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Malala Yousafzai’s recent book, I Am Malala, is causing a lot of commotion in her native Pakistan.

In the latest example, Mirza Kashif, the president of the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, said he’s decided to protect Pakistani children from the impertinent book — banning it to keep them from entering “a confused state of mind.” He’s afraid that Malala’s biographical account “will challenge the ideological foundations of our next generation.”
What, specifically, does he object to? Kashif mentions

“Malala’s defence of Salman Rushdie in the name of freedom of expression; not writing Peace Be Upon Him after the name of prophet Muhammad (PBUH); and criticizing the Quranic injunctions about the status of women in testifying as witnesses.”

Grave offenses indeed. Anything else?

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.”

I agree with Kashif that doubt is the enemy of religion. Doubt, after all, leads to curiosity; curiosity fosters inquiry; inquiry begets knowledge. If Malala succeeds in spreading those things, she’ll arguably do more for the children of her country than all the officials in Pakistan’s Private Schools Federation put together.

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