Islamic Extremists Issue Fatwa on Pakistani Schoolgirl Malala

Monday, 19 Nov 2012 11:09 AM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Islamic hardliners are threatening to issue a “fatwa’’ on the brave 15-year-old schoolgirl who was cold-bloodedly shot by the Pakistani Taliban last month for tirelessly campaigning for better educational opportunities for girls.

Malala Yousafzai remains under heavy police guard at a Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birminham, England, where she is recovering from a gunshot to the head. She was airlifted there after the assault in her hometown of Mingora, Pakistan.

Doctors are optimistic Malala will make a full recovery and eventually be released after several more months rehabilitation and counseling. But the fatwa decree — which can include the threat of death — could make it difficult for her to move about freely.

Anjem Choudary — a London resident and founder of al-Muhajiroun, an Islamist group banned by the British government for alleged ties to terrorism — told the Daily Telegraph the fatwa will be issued at a conference in Islamabad later this month.

During the meeting, members of the notorious Red Mosque are expected to denounce Malala as an apostate and accuse her of turning her back on Islam, Choudary told the newspaper.

A fatwa is an influential religious decree issued by an Islamic scholar and can mean a sentence of death.

The most well-known fatwa was decreed in February 1989 when the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini condemned British Indian writer Salman Rushdie for his controversial novel “The Satanic Verses.’’

The fatwa forced Rushdie into hiding as he desperately worked to have it reversed.

But Choudary insisted that the decree against Malala will not mean a call for her death.

"It's not a death sentence," he told The Telegraph. "It's about what is the reality of what's taking place and how she is being used as a tool for propaganda by the U.S. and Pakistan, and for the crimes they are committing."

Last weekend, supporters of Malala — whose ordeal made headlines around the world — held "Malala Day" and called for her crusade for girls education to continue.

Before her attack, Malala had campaigned against the Taliban’s ban on education for girls. According to the New Yorker magazine, the Taliban has blown up more than 100 girls’ schools.


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