated, dirt poor masses. Its the religion of the hypnotised

      • dazy Juno

        Because Muslims breed like rats & then throw their weight around. That, in combination with the fact the people who rule Britain are so weak/traitors.

        • Aali Jaah

          nothing remain same ..if we are weak its just because we are not following islam but why you forget those technologies and science you have now it was our property which you had stolen from ous…you rubbish

          • dazy Juno

            If you were to follow Islam more seriously, you’d be even weaker, as the Quran dulls the mind.

            LMAO Islamic science & technology? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

            The Muslim world is the most primitive, backwards place on the entire planet. The Muslim world does not produce great scientists & mathematicians today… it produces only Islamic-inspired hatred. And you’re referring to ancient knowledge from Greece, Egypt & India. Nothing to do with Islam. You think the Muslim world is responsible for the PC, internet, world wide web, harnessing of electricity, light bulb, telephone, TV, space program, moon landings, Large Hadron Collider, jet engine etc etc?

            It’s because of Western technology that Arab Muslims have all that oil. Western technology is the technology used to retrieve all that oil out of the ground. If we relied on Muslims to create technology like that, all that oil would remain in the ground.

            You brain dead Islamo-drone. Your mind is completely blunt from all those hours of killing brain cells reading the worthless Quran. Hahahahaha

    • Muslim Comments

      Bring it on.

    • Fencesitter

      Richard Dawkins, Mehdi Hasan and winged horses:

      Douglas Murray, who has written the cover story of this month’s Standpoint, has also produced a book of quotations demonstrating our society’s apparent Islamophilia…

    • chandni

      am malala in this book many things are written wrong even about the histroy of pakistan why we read wrong histroy it is good that book is banned ISlam is powerful and peace full religion we muslims when ever listen the name of our prophet we send darrod shareef and always writte peace be upon him with the name of our prophet how they can forget this being a muslim its good that banned this book we dont want to read it and dont want to be sad thnks

  • Russell

    Good to see the £millions in aid we give to Pakistan every years to help educate their children is being put to good use then!!!!!

    • Matthew Blott

      You pine for the 1950s.

  • Ricky Strong

    I think you usually find with Islam that it bans books that hold inconvenient truths.