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Malala symbolises worldwide struggle, says C of E bishop

19 October 2012


Campaigner: an undated file photo of Malala Yousufzai, who has come to the UK for treatment after being shot by the Taliban in Pakistan last week

Campaigner: an undated file photo of Malala Yousufzai, who has come to the UK for treatment after being shot by the Taliban in Pakistan last week

THE Bishop of Pontefract, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, has said that the shooting of a 15-year-old Paki­stani girl, Malala Yousafzai, by the Taliban last week "highlights the world­wide struggle between hope and hate".

Bishop Robinson, who chairs the Archbishop of Canterbury's Pakistan Focus Group, said on Tuesday that Malala, who campaigned for educa­tion for girls, was "fighting for her life after being shot in the head by the Taliban". She was flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bir­ming­ham on Monday.

Bishop Robinson said that Malala should be a "symbol of resistance", and urged people to sign an online "get-well book" on the website of the anti-fascist campaign group Hope not Hate.

"This attempted assassination", Bishop Robinson said, "highlights the worldwide struggle between hope and hate, from the persecution and harassment of minorities in the UK to the killing fields of East Africa and the religious extremists who are trying to impose their world-view on believers and non-believers alike - there is just too much hate in this world. 

"Let us show those who com­mitted this killing - and those who approve of it - that this sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable."

Dr Williams said on Tuesday that he was "profoundly shocked and saddened" by news of the attack on Malala. "It is all the more shocking that she was deliberately targeted because she bravely spoke out on her love of learning, and on the right of all children - girls and boys - to education.

"Our prayers are with Malala, her family and community, as we all await the outcome of her treatment and pray that she will make a full recovery. We stand in solidarity with communities in Pakistan and around the world as we all express our horror at this terrible act of violence on a young girl, and demonstrate our commitment to overcome acts of hatred with love and justice."

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on Thursday of last week that he was "devastated" by the shooting. "I can't imagine how anyone can justify maim­ing a child for what they consider political reasons, because they want women to be subjugated," he told a United Nations press con­ference. Dr Tutu saluted the UN for holding the inaugural International Girl Day (October 11).

Asylum denial. The Norwegian Em­bassy in Islamabad issued a state­ment last week denying reports that Rimsha Masih, the young Pakistani girl accused of desecrating the Qur'an ( News, 14 and 21 Sep­tember), and her family had claimed asylum in Norway. "The Embassy would like to inform that neither the Embassy nor any other Norwegian authority has had any contact with the girl or her family, and there has been no initiative to bring her out of Pakistan," the statement said.

The BBC reported last Friday that a 16-year-old Christian boy, Ryan Stanten, was being held in Karachi on blasphemy charges. Ryan was said to have forwarded a text message that allegedly contained offensive material.


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